The White Cross in Lancaster is Pub of the Year 2009 for members of the local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), who made the award at a presentation attended by bar staff, CAMRA members and pub regulars. The pub won the prize for the extensive range and excellent quality of its real ales, its welcoming atmosphere, and the attitude of its informed and friendly staff.
Presenting the award, Lunesdale CAMRA branch Chair Anne Stewardson spoke of the transformation of the pub in the past four years. During that time the number of handpumps had increased from one to the current ten, with more planned. “The beer here is always on top form, “ she said, “and local brews are well represented.” She added: “The White Cross has the feeling of a family-run establishment and this rubs off on its regulars, keeping the community spirit alive.”
Accepting the framed certificate, bar manager Tom Wilkinson said it was “an affirmation of the hard work of the staff, the efforts of craft brewers, and the loyal support of all our customers.” He was proud that the White Cross was a place where “real ale is being discovered by a new generation and re-discovered by an older generation.”
Landlord Tim Tomlinson emphasised the context in which the award had been made. Paying tribute to the “hard to beat” local competition, he said: “This city is a centre of excellence when it comes to cask ale, and you have to be at the top of your game to win Pub of the Year.” The secret was quality and freshness of the product, and recognition that cask ale drinkers were “discerning and demanding”.
The Beer and Pie festival, now a yearly event, takes place at the pub (and also at The Penny Bank and The Merchants) from 23rd to 25th April. At the White Cross there will be 13 beers on handpump and six on tap at the bar.