Here are the places to buy the best ale!

Leigh RU Club stewardl l Sarah Porter.
Leigh RU Club stewardl l Sarah Porter.
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THREE bars have won top real ale awards.

All will receive commendations from the South East Lancs branch of The Campaign for Real Ale after a hard-fought competition.

Pub of the Year 2012 is Leigh’s White Lion in Leigh Road which was only re-opened in June by Wigan’s Allgates Brewery.

Judges say that the concern has made a great job of transforming a pub that was once void of any real ale and in serious decline into a busy, quality cask ale venue.

This is the pub’s third award since opening and is, say Camra, a real credit to landlord’s Harry and Julie McPike.

Runner-up Pub of the Year 2012 is Atherton’s The Jolly Nailor in Market Street, which is expertly run by Mary and Steve Bates who, say judges, ensure that quality ales are always available.

Following a full refurbishment it re-opened its doors in late March 2010 to become a real ale “mecca.”

The pub with beer garden boasts live bands at the weekend and quizzes on Thursday and Sunday plus a darts and domino team. They have half a dozen real ales always changing and one real cider.

The judges found: “Steve and Mary really put a lot of work into the place to provide Atherton with a premium cask outlet. They are the proud sponsors of the Bent and Bongs Beer Bash and also hold their own mini beer festivals in the pub.”

And Club of the Year 2012 - for the second year running - is Leigh Rugby Union Club in Hand Lane unanimously awarded by the judges to steward and landlady of the adjoining Railway Hotel, Sarah Porter.

The judges say that Leigh RUFC’s five real ale pumps are well looked after by Sarah whose club also hosts a popular beer festival every May.

Chairman of South East lancs CAMRA Sarah Bellis revealed that the winners will now be presented with certificates.

She said: “Its important that pubs that are doing well are celebrated. There are too many pubs closing each week because people don’t use them. But go out and support it pubs and drink real ale!”