Only pub of its kind in country named as best in Borders

Simon and Debbie Rutherford, owners of Rutherfords in Kelso, being presented with a certificate by Camra branch chairman Pat Hanson after being named as the region's pub of the year. Photo: Neil Johnson.
Simon and Debbie Rutherford, owners of Rutherfords in Kelso, being presented with a certificate by Camra branch chairman Pat Hanson after being named as the region's pub of the year. Photo: Neil Johnson.

A little wonder of a pub is making a big impression on Borders beer buffs.

Rutherfords in Kelso has been named as the region’s pub of the year by the Campaign for Real Ale’s Edinburgh and south east Scotland branch.

Simon and Debbie Rutherford, co-owners of the bar, in the Square, were presented with a certificate marking that achievement on Sunday by branch chairman Pat Hanson.

Simon, 50, of Chirnside, was delighted by that accolade, saying: “It’s fantastic. We are really, really proud.

“We didn’t even know we were in the running to win this until relatively recently.

“It’s a fantastic feeling, and credit has to go to our staff here too, David Lowther and Rachael McIntosh, as they’ve put a lot of effort into getting us to where we are now.”

The bar, opened in a disused former knitwear shop unit in 2015, remains Scotland’s only micropub selling cask ales, and it has between four and eight, sourced from far and wide, on offer at any one time, all served from gravity stillage.

“We get beers from all over – Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, the Highlands and locally, and all points in between,” said Simon.

“We’re not the kind of place that always has the same four beers on, though we always try to have at least one darker one and two pale ones on at any one time so there’s something for everyone.”

It also serves its own DeliQuescent range of gins and spirits, as well as cocktails.

Runner-up for the title of pub of the year this time round was 2017’s winner, the Bridge Inn at Peebles, with the Plough Inn at Leitholm taking third place.

Rutherfords is one of two Kelso pubs to make it into the 2018 Camra Good Beer Guide, edited by Roger Protz, the other being the Cobbles.

Kelso is one of only three towns in the region to boast more than one entry in the latest guide, the others being Peebles, with the Bridge Inn and Cross Keys, and Coldstream, with the Besom and Castle Hotel.

Other pubs featured are the Craw Inn at Auchencrow, the First and Last at Burnmouth, the Clovenfords Hotel, the Black Bull Hotel at Duns, Earlston’s Red Lion, the Ladhope Inn at Galashiels, the Exchange Bar in Hawick, the Canon in Jedburgh, Leitholm’s Plough Inn, Melrose’s King’s Arms Hotel, Town Yetholm’s Plough Hotel and the Gordon Arms Hotel at West Linton.