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Royal Oak top for cider

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted October 05, 2012
royal oak wantage oxfordhsire best for cider and perry
Fancy a cider? The Royal Oak in Wantage. (Check bottom for credit)

The Royal Oak in Wantage, Oxfordshire has been named by the UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as its 2012 National Cider and Perry Pub.

Owned and run by landlord Paul Hexter and his wife Frankie since taking over the premises in 1983, the Royal Oak, CAMRA says in a press release, "is a multi-award-winning street corner pub famed for its extensive drinks selection".

Also "renowned for being an active supporter of local charities", the pub stocks "a formidable" selection of 15 ciders and perries at any one time.

In addition to the pub's "excellent range", the CAMRA judges also commended the Hexters for their support of local producers (which supply the majority of the Royal Oak's array) and their dedication to promoting the real cider industry to customers.

The Royal Oak, the press release continues, beat off stiff competition from three other national finalists to the land the coveted booze gong, viz the Arkwright Arms in Sutton cum Duckmanton, Derbyshire; the Graduate College Bar in Lancaster University, Lancaster; and the Horns Lodge in South Chailey, East Sussex.

"We're always extending our cider and perry range as we enjoy supporting and learning more about local cider producers and sharing that information with customers," Paul says.

"We are thrilled to be in the position of receiving such an award, especially at a time when the real cider industry is growing, with some producers expanding out of all proportion."

"The Royal Oak," adds Sarah Newson, competition co-ordinator and vice-chairman of CAMRA's Cider and Perry Committee, "is a prime example of what can be achieved with a passionate and dedicated licensee at the helm and it's unsurprising the pub has also won numerous awards for the quality of its real ale."

"In terms of product selection and knowledge of UK cider and perry producers shown by the bar staff, the pub is the perfect gateway to learning more about the nation's historic cider making craft."

"It's also somewhat of a haven for locals, with the pub placing a big emphasis on promoting local producers, just another factor as to why it today acquires the crown of best cider pub in Britain."

The news of the Royal Oak's win, which follows a year of local and regional judging rounds, coincides with the launch of CAMRA's annual National Cider and Perry Month campaign, which it describes as seeking "to champion the production, history and skill associated with real cider and perry making".

You can learn more about the Royal Oak here and, while we're at it, CAMRA here.

See also CAMRA's British beer bible out now, posted 19/9/12.

Picture credit

Top and thumb: The Royal Oak in Wantage by Andrew Mathewson.

For licensing information click the above link.

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