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Horse and Jockey gallops home

WINNER: Andy Kassube (CAMRA) presents the pub of the year certificate to landlord Tony Anderson.
WINNER: Andy Kassube (CAMRA) presents the pub of the year certificate to landlord Tony Anderson.

A popular Birstall pub was first past the finishing line as it claimed a prestigious award.

The Horse and Jockey showed excellent form to be named as Heavy Woollen Pub of the Year 2018.

The accolade is awarded by the Campaign for Real Ale group (CAMRA).

The award is not just about the quality of the real ale, but also about the warm welcome received during a visit to a pub.

Andy Kassube, chairman of Heavy Woollen CAMRA branch, presented the Pub of the Year trophy to landlord Tony Anderson in front of a good crowd.

Mr Kassube said: “This was a well-deserved award for Tony and his wife Sharon for all the hard work they have put into making this village pub a success and very much the heart of the community.

“The pub has a welcoming atmosphere and is very much a traditional Yorkshire pub.

“The work Tony and Sharon have put in cannot be underestimated and after seven successive years in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide this is a well-merited prize for the pub.”

In Autumn 2006, the future of the Horse and Jockey, the oldest pub in the village, looked bleak with a number of managers failing to meet the grade.

Tony and Sharon Anderson than took over the Enterprise-owned pub having had a successful spell at the British Oak in Tingley where they had built a good reputation.

Mr Kassube added: “Tony tried to wean the regulars off John Smith’s Smooth by offering in addition the cask version and by December they were selling four nine-gallon casks per week.

“The next step was to add a rotating guest beer.

“Sales built steadily with the key being to ensure that whatever cask beer was on, the quality was kept right.

“2009 saw additional pumps for guest beers, primarily for weekends, then as cask ale sales continued to build, pumps were added one at a time until in 2017 the total had reached seven pumps.

“Regular beers on offer are John Smith’s Cask, Sharp’s Doom Bar, Jennings Cumberland and Bradfield Farmer’s Blonde plus one or two from Ossett’s range and a further guest ale which can be light or dark.”

The Horse and Jockey will now go forward to the Yorkshire Regional heats for possible selection for the CAMRA Pub of the Year awards.