Horseshoe in Chipping Sodbury wins Pub of the Year award

A CHIPPING Sodbury landlord says he is proud and delighted after his pub was named the Campaign for Real Ale’s Bristol & District Pub of The Year.

The beer champions visited The Horseshoe in Chipping Sodbury in May to present publican Matt Lewis with the award.

The award is voted for by CAMRA members and is not just about beer quality.

CAMRA said: “The judges commented that they particularly liked the atmosphere, friendly staff, community focus and overall impression of The Horseshoe.”

Significantly, the High Street pub is defying recent trends by not serving food.

Matt said: “We aim to be like a real traditional country pub.

“We’re not doing food because there is no need, we excel because of the quality of our beer, cider, lagers, everything, so we just focus on that.

“It is unusual but we are finding we are doing better without the food at the moment.

“Overheads are smaller as a result and when all the utility bills are going through the roof for gas and electricity, we don’t have the same problem as other pubs.”

Pub has been ‘building reputation’ for beer

Matt has been landlord for around 18 months, together with his wife Joanne, having previously worked at the pub as manager.

He says that they have tried to gradually improve the premises to make it more welcoming for customers.

Matt said: “We have redecorated throughout and recently refurbished the gents toilets to get things up to a higher standard. It doesn’t sound very exciting but it is to me to have a really fresh change to the facilities.”

When it comes to winning awards it is the beer that counts to CAMRA, and that is something that the Horseshoe is very proud about.

Matt said: “For the award it doesn’t matter how many beers you have, but we do like to keep seven of our ales.

“Not many pubs around can keep seven or want to – so that is our USP.

“But this is not a new thing – we’ve been in the Good Beer Guide for about seven years now, so we have been steadily building our reputation.“

Winning the Bristol & District Award gives the Horseshoe entry into the South West Pub of the Year competition, with seven other district, winners and Matt hopes that more success could be on the horizon.

He said: “After that it’s the National Pub of the Year, and it would be great to do well in that, too!”