‘We are a proper pub, no gimmicks’ – Hitchin pub the Half Moon wins Camra North Herts Pub of the Year award for record fifth time

Howard Phillips, who runs the Half Moon pub in Hitchin with Wendy Mower.

Howard Phillips, who runs the Half Moon pub in Hitchin with Wendy Mower. - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin pub that prides itself on being ‘a proper pub, no gimmicks’ has been named the best in North Herts for a record fifth time.

The local branch of the real ale pressure group Camra announced on Monday that the Half Moon on Hitchin’s Queen Street was its 2016 Pub of the Year.

The pub, which has been run by Howard Phillips and Wendy Mower since 2004, will now attempt to reclaim the title of Hertfordshire’s best pub in May.

“It feels very good, obviously,” said Howard.

“This is the fifth time we’ve won it, which we think is a record. We’ve also won best pub in Herts twice.

“I can thank my staff and my loyal customers who do think we are the best in the area – it’s wonderful.

“It’s not so much that we’ve done things differently, it’s just consistency – excellent beer, excellent service and excellent food to boot.

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“We are a proper pub, no gimmicks.”

The Half Moon serves two regular beers – Adnams Southwold Bitter and Young’s Special – alongside six other guest ales which are constantly changing.

The pub will receive a certificate confirming its achievement on Friday, April 22, during the beer festival it is holding to mark the 12th anniversary of Howard and Wendy taking over.

The awards are voted for by Camra branch members from a shortlist compiled at each year’s February branch meeting.

Members visit as many of the shortlisted pubs as possible and vote by post, by email or in person at the March meeting, where the votes are counted and a winner declared.

Serving good beer is the main factor, but others considered include the ambience, quality of service, decor, cleanliness and value for money.

Camra North Herts also runs a Cider Pub of the Year award, which was this year won by the Strathmore Arms in St Paul’s Walden.

Last year’s champion pub was the Orange Tree in Baldock, which won both North Herts and Herts Pub of the Year.

For more information see camranorthherts.org.uk.