This is the nomination for the Bulls Head, Mobberley for branch Pub of the Year (POTY) 2014.
Seven cask pumps on offer at all times and all ales sourced from local microbreweries within a 30 mile radius of the pub. Each beer has it's own tasting notes written up on blackboards located on the pump itself, over 100 blackboards are available for the staff to use with each individual ale. Three 'permanent' house ales are always available, as well as two 'seasonal' house ales, and two guest ales. House ales come from Weetwood, Storm and Wincle breweries. There is always at least one, blonde ale, one 'dark' ale and one ruby ale available, and guest ales are selected to give the maximum range of styles. One of the ale lines is chilled to be cooler than the other six so that a greater variety of beer styles can be expressed. The Bulls Head regularly achieves 'cask marque' status, and is a consistent entrant into the Good Beer Guide. Customers play a part in selecting new house ales by taking part in blind tastings and voting for their favourites.
Staff will always great customers with a very genuine and warm smile. They are very happy and confident to talk about the range of beers, and have a fantastically in depth knowledge of the varying styles of beer, the locations of the breweries and even which beers go well with particular dishes on the menu! Tasters are always offered in the Bull's Heads trademark mini tankard glasses. The staff are enthusiastic, and appreciative of the product, always sampling new beers as they come onto the bar, and checking for clarity, aroma and taste. CAMRA literature is prominently displayed in the pubs leaflet boxes, and 'What's Brewing' magazines are available on the newspaper table. CAMRA meetings are often held at the pub, and the owner is a proud member of CAMRA himself.
The owners proudly boast that they took the pub on to reinstate and resurrect, not refurbish the existing building. It is designed to showcase and pay homage to it's original usage as three small residential cottages. The exterior of the pub is painted to show where each cottage would begin and end, and the interior is tastefully split into small sections which roughly equate to the original rooms as would have been in the cottages. It's characterised by lots of low beams and snug corners, as well as three open fire places, all of which contribute to a warm, cosy ambiance. Subtle lighting, candles, appropriately styled music and carefully thought out seating arrangements all help to give the pub a homely, snug atmosphere and ensures that the pub feels friendly and welcoming, even when it is quiet (not that it often is!). The pub is at the geographical and psychological centre of the village and so has become a real meeting point for all of village life. There are no televisions or games machines in the pub, and banter between customers tends to provide the main focus of entertainment, though there is also the monthly quiz nights and bi-weekly live music afternoons as well. The pub is used by most people from the village of Mobberley and there tends to be a healthy mix of young and old, male and female, diners and drinkers. The local cricket club uses the pub as well as the local church, and though evenings tend to be an adult affair, families are welcome until 7pm.
The entire ethos of the pub is to be an intrinsic part of the community in which it is based and to be the true heart of the community. The pub plays a central role in the annual Rose Queen celebration, providing an outside bar, barbeque and refreshments for thousands of revellers! The Village News notice board hangs proudly on the side of the pub, provided by the pubs owners. The owners have restored the village bowling green, which now serves as the pub's beer garden, and boule field. The pub has a large cycle rack available to use for all cyclists, built in celebration of the London Olympics. Free walking leaflets are available on the bar taking walkers on a stroll around the village. Staff are often seen litter picking and tidying up the local lanes to provide more pleasant surroundings for themselves and their customers. The pub gives 10p from every pint of Mobberley Wobbly ale sold directly to the local church. This is to serve as penance for the powerfully aphrodisiac effect the pub's ale has on it's customers.
More information can be found on WhatPub: Beer festivals are hosted at the pub, in particular across national cask ale week, which is the only time that staff are allowed to order ale from outside of Cheshire. An outside bar and 'mini festival' was also put on to celebrate the villages 'Rose Queen' festival. As well as the beer festivals, regular food and ale weeks are run, including Bangers and Beer week, Pie and Ale week and Game week, all of which make an attempt to serve locally sourced food which will compliment the beers on offer.
The pub is about to introduce a new 'ale away' initiative which will allow customers to take beer home in take out style containers.
Finding out more
Please check out WhatPub for more information on the pub as well as how to find it.