LANDLORDS and regulars at a “traditional English village pub” are raising a glass or two to a hat-trick of wins in the best county pub awards.

Husband and wife team Dan and Gemma Evans of The Alma in Linton near Ross-on-Wye won the Campaign for Real Ale’s top honour in 2016 and 2018.

And now tipplers in the beer organisation have toasted them yet again as Herefordshire Pub of the Year.

The couple posted: “Thank you to all of our loyal and hard-working staff for helping us get back on our feet and serving pints again this spring!

“And to our customers, who make The Alma what it is. Thank you CAMRA.”

The CAMRA judges were impressed by the quality and imaginative choice of the beers on offer, and were also taken by the way Dan and Gemma have continued to gently improve the rural pub year on year.

Mark Haslam from Herefordshire CAMRA said: “The Alma on first inspection from outside looks little different to many other village pubs, but as soon as one crosses the threshold of this cosy, three-room pub, one realises this is a very special place – one that lies at the heart of its village community.

“It pulls off the rare feat of selling great beer, good food, whilst also affording the casual visitor a genuinely convivial and welcoming atmosphere.

“It’s a place that really does have something for everyone.

“It can be considered a true exemplar of what the traditional English village pub should always be, so it should be wholehearted congratulations to Dan and Gemma for all their hard work.”

Runner-up was another strongly community-oriented pub, the Bells Inn at Almeley.

Mark added: “It is most appropriate in these troubling times that two village pubs have been recognised for their key role in supporting their rural communities.

“The past 12 months or so have been a torrid time for pubs, it is now hoped that these two pubs will be at the vanguard of a full recovery for the pub industry.”

The third win in five years came as no surprise to those who took to social media to congratulate the pub, which is known further afield for its annual July music festival, which has attracted the likes of Wilko Johnson, Andy Fairweather-Low, Nine Below Zero and Suzi Quatro.

Samantha Watt posted “Best pub ever!!! Congrats you guys!” while Joy Parker added “It’s the absolute best, well done Gemma and Dan.”

Bruno Bourton said: “Congratulations to you and your team. Your local punters are so, so lucky. Hopefully we will visit again soon.”