ST ALBANS PART II – MERMAIDS, MURK, MERRINESS

 

img_20181105_140641-1369185832.jpg

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.

img_20181105_1257592083829601.jpg
Roger’s bag contains old Beer Guide which he kindly handed out

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.

img_20181105_12583312223302.jpg
Proper bench seating
img_20181105_125819-11990226088.jpg
Yes, I did use this photo erroneously earlier

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+).

img_20181105_130312-807891869.jpg
What a pint should look like
img_20181105_131011741802126.jpg
Pub men.  Not my glass

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.

img_20181105_134847-231596010.jpg
I blame LuLu for taking us off track

Would the Boot have Bass laid on just for me and Roger ?

img_20181105_135137-286636172.jpg
Ancient

No.

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.

img_20181105_140119886353292.jpg
And in that dreadful Adnams glass

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.

img_20181105_1440231494318775.jpg
Another Proper Pub

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.

img_20181105_1543211574071915.jpg
Great cask line-up
img_20181105_1442411603903406.jpg
SIT DOWN !

It was here that we captured Paul at the height of his PubMan powers.

img_20181105_145609-2050911183.jpg
Our Paul

And the ceremonial burning of Ullage took place, there being no effigy of BRAPA available.

img_20181105_150514-1227834182.jpg
Burn ! Ullage ! Burn !
img_20181105_1505331259577181.jpg
No CAMRA folk were harmed

Mr Protz was racing ahead now, as you can see below.

img_20181105_154112177162660.jpg

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.

img_20181105_162125-1207117498.jpg
More TT Landlord !

We really should have eaten, y’know.

Instead, up the hill to the Cocks, as it were.

img_20181105_163431179734961.jpg

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.

img_20181105_175110-1461631598.jpg
Legends

 

20 thoughts on “ST ALBANS PART II – MERMAIDS, MURK, MERRINESS

  1. It was legally possible to drink during the working day with my last firm Martin. It was not contractually though.

    Anyway, if you’re going to mention Mermaids again, then it has to be this again:

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, if that’s what you wanted, then there was definitely a limited supply, with no one else doing much quite like it.

        I saw the splendid fellow and his staggering musicians in 1981, at the Portland Building, Nottingham University. It was the Doc At The Radar Station tour, and the clown Reagan had just been elected. He had things to say about that – as you can imagine – and dedicated This Is The Best Batch Yet to the fact, as I recall.

        It’s a pity that his kind aren’t around just now IMO.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Would be interested to know if our “distant cousins” in the US get that cultural reference.”

        (ducks as something goes whizzing over his head)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Russ, buried in the comments are fragments of lyrics, from a composition called Big Eyed Beans From Venus, by Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart. It was a bit geekish and “in”, I admit.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Our itinerary said Olde White Hart for lunch, but that didn’t seem to happen” and one of Tim’s medium sized breakfasts hardly lasts all day and ten pubs.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “It’s a Proper Pub.”

    Indeed.

    “What a pint should look like”

    What, with a half naked woman on the side? 😉

    “And in that dreadful Adnams glass”

    I can see why you called it murk.

    “frequented by NHS staff back when it was legally possible.”

    I take it most NHS staff are under age these days?

    “Great cask line-up”

    That’s a beaut looking pint in the foreground.

    “Burn ! Ullage ! Burn !”

    That sounds like the lyrics to a 70’s song.

    “20 years have not diminished the essential pubbiness of the Lower Red Lion, ”

    From the name I’m guessing you went downhill then. 🙂

    “and we had Foreigner on the jukebox. ”

    Cold as Ice?

    “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.”

    Well put! (thumbs up)

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s