Paddington Station (and not a bear in sight) as commuters thronged, anxiously scanning for their departure homewards and delayed trains (none on this auspicious Thursday night), gathering way above the hubbub, in a haven of relative peace and quiet, the less pressed for time relaxed in one of London's hidden gems. With Fuller's Inns Managing Director Jonathon Swaine on hand, licensee Helen Wilson got on with pouring halves of magic - a first cask of Fuller's draught Vintage Ale for 2015. And then the focus of the evening arrived.
Refreshed and restored, regulars and members gathered around as West London CAMRA proudly presented Helen with their top award - West London Pub of the Year 2015! Helen was almost overcome with emotion, but collected herself enough to lead a critical tasting of the 2015 Vintage Ale - tapped only on Tuesday, and in superb condition - and to bring over her key team, without whom none of these achievements would have been possible. Fuller's executive chef and team were on hand to provide copious nibbles.
Jonathon Swaine, Fuller’s Inns MD, said:
“This is an incredible accolade for Helen and her team at The Mad Bishop and Bear and, indeed, for Fuller’s. It is great to see all their hard work paying off, from being named Fuller’s Master Cellarman of the Year 2014 to now being the best pub in West London. You know that when you order a beer from Helen and her team it will be the closest thing to the perfect serve. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Helen and her team for all their passion and hard work.”
Mad Bishop and Bear, opened in Paddington Station in 1999, has been in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide continuously since 2002. Helen Wilson is no stranger to either Fuller's or the area, as she has also presided over the Victoria in Strathearn Place W2, also a Fuller's pub, where her partner Chris still presides. The Victoria has also been in the Good Beer Guide on & off since 1982. Between them Helen and Chris have a joint record of at least 28 successive years in the Good Beer Guide in different pubs!