For the contest, members of the real ale campaigning group visit dozens of pubs to rate the number, brewery location and quality of their ales and, from a finalist group of 12, The Poacher beat all 140 eligible pubs to take the 2014/15 award. It was presented by Nottingham CAMRA’s LocAle secretary, Andy Ludlow.
For presentation night, pub manager, Ollie Eddison, created a locally brewed haven with all 12 beer pumps sporting logos from nearby breweries. “This is one of the main considerations to the organisers, and one I thoroughly approve of. I understand the LocAle scheme began as the backlash against a national brewer who tried to pass off a Nottinghamshire favourite as ‘local’ when in fact it came from miles away.
“Nowadays there are so many real ales brewers to choose from, so many coming up with interesting and unique tastes and textures that it’s a real pleasure to give them space at the bar and watch and listen to customers’ reactions.
“I’m indebted to the CAMRA members who voted us into the number one spot and, of course, to my colleagues here at the Poacher for their efforts to serve every pint to perfection,” he says.
CAMRA LocAle secretary, Andy Ludlow, says the Poacher is a worthy title holder. “It wasn’t just the high quality of its ales and ciders that won the day, but also an acknowledgment that Ollie and his staff run a great pub worthy winners of the 2015 award,” says Andy. Runners-up in the contest included the Victoria Hotel and the Star in Beeston, Lady Bay’s Poppy and Pint, and the Horse and Groom in Basford.
The Lincolnshire Poacher is operated by Castle Rock Brewery. Managing director, Colin Wilde says: “As a company we’ve tried particularly hard to embrace the local brewing scene across our estate of pubs for a number of years and I’m delighted for Ollie and his team at the Poacher who work hard on the things we all hold very dear. This is the first Castle Rock pub to be awarded this accolade; I too would like to congratulate them for their efforts.”
Ollie Eddison’s favourite locally brewed ales include those from Black Iris and Totally Brewed, served alongside his staple fare of Castle Rock beers brewed within four miles of his pub.