Camra and Siba awards: a toast to Wigan's pub stars

Ale brewing and serving Wigan heroes of the pandemic have been saluted.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 6:04 pm
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 9:42 am
Real Crafty

Here is a round-up of the prizes given out by the town’s Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) branch at its annual awards last year and this, the gongs conferred at the 2020 Beer Festival and sundry other accolades.

Twisted Vine Alehouse in Ashton took the Pub of the Year laurels last year. Standish Unity Club and the Crooke Hall Inn claimed the club and community pub of the year prizes respectively in 2020 and both retained them this year. The cider pub of the year title went to Wigan Central, while best cask outlet was Sherrington’s, on Kenyon Road, which also claimed the spring pub of the season trophy.

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Crooke Hall Inn

Hophurst brewery of Hindley fared well at the Beer Festival awards, its Irish Cream Porteresque being named Dark Beer of the event and winning the Brewed in Wigan category for dark beers too.

Karma Citra from the Wily Fox brewery was named the best Wigan-brewed pale.

As for the 2021 awards, Sherrington’s was Pub of the Year and the top cider pub prize went to Real Crafty which also triumphed in the Best New Cask Outlet category and was named autumn pub of the season. The summer season certificate went to The Wayfarer at Parbold.

Meanwhile a special award for lifetime commitment to real ale was bestowed on Sam and Marj Holding.

Stuart Hurst (left) accepts his overall winner prize from Nick Brading (Murphy & Son Ltd, Award Sponsor) at the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) North West Independent Beer Awards 2021

Camra chairman Sandy Motteram said: “They have brought many pubs in Wigan to glory through the years, like the Balcarres in Aspull and the White Horse in Wigan, but probably most incredible is when they took over the Swan and Railway after the pub was completely devastated by fire in 1982.

“The pub stands to this day as a Victorian icon in the town due to the love, passion and dedication of publicans like Sam and Marj.”

The newly restored Swan and Railway in fact received a national Camra award for historic England conservation at its pub design awards.

And Hophurst is also celebrating a tremendous performance at the North West Independent Beer awards run by the Society of Independent Brewers.

Sam Holding (centre) when he was landlord of the Swan and Railway in the mid-1980s with the then Camra chairman Peter Marsh (right)

It claimed the Overall Champion Cask Beer Award for its newly created seventh anniversary beer called Love is Noise, having already triumphed in the Cask Strong Beers (6.5 per cent and over) category.

Hophurst also claimed a gold for its Irish Cream Porteresque in the Cask Speciality Mid to Dark Beers category, a silver for its Arlo in the IPA (5.5 to 6.4 per cent) category, and bronzes for both its Cosmati bitter and Milkshake IPA in the Cask Speciality Light Beers class.

Prospect Brewery earned itself a bronze in the Cask British Dark Beers (4.5 to 6.4 per cent) category.

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Swan and Railway
Twisted Vine Ale House
Standish Unity Club
Wily Fox
Hophurst Brewery