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Branch chair Colleen presents the Pub of the Season Winter 2018/9 plaque to the staff at the Wuthering Heights, Stanbury, February 2019

Branch chair Colleen presents the Pub of the Season Winter 2018/9 plaque to Nicci and Darren at the Wuthering Heights, Stanbury, February 2019

Barry and Carol make it three

The Keighley and Craven branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has voted for the Brown Cow in Cross Leeds Street, Keighley (following two rounds of voting) as their Pub of the Year (POTY). Last year the Brown Cow was awarded POTY jointly with the King’s Arms in Silsden, but this year it was the winner, with the King‘s Arms coming a close second. A presentation to the pub will be held in due course and it will now go forward to the regional competition where it will be judged against the winners from other Yorkshire branches, all 17 of them.

The award is for more than the outstanding quality of their beer. The other criteria include atmosphere, décor, service and welcome, community focus, sympathy with CAMRA aims and “good value”. The Brown Cow regularly wins the local CAMRA branch‘s Pub of the Season award and was our first ever POTY in 2008. With so many pubs closing, it is good to see pubs winning this award and thriving – please continue to support your local watering holes!

Aside from having been in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for 11 consecutive years and selling a range of 7 real ales, the Brown Cow is an interesting pub. It was formed from four back to back cottages knocked together and the first record of the pub was from 1870. It was a Timothy Taylor pub, but for the last two years has been a genuine Free House, owned by the genial Barry Smith and Carol Taylor-Smith. Ahead of its time, it became the first “no smoking” pub in Keighley, 18 months ahead of the national ban on smoking in pubs. It is a cosy pub, with a real fire in winter, and it is very much a “local”, even though it is only 10 minutes‘ walk from Keighley railway station – convenient for the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The back room is in demand by clubs and societies and the local CAMRA branch has been known to have the occasional meeting there.

2013 saw the first Brown Cow beer festival marking Barry and Carol‘s first 10 years at the pub. The event showcased breweries from the North East of England. Their second beer festival in 2014 featured Derbyshire breweries. Over the 12 years that Barry and Carol have run the pub, they reckon they have served more than 2,500 beers.

One notable eature of the pub is Barry‘s collection of police helmets – this came about because there is 250 years of policing in Barry‘s family, going back to the 1800s. Knowing that, a retiring local policeman donated his helmet – and others followed!

For more information on the Brown Cow, check out the pub‘s website or alternatively look it up on CAMRA‘s on-line database, WhatPub.

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