REAL ale buffs have toasted a Dorchester club as the best in the region.

They have named the Colliton Club as the Wessex winner for the third time in four years.

It scooped the award as the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Club of the Year title for the area covering Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Channel Islands and parts of Wiltshire and Somerset.

Colliton Club steward Neil Gatehouse said he was delighted that the club was again among the 16 top clubs in the country.

He said: “It’s nice to see that in the present economic climate, people still appreciate real ale and still come in to the club to enable us to keep selling six varied real ales.”

The Colliton Club, which is opposite County Hall in Dorchester, now goes forward with other regional winners to the national final.

West Dorset CAMRA spokesman Michel Hooper-Immins said: “I always enjoy this vibrant club and the standard of their six real ales is always excellent.

“When it’s busy, there are so many activities taking place in the various rooms.

“It might be skittles, darts or snooker or a gathering of one of the many clubs who choose to meet here.

“They all enjoy the Colliton Club.

“West Dorset CAMRA congratulates Neil Gatehouse on yet another splendid win, much deserved.”

The Colliton Club was visited independently by three judges.

One noted: “No background irritants or musak and a good selection of six cask ales covering four breweries.”

Another judge praised the warm welcome, a pleasant atmosphere and praised the free wifi.

A third judge added: “This is a restful club with a nice atmosphere and six cracking real ales on handpumps.

“Good service and excellent product knowledge from the hard working steward and his staff.”

CAMRA regional director John Buckley will present the 2010 Wessex Club of the Year certificate to Mr Gatehouse on Wednesday September 22.