A VILLAGE pub named the best in the region by CAMRA members has received its prize.

Members of the Bae Ceredigion Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) presented Angharad Hywel and Paul Jacobs of Rhos yr Hafod with the best pub of the year award at a special ceremony at the Cross Inn, Llanon, pub on Saturday.

“This is the fourth time that the Rhos yr Hafod has won the Bae Ceredigion CAMRA pub of the award which is an outstanding achievement for a small pub in a rural location,” said Bae Ceredigion Secretary John Gale, who presented the award.

“Judges particularly praised the support that the publicans Angharad Hywel and Paul Jacobs Rhos yr Hafod give to, and receive from, their local community. The pub has been in the same family for 10 years now and the award recognises the commitment that Angharad and Paul put into running a pub that focusses on the quality of its real ale offer and the needs of its local community.”

The range of real ale at the Rhos yr Hafod is constantly changing but the two hand pumps usually offer beer from Welsh breweries and a display of pump clips hangs above the bar to promote the barrels waiting in the cellar.

There are several drinking areas including a lively front bar, a quieter back bar to relax in, a function room, a large rear garden and a sunny front terrace which is being extended to offer more seating.

The pub hosts a range of events and other activities which include board games nights, quizzes, folk music, a book club for Welsh learners, and a summer beer and music festival.

The pub is also the base for a monthly community café which is run by local residents.

Bottle and Barrel
Bottle and Barrel were named runners up (CAMRA Bae Ceredigion)

The runner-up was the Bottle & Barrel in Aberystwyth and third place went to the Ship and Castle in Aberystwyth.

The Bottle & Barrel is a craft beer bar with an ever-changing choice of quality keg beers and a couple of cask ales, many of which are produced in Wales. The range features different and unusual beer styles and these are clearly promoted on a screen behind the bar and via a live link to the pub’s website.

The bar staff will chat through the different styles and offer tasters, and a beer flight lets you order four smaller measures of the keg and cask beers. The onsite bottle and can shop sells a huge range of beer and cider to drink on the premises or take away, and you can buy take-outs of draught beer and cider.

The décor is contemporary with a choice of seating from armchairs to high stools, and a rear courtyard. Regular events include tap takeovers with the chance to meet the brewer, and curated beer tasting sessions.

CAMRA Ship and Castle
The Ship and Castle took third place (CAMRA Bae Ceredigion)

The Ship and Castle in Aberystwyth is no stranger to CAMRA awards, having been the Bae Ceredigion CAMRA pub of the year five times in the past, but it was narrowly beaten into third place this year.

This town centre pub offers a wide range of cask ales from many different British breweries, some of which are never available elsewhere locally, along with an interesting choice of quality keg beer. The “five pump platter” allows drinkers to sample a third pint measure of each of the five cask ales, one of which is normally a dark style.

There is a choice of comfortable seating areas on two levels, and regulars mingle happily with visitors amongst whom are many CAMRA members seeking out this well-known real ale pub. Live music and a weekly folk music session takes place in the bar, and it is a popular and friendly spot to watch Wales’s rugby matches.

CAMRA’s pub of the year criteria include the quality of real ale; how well beer is promoted; the role a pub plays in its local community; the atmosphere and décor; and the welcome. Certificates are then presented to the top three pubs.

“I would like to thank all of the local members who responded to the survey to nominate up to three pubs worthy of the pub of the year award and the committee members who travelled to the shortlisted pubs to judge them against CAMRA’s pub of the year criteria,” said John.

“We are really lucky to have some fantastic pubs in our CAMRA branch area, many of which are freehouses, and I encourage you to visit our three finalists for yourself and see if you agree with the judges’ verdict.”

The Rhos yr Hafod will now go up against the winning pubs from Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire in the competition for CAMRA West Wales pub of the year.