Part II of Bonfire Night In St Albans, with some real pyromania to come. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t enjoy this trip as much as “Lemonade with Simey“, and that’s got nothing to do with the company (though I did miss Mudgie). But Simon sneaks his own food into pubs, you know.
Anyway, the Mermaid.
This was my favoured after-work pub here 20 years ago, when I’m fairly sure Oakham was already the beer of choice. Someone will care enough to check the 1999 GBG, if it hasn’t entered the list of banned publications yet.
It’s a Proper Pub.
With its bench seating and breweriana it’s probably as close as St Albans gets to the Cambridge Blue, and the Oakham (Citra, of course) was the beer of the day (NBSS 3.5+).
But my Citra paled against the beauty of the Staropramen, which I’ve captured for you on video.
The man on the Star, and wearing a Forest top, was Simon, who I left the CAMRA group for 20 minutes to talk about European away days and Nottingham boozers. Great banter, and proof that CAMRA doesn’t have all the best old codgers.
Our itinerary said Olde White Hart for lunch, but that didn’t seem to happen as we instead headed for the town hall, museum and (frankly) far too many pubs for a Monday.
Would the Boot have Bass laid on just for me and Roger ?
But it had the best barman of the day (Sho, I think), a chap who was so enthusiastic I ended up buying a pint of Anarchy murk. It’s not actually called that. It tasted less than vibrant, in the words of noted beer sommelier R. Coldwell, seen here discussing the joys of Doom Bar with Pubmeister.
“Old musty overtones” said someone about something or other.
A long way down the hill (may have been up) with great views to the Cathedral, and on to the other pub frequented by NHS staff back when it was legally possible.
I remembered an unspoilt if slightly upmarket pub from 20 years ago; 20 years have not diminished the essential pubbiness of the Lower Red Lion, or the unexpected quality of the beer (Tring – NBSS 3.5).
The only downside was the unseemly sight of a group of poshos cluttering up the bar.
It was here that we captured Paul at the height of his PubMan powers.
And the ceremonial burning of Ullage took place, there being no effigy of BRAPA available.
Mr Protz was racing ahead now, as you can see below.
The Six Bells is another place I had great cask back in the day; here the Otter was the very embodiment of “Decent”, and we had Foreigner on the jukebox. Mudgie would have loved it.
We really should have eaten, y’know.
Instead, up the hill to the Cocks, as it were.
I had soda water here, so Richard and Citra can tell you about it. My notes trail off alarmingly…
So I leave you with the man who made the Beer Guide over many decades, and the man who’s done it, walking side-by-side on the way to the Great Northern, new for GBG 19.