Beer Blog

Return of the Pub Tickers; the legendary St Albans gig.

St Albans-1

Pub Tickers assembling at the start of the St Albans gig

I didn’t want this to sound like one of those, ‘Oh look at us, we’ve been out on a pub crawl with Roger Protz‘ sort of posts. We didn’t anyway, he came out with us and that’s who this post is really about.

I knew Roger was keen to take us round St Albans. It was the first thing he mentioned when I bumped into him at GBBF in the summer, the venue having been selected for a re-match during the Pub Tickers crawl in Sheffield last December.

These sort of do’s are always a beggar to sort out and the more people who want to come the harder it becomes to coordinate, but we managed to turn out nine. It’s not like they are private affairs neither and like our regular “Proper Days Out’ anyone is welcome. Just have a look on the Beer and Pubs Forum.

Having been on the original Sheffield gig, BRAPA ‘Visiting every pub in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide before I die!’ was the big no show. He tweeted something about having a proper job, more to do with a bank than the Cornish brewer. The rest of us homed into a St Albans pub at 12pm sharp on a very pleasant, more summer than autumnal, Monday.

I’d never met @StephenPie before, until he walked into the Robin Hood a couple of yards in front of us with his cute little dog Lulu. A local chap and Chelsea supporter who likes a pint or two and currently doing a tour of St Albans pubs with Elvis, blogging about it at Piepubs. I was disappointed when Elvis did a Simey BRAPA Everitt and knocked.

Roger stood the first round. It’s always nice when the world’s greatest beer writer buys you a beer. He was quite upset when Mrs C told him the Swan & Talbot in Wetherby had closed down, as it featured in his Historic Coaching Inns of the Great North Road book.

There are some regulars on these Proper Days Out as they have become to be called. You’ll all have heard about Retired Martin (Taylor) and his Good Beer Guide ticking exploits. Similarly Pubcurmudgeon, who was missing on this occasion, presumed AWOL with BRAPA and Elvis?

The one you might not have heard of is ‘the other Mudgie’ aka Paul Mudge. Then again you might have if you read What’s Brewing and Beer magazine because he got the double up this month with a letter in both, not the first time neither. His social media profile is relatively flat, but this veteran campaigner and pub man is an absolute gent and always the first name on the team sheet.

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Paul Mudge (centre)

The one face I definitely didn’t expect was @Citra1960, risen like Lazarus. You’ll have to read this blog post at The Pub Explorer to get that one. Joking apart it was really good to see him.

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The Pub Explorer

In terms of Pub Tickers we were in the company of royalty as Duncan Mackay aka Pubmeister has actually completed the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for 2015, visiting all the pubs in the guide during the same year of publication. He’s also visited every pub in the Good beer Guide between 2013 and 2018, but not necessarily in the relevant year of issue. On a different front, he’s done every UK League Football ground, as well as the non league ones and some that don’t even know they’re going to be football grounds yet.

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Duncan Mackay

It’s a bit complicated this GBG ticking thing, but believe me Duncan is the King and there was much sizing up, and comparing, going on between interested parties. Peter Allen, aka Pubs: Then and Now aka Photo Digital Art was most honoured to be allowed to ‘highlight’ one of Retired Martin’s latest ticks in the revered tome. It can only be a matter of time before Martin is a GBG completist. But what will he do then? Probably collect Moths like Duncan.

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Peter Allen ‘highlighting’ Retired Martin’s GBG

At one stage here seemed to be a lot of excitement over an edition of Ullage , the West Berkshire CAMRA magazine. Someone started burning it and photos were taken, I’m not sure what it was all about? Thankfully it wasn’t a copy of New Full Measure.

I have to say, I was most impressed with the fine city St Albans which I’d sum up as being a bit like York, without the walls. The Abbey is magnificent and surely must be up there on the list of the largest Cathedrals in the UK? We walked past it a couple of times and even got lost in the grounds owing to renovations blocking a path, but the illuminated views were worth the detour.

I was reassured by how busy the pubs were, considering it was after half term, and there’s no shortage of them in the city. All told, we did seven and some had a pint in every one, which is quite a feat for a bunch of older blokes with dodgy tickers and other age related ailments. Thing was it wasn’t really about the beer. It was more about the pubs, but above all it was about the people, because isn’t that what makes a good pub?

I’s like to thank Roger and Martin for organising and all who came and spread the love around the pubs of St Albans. Like my Grandma used to say, ‘A proper red letter day’.

30 replies »

  1. It was a really good day, and good to meet up with everyone, even though I had to restrain myself a little I still managed seven pubs three pints and four halves with generally decent beer, good pubs and company, brilliant.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Yes, it was a super day out – excellent pubs, lovely company, good beer and perfect weather. I managed nine pubs (only eight pictures, though) and I think that I only had one half (but my memories are quite hazy).
    It was nice to meet new people as well as old acquaintances in a city I’ve never been to before…but I’d definitely go back.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Lovely post and a pleasure to meet Roger, you and everyone else. Thanks for the kind words. Though I have indeed completed 5 consecutive Guides I can’t claim to have done all 4,500 in the same year. It’s just that the 2015 edition was finally the first one that I managed to complete before the end of the year stated on the cover ie 2015. 4,500 in the same year might have had the paramedics on red alert, especially as I was still working at the time!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s a lovely report on our marvellous day out and most aptly summed up with “Thing was it wasn’t really about the beer. It was more about the pubs, but above all it was about the people, because isn’t that what makes a good pub?”
    The next day I realised that I hadn’t appreciated the proper pubs and good beer as I should have done but that’s because, as you suggest, it was all about our good companions.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Great post Richard and clearly a great day in the history of ‘Proper Days Out’.

    I really must get along to one (or more…!).

    Just one controversial question, surely you can’t have outed RM on that ‘ticking his GBG’ photo – there would have been questions in Parliament…!
    Assume it’s a stunt double on the photo…:)

    Liked by 1 person

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