St. Helens Pub Bats Well Above Average

Tuesday, 27 February 2018 22:29

by Chris Simm

Andy Evans: Man or Myth?
 
Successful pub landlord, or stark raving mad (he has been known to sing to his casks in the cellar)?  

Well that's for you to decide.  Whatever he is, he's managed to achieve what no other pub landlord has achieved in this town before.  Andy and his wife Denise, along with all the staff who have worked (and continue to work) at the pub over the years, have helped the Cricketers Arms on a steady rise to the top since 2014.  Not only does the pub champion ales on both the light side and the dark, it also champions a wide range of ciders and perries ranging from dry to sweet, and has been known to serve up to 20 ciders during the summer months.

 

Of course, it didn't start out like this.  With only a small number of handpulls in the beginning, they slowly built their way up to what would eventually become an entire rugby league team on the bar (13 handpulls).  As the quantity of ales on the bar increased, so too did the range of ciders and perries.  At one time it was pointed out by a very eagle-eyed pub goer that they had more real ciders/perries available than real ales.  Having so many ales and ciders is easy, providing you have the space of course; looking after them correctly is another matter entirely.  Because the beer and cider was so well kept, the pub began to attract attention and slowly picked up awards from the branch (and later the region) for both their real ale and cider, thanks to word of mouth and people scoring their beers on https://whatpub.com/.  Their ultimate goal being the top pub at national level, and more determined with each award earned, the pressure was incredible when they achieved a spot on the list of four finalists nationwide.



Over the years the pub has gone through several changes, and there is no sign of this progress slowing any time soon.  It's not known where the ideas come from, or indeed the space required to implement a lot of them.  It's as if Andy has stumbled across the Dummies Guide to Gallifreyan Technology, with the subtitle of It's Bigger on the Inside.  Many notable events have taken place at the Cricketers, including the pub being invaded by 'pirates' on more than one occasion.

Not too many pubs in St. Helens can say that.  On one particular visit from said pirates, Andy was briefly made captain, as the picture will attest to.

The town of St. Helens has never before achieved recognition for any of its pubs this high up the scale, until now.  Earning the awards they have done over the years, it is now in the Discworld Year of the Justifiably Defensive Lobster, 2018 that the Cricketers Arms on Peter Street has reached such dizzying heights, making it CAMRA's number 1 pub in the country.  The rise of the pub and the achievements along the way have at times been described as meteoric, and likened to making an album.  I'm not going to mention any band names that may have been used in previous speeches for accepting awards, as I'm sure they'll be blasting out of the pub at some point during the day.  What I will say is that we don't want a certain song by a popular british heavy metal band playing, or bugles sounding as it may excite the horses.  But here's hoping Andy and Denise, and all the staff at the Cricketers Arms, have found what they've been looking for.  

Congratulations to The Cricketers Arms for winning the 2018 CAMRA National Pub of the Year!

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