Branch Pub and Club of the Year Announced

Thanks to all Durham CAMRA members who took part in the vote for Branch pubs and club of the year 2016. The votes have been counted and ratified by the branch and the results are given below. Congratulations to winners, runners-up and all who received nominations. The winners will now go forward to the regional competitions in the respective categories.

Thanks are also due to Black Paw Brewery and the Station House, Durham for providing prizes in the draw amongst those members submitting votes. The winners of these are in the process of being contacted.

Town Pub of the Year
Winner: Ye Old Elm Tree, Durham. Retaining the title won in 2015, this pub has featured beer from the wood, revealed a railway-based mural, and simply carried on being popular. Congratulations to Stacey and all behind the bar, who keep things just right.
Runner-up: The Tap and Spile, Framwellgate Moor. Again, retaining its position only just a few votes behind, with the ever-changing range of ales from all over the country keeping drinkers satisfied. Congratulations to Lesley for keeping the ales coming.

Country Pub of the Year
Winner: The Dun Cow, Seaton Village. Out towards the eastern edge of CAMRA Durham’s area, this pub was a firm favourite in the past, and has forced its way back to the attention of beer fans by providing two light and two dark beers, and being generally what a proper pub should be. A two-roomed gem not too far from the A19. Well done.
Runner-up: The Surtees Arms, Ferryhill Station. Last year’s winner, and a previous regional winner, the Surtees continues to provide all of the things a proper pub should, with the added advantage of the Yard of Ale brewery on the premises. Guest ales also feature, as do regular beer festivals. Congratulations Alan.

Town Cider Pub of the Year
Winner: The John Duck, Durham. Another pub to retain the position it achieved in 2015, the John Duck offers ciders from across the spectrum, and has the added benefit of a good range of ales to back this up. Well done to all at the Duck.
Runner-up: The Head of Steam, Durham. With interesting cider options to complement the three real ales and wide range of bottles from around the world, there is something to satisfy every taste here. The imagination of the staff in maintaining this selection is to be commended.

Country Cider Pub of the Year
Winner: The Black Lion, Wolsingham. No surprises here, as the largest selection of cider regularly on offer in County Durham has brought the trophy to Meadhope Street for the fourth consecutive year. The cider menu hangs above the bar, offering a wide choice which often includes perry. Congratulations Sara-Jane
Runner-up: The Black Bull, Frosterley. This unique hostelry is a previous winner, and was just off the top this time, as it was last year. Duncan and the team have created a pub with great character, and one of the highlights of a winter trip up Weardale is sitting in the rocking chair by the open fire with a pint of cider or perry.

Club of the Year
Winner: Tanfield Lea WMC. Over the last year or so, the club has impressed with its passionate promotion of real ale, offering brews from across the land not often seen in the North East, never mind in a WMC. With two ales always on offer, club-goers in Tanfield Lea have a choice available in few other clubs
Runner-up: Chester le Street Cricket Club. A winner on several previous occasions, the Cricket Club continues to provide good ale and a cracking view of the cricket field.

Stockton Beer Festival

Beer Festival poster

Stockton Beer Festival to be held on 25th - 27th February at ARC, Dovecot Street, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1LL.

The venue is a 3 minute walk from Stockton High Street for those using buses.
10 minutes from Stockton railway station (Northern trains from the North-East)
15 minutes from Thornaby railway station (Trans Pennine from Manchester via Leeds, York, Thirsk & Northallerton / Northern trains from Darlington).

The beer list is available by visiting the branch website and clicking on the beer festivals tab. The list is subject to the usual health warning of possible late changes due to unavailability or brewery issues but it is hoped that the information will be at least 90% correct as it currently stands.

Clothing to Nepal

Over the years, Durham CAMRA have supplied supply all volunteers with a shirt for helping out at the festival and in some years we used to have polo shirts for sale to the public. As we never managed to sell all the polo shirts and usually there are a few staff shirts left over at the end of each festival we found ourselves storing more and more surplus clothing. After the Nepal earthquake one of our members who had visited the country had the idea of posting these surplus shirts over to his Nepalese colleague to distribute to some of the needy villagers. They gratefully accepted the parcel of shirts some of which can be seen in the photos.   

Pubs and Club of the Year voting

In November members were asked to nominate candidates for pubs and club of the year for the forthcoming year. Listed below are the nominations received in each of the five categories. Now is the time to cast your votes. You are not limited to the establishments listed below, they are suggestions provided by members. Each member can vote in each of the five categories. You must be a paid up member of Durham branch to vote, so please include your membership number for verification. To vote please send an email to If you sent in a nomination message, these will be counted as votes unless you wish to change or add to what you sent previously. To encourage members to take part, some beer related prizes will be awarded to submitters drawn at random. You have until the end of January 2016 to vote.
Town PubTown Cider PubClubCountry PubCountry cider pub
Bishop Langley, DurhamBay Horse, Bishop AucklandCeddesfield Hall, SedgefieldBlack Bull, FrosterleyBlack Bull, Frosterley
Butchers Arms, Chester-le-StreetHead of Steam, DurhamCricket Club, Chester-le-StreetBlack Lion, WolsinghamBlack Lion, Wolsingham
Old Elm Tree, DurhamHorseshoe, CrookPelaw Grange Greyhound StadiumDun Cow, SeatonShip Inn, Middlestone
Fox Cub, SpennymoorJohn Duck,DurhamTanfield Lea ClubGreen Tree, Tudhoe 
Grey Horse, ConsettPavilion, Bishop AucklandWorkmens Club, ShildonHare & Hounds, Westgate 
Half Moon, DurhamRoyal George, Old Shotton Lambton Worm, Chester-le-Street 
Head of Steam, DurhamStanley Jefferson, Bishop Auckland Red Lion, North Bitchburn 
Pavilion, Bishop AucklandWater House, Durham Ship Inn, Middlestone 
Pollards, Bishop Auckland  Smiths Arms, Chester-le-Street 
Tap & Spile, Framwellgate Moor  Stables, Beamish 
Victoria, Durham  Surtees Arms, Ferryhill Station 
Welcome, Bishop Auckland    
Woodman, Durham    

Frog & Ferret

Just to confirm the Good News that former Good Beer Guide favourite The Frog & Ferret in Spennymoor has reopened. Five handpumps in use when I called in.


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