The Peak Hotel in Castleton has beaten off competition from 2,700 pubs around the country to be named Pub with the Best Pint in national awards run by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars.
The pub’s beer was judged against stringent criteria ranging from its taste, smell and temperature to staff knowledge and service and came out on top, winning full-marks in every category. The judges described the beer as “faultless” and said they were “bowled over” by The Peak Hotel’s high standards and the care, attention and friendliness of the staff, even when the pub was packed.
With 14 draught products – including cask and craft ales, lagers and ciders – The Peak Hotel was commended for having a “pint to suit every palate” and for its rotating choice of beers from local breweries such as Bradfield and Abbeydale. The pub also scored highly for its cellar management, staff training on beer – carried out by Edward Theakson of Theakston Brewery – and for helping customers choose their ideal pint by offering a ‘try before you buy’ policy and displaying the colours of its craft and cask ales.
The judges put the award down to the dedication of licensee Rick Ellison who transformed the tired, unloved pub when he took it over five years ago, investing in a £200,000 revamp to upgrade and refurbish The Peak Hotel in a quirky style, which has won it a reputation as Castleton’s most eccentric pub.
Ellison, who grew up in the Peak District, also runs the Old Hall Hotel at Hope and is a champion of great beer and cider in the surrounding area, founding the Hope Valley Beer & Cider festival four years ago. He received the prestigious award for The Peak Hotel at a gala ceremony at The Belfry resort in Sutton Coldfield from comedian Ed Byrne.
The win is a double celebration for Rick who will be marking the 300th anniversary of the Old Hall Hotel gaining its license next month.
Rick said: “We take great pride in the quality of our beer and cider and invest a lot of time in looking after them. It’s a fantastic acknowledgment and a real honour to have won. It wouldn’t have been possible without our brilliant team of staff.”
Star Pubs & Bars managing director, Lawson Mountstevens said: “The mark of a great pub is a great pint and customers are assured of perfection on both fronts at The Peak Hotel. Rick’s TLC and commitment have put The Peak Hotel on the map and revived its fortunes making it a real asset to Castleton. The eclectic décor, genuine, warm service and outstanding range and quality of beers, make having a pint at The Peak Hotel a very special experience.”
Rick is not resting on his laurels after his win and is now planning a full upgrade of The Peak Hotel’s cellar, including the installation of state of the art dispense technology, to ensure the pub continues to be known for a great pint.