ANDREW LENG, Inside Croydon’s Pubs Correspondent (how do you get a gig like that?), visits the Pub of the Year and calls on locals to sign up for CAMRA
The Claret Free House, or “Clarets” on Lower Addiscombe Road, has been named the Croydon CAMRA pub of 2015 – the second consecutive year that it’s seen off competition from The Oval Tavern and The Green Dragon.
The award was presented to Clarets’ landlord Don Burton by the chairman of the Croydon and Sutton Campaign for Real Ale branch.
Clarets’ bar walls are already adorned with CAMRA awards; Burton is fast running out of space to display them all. This latest, the bar’s seventh, is well-deserved recognition for selling consistently good beer.
According to the friendly bunch of CAMRA members at the presentation, Clarets was chosen because of its beer quality, attention to cleanliness, sympathy with CAMRA aims and good service. As a fixture in the Good Beer Guide, Clarets really does tick all the boxes.
Burton and his friendly staff maintain an ever-rotating selection of guest ales, mainly sourced from local breweries. The quality and variety of the beers on offer means there is always something of interest for the discerning drinker. The customer will typically pay £3.10 to £3.30 for a pint, which is slightly below the average for Croydon (unless you’re in a Wetherspoons, of course).
CAMRA has a sizeable membership in Croydon and Sutton – approximately 1,700 at the last count. This suggests that the local real ale and craft beer scene is thriving, despite the ongoing impasse over the future of The Ship in Norwood and the end of brewing in March of the Clarence and Fredericks Brewery, which is a disappointment to anyone who was partial to a drop of their Golden and American Pale ales.
As well as organising and hosting the very popular annual Wallington Beer Festival and promoting local pubs and locally brewed beer, the Croydon and Sutton CAMRA branch are keen to attract more members to their meetings, which usually take place on the last day of every even calendar month.
The branch also arranges tours to local breweries, as well as social evenings and pub crawls in the local area. If you are interested in finding out more, you can contact Peter McGill on 07831 561296 or visit croydoncamra.org.uk. Branch meetings are also advertised in What’s Brewing the national newspaper of the Campaign For Real Ale.
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