For licensees Terri and Jethro this is their second award as they won in 2004 at their previous pub, the Carlton Arms. When they took over the Blue in 2007 they inherited an already great pub but have taken it to even further heights. Their own ALE advert describes it as Real Ale Paradise and this is no idle boast. You can expect between 10 and 14 real ales with always a mild and a stout as well as a couple of ciders and a perry. The foreign beer selection is staggering with around 110 imported bottled beers including over 70 Belgians a choice rarely bettered in Belgium itself. Three German beers are on draught and will soon be joined by something Belgian. Oh, and there's Mead as well. Just don't ask for Stella.

When I visited in early March the bar had just reopened after a month's closure for refurbishment an extension work. The latter was still in progress but should be complete by the time you read this. Most of the changes are at the back where the conservatory has been reconstructed and extended and new toilets installed. Phase two next year will see the existing toilets removed so that the main bar can be enlarged. Jethro is a fanatical breweriana collector and has accumulated lots of material, including some great enamel signs, to display in the extension.

The kitchen has also been upgraded so there'll be a new menu from April, including dishes to take advantage of a new chargrill.

The Blue is famous for its Beer Festivals and the next one is 28 April to 1 May, with 70 ales, none of which will commemorate a certain event indeed Terri and Jethro promise a wedding-free zone. The big one though is on 2 July with the ever expanding Gwydir Street Party if you haven't visited this extravaganza then book it in your diary now.

Going back to the award, our members were impressed not just by the quality and quantity of the ales but the strong commitment to locally brewed beers. The other key point about the Blue is that it's very far from being just about real ale it's a true community local attracting a great mix of customers into a welcoming, convivial atmosphere if only every pub was like this.