Hawick is one of only three Borders towns to be able to boast more than one entry in the latest Good Beer Guide.
The Bourtree, in Bourtree Place, and the Exchange Bar, also known as Dalton’s, in Silver Street, retain their places in the 2017 edition of the beer buffs’ bible, published by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) and edited by Roger Protz.
The Bourtree, part of the JD Wetherspoon chain, has been managed by Kristofor Mooney, 33, for the last two years, and he said: “I am delighted that the Bourtree has been recognised for the quality of its real ales by Camra members.
“We offer our customers an excellent range of real ales at all times on five handpulls, including some from regional brewers and microbrewers.
“Staff at the pub work hard to ensure that the real ales on offer are kept in first-class condition at all times, and the pub’s inclusion in the guide highlights this.”
“About 90 % of our beers are from Scotland, and demand for real ales is growing. It’s up about 20% year on year here. It’s a proper thing just now.”
The Bourtree was opened in the town’s old 1897-built Conservative club in 2012, just under a decade after Jim and Eileen Paris took over the Exchange Bar, also known as Dalton’s, in 2003.
“We usually have just the one beer on, but we’ll put a second one on at busy times like the common riding,” said Jim, 61.
“Born in the Borders is one of the breweries we use most.”
The guide praises the interiors of both.
“This listed building has been stunningly transformed,” it says of the Bourtree, and of Dalton’s it says: “It is a Victorian gem with original dark-wood panelling and ornate cornice work.”
Kelso is another town with two entries – Rutherfords, in the Square, and the Cobbles, in nearby Bowmont Street.
Rutherfords, opened by Simon Rutherford, 49, of Chirnside in Berwickshire, in a former shop unit in July last year, claims to be Scotland’s only micropub.
Run by Luca Becatelli for the last two years, the Cobbles acts as a tap for the Tempest Brewery at Tweedbank.
Peebles is the only town to outdo Kelso and Hawick, having three entries – the Bridge Inn, in Portbrae; the Cross Keys, in Northgate; and the Crown Hotel, in High Street.
The rest of the Borders’ 18 entries are the Cross Keys at Ancrum, the Black Bull Hotel in Duns, Earlston’s Red Lion, the Ladhope Inn in Galashiels, St Ronan’s Hotel at Innerleithen, the Canon at Jedburgh, the Border at Kirk Yetholm, Leitholm’s Plough Inn, Melrose’s George and Abbotsford Hotel, Town Yetholm’s Plough Hotel and the Buccleuch Arms at St Boswell’s.
This year’s guide, the 44th, is out now, priced £15.99.
Besides Tempest, the other brewers in the region listed are Ale House Rock and Freewheelin’, both in Peebles; Broughton Brewery and Old Worthy, both at Broughton; Traquair House, near Innerleithen; and Born in the Borders at Lanton Mill, near Jedburgh.
One other bar in Hawick on Camra’s online itinerary of pubs serving real ale, www.whatpub.com, but not featured in the guide is the Masonic 424 Lodge, in Union Street, and the Horse and Hound at Bonchester Bridge and Denholm’s Auld Cross Keys Hotel and Fox and Hounds Inn, both in Main Street, are also listed.