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Dolphin wins pub of the year

What better way to start an article than by sharing the news that the family-run Dolphin pub, at Rock-a-Nore, opposite the Net Huts in Hastings old town, has been named the South East Sussex CAMRA Pub of the Year for the second year in a row.

So, what does the Campaign for Real Ale know about pubs, other than whether they sell good cask-conditioned beers? Well, they do take into account how their champion integrates with the community.

In this respect, the Dolphin raises thousands of pounds every year for local charities, is closely connected to Hastings Fishermen’s Museum and has beendolphin instrumental in the refurbishment of the retired fishing boat that is sited opposite. Members of the RNLI regularly visit for social events, the pub gets involved in Old Town festivals such as Fat Tuesday and the Pram Race, and is the starting point of the Jack in The Green May Day procession, opening earlier than usual to provide refreshment for participants and observers. Do I need to go on?

There is a variety of live music performed here by local musicians three nights a week on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and usually on the last Sunday afternoon of the month.

Food is served every afternoon, and on Mondays the kitchen reopens at 6pm for a special ‘Fish Supper’ deal. Of course, the Dolphin also sells liquid refreshments, soft drinks, wines, spirits, numerous keg beers, including three of the newer ‘trendy’ craft ales. And, of course, the thing I really love writing about… It sells 6 cask-conditioned ales – and what better way to start writing about finding such beer in Hastings than visiting the local champion public house?

The Dolphin sells three regular ales, 2two from East Sussex brewers, Harveys and Dark Star, and three regularly changing guest ales. On a very recent visit I found that two of the guests were also from East Sussex brewers, 1648 and Rother Valley.

All of this is why the Dolphin can be regarded as a fine example of a community pub, and why it won the CAMRA award again, and why I have commenced my search for beers of and in Hastings and East Sussex here. I trust I have caught your interest, because next I shall look to the local brewing industry, cheers!

By Steve the Beermeister. Article courtesy of the Hastings times