A Burnley boozer has become the toast of real ale fans after being named the town’s top pub.
The Rifle Volunteer was crowned “Burnley Pub of the Year” by East Lancashire CAMRA judges.
Despite only serving cask ales in recent years, the Smalley Street hostelry beat off stiff competition from some of Burnley’s most well-established real ale pubs.
Landlady Kathryn Ratcliffe, who has been at the helm for 10 years, was shocked but delighted to win the accolade.
She said: “It is really good news for the pub and for local breweries too.
“I have been here for 10 years and we have only introduced cask ales slowly to find out what people liked and what they didn’t.
“We started off with just one pump then we got two and now three. Some pubs have 10 beers on so I was a bit shocked when they said I had won.
“There was more to it than just the beer – they liked the atmosphere, the friendly staff and the characters. They said it was a nice back street pub. It is good to get some recognition.”
The pub was awarded Burnley’s “most improved pub of the year” in 2011 by CAMRA – but since then the Rifle Volunteer has gone from strength to strength.
John Webster, of East Lancashire Campaign for Real Ale, said: “We have been round most of the pubs in Burnley.
“We have been going round for about eight or nine months and there was some very strong competition.
“We decided on the Rifle Volunteer. Kathryn has really turned the pub round – the beer is spot on. But it is more than just that – it is a community local frequented by locals who are friendly, the atmosphere is great, the decor is nice and it is very comfortable.”