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District’s prime pub at Honeystreet
The community-run Barge Inn at Honeystreet has been voted Pub of the Year by Swindon and North Wiltshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.
The group’s chairman Han Hoffbauer made a presentation at the popular canal-side pub.
There were concerns for the venue’s future when former tenants Adrian and June Potts called time after 17 years, so a group of residents formed the Barge Inn Community Project, led by chairman John Brewin from Woodborough, to take over the lease.
Villagers bought a 20-year lease on the 200-year-old pub at the Kennet and Avon Canal in Pewsey Vale after gaining financial backing from the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund two years ago The pub, which has become a central meeting place for crop circle enthusiasts, sells a variety of real ales including Croppy and 1810, which are produced exclusively for it.
Since re-opening under community ownership, the Barge has become famed for its food as well as its beers, thanks to head chef Carl Games.
Now it has a certificate hanging in the bar proclaiming it is the local branch of CAMRA’s pub of the year.
Mr Hoffbauer and other members of the area’s branch of CAMRA visited the pub on June 1 to present their framed certificate to Mr Brewin.
Mr Hoffbauer said: “Each year a single pub is chosen for the consistent excellence of its ales, the presentation and quality of its food and the high standard of its customer service.
“We visit many pubs in our area several times each – and quite anonymously. We then sit down together and the one pub with the highest scores becomes our pub of the year.”
He said the Barge Inn would be put forward to the national competition to find the CAMRA UK pub of the year.
Accepting the award on behalf of the community project committee, Mr Brewin praised the staff, paying particular tribute to manager Alan Bowery, Mr Games and all the bar and kitchen staff who he said “were a joy to work with”.
About 40 members of CAMRA, who travelled from Swindon in a vintage bus, came to the pub for the evening and carried on sampling its real ales, including 1810, Crappie, Alien Abduction and Roswell, all produced for Honeystreet Ales by Stig Anker Andersen at Netheravon Brewery.