Dalton’s is best bar none for ale quality

Eileen Paris in The Exchange bar.
Eileen Paris in The Exchange bar.

A Hawick pub been given reason for cheer by the quality of its beer.

The Exchange Bar in Hawick is the winner of the second beer quality award handed out by the Edinburgh and south-east Scotland branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

Eileen Paris, the Exchange Bar.

Eileen Paris, the Exchange Bar.

The annual award is given out to the pubs that rack up the highest average beer score over the course of a year.

Scores of zero to five are submitted by Camra members as they drink in pubs, nought being undrinkable or if no real ale is available and the top score being classed as absolutely stunning.

The Exchange Bar, also known as Dalton’s, in Silver Street, was named as the Borders’ winner and came runner-up to the overall branch winner, the Doric Bar, in Edinburgh’s Market Street.

Owners Jim Paris, 61, and wife Eileen, 64, took over the Exchange Bar in 2003, having previously worked in poultry management and retail management respectively.

Since then, the couple, residents of the town for over 25 years, have consistently been recognised by Camra’s annual Good Beer Guide.

Jim said: “It is good publicity for us to have this award, to be runner-up to an Edinburgh bar, and to be winner overall for the Borders is quite good.

“We have been included in the Good Beer Guide for a number of years, but this is the first time we’ve got an award like this.

“I usually have one real ale on but offer two when it’s a busy time.

“I usually have local beers from Born in the Borders, at Lanton Mill, on tap quite regularly and Broughton Ales, from Biggar. These are quite popular.

“It’s about variety. We like to change them to give everybody a taste of different local ales.”

In November, Dalton’s was again included in the Good Beer Guide, earning praise for being “a Victorian gem with original dark-wood panelling and ornate cornice work”.

The runner-up spot in the awards went to the Plough Inn in Leitholm, near Coldstream, and the overall winner, the Doric Bar, is to be found in the capital’s Market Street.

Last year’s winner of the branch’s inaugural real ale quality award was also an Edinburgh pub, the Potting Shed, in Potterrow, and last year’s Borders winner was Rutherfords in Kelso, with the Hunters Hall in Galashiels coming runner-up.

Plough Inn owner Sarah McLean added: “We are delighted.

“We have two pumps, one dedicated to Born in the Borders beers, which we rotate through, and the other is for a guest ale which might be local or national.

“This gives variety, but we try to support new breweries where we can.”