“We don’t have any real ales, we just have Guest Ale”

My torment of being kept from saving pubs only lasted a day before Mrs RM tempted me to the wilds of “sort of posh” Doncaster.

Look how empty that bit of rural South Yorkshire east of Donny is before you get to cosmopolitan Epworth.

It took ages to get here, and I can’t even blame Mrs RM’s directions; I just wanted to see the Robin Hood Airport.

Behind that fence, cans of Stones Bitter are loaded onto fighter airplanes headed to countries without proper beer, like America and Canada.

This is a rare venture into the flatlands of Yorkshire, an area noted for longstanding GBG entries in Auckley and, er, that’s about it. You have to pass the Blue Bell at Blaxton crossroads to get to the Station, which is what we tickers call “modernised village dining Class II“.

They’ve spent a fortune refurbishing the outdoor area and adding heaters, so after signing in at being told to take a seat Mrs RM obviously takes the ONLY table without a brazier (calm down, Russ).

It’s chilly, and after 5 minutes Mrs RM is sent into the night to secure a better table under the chandeliers. She succeeds.

Now, it’s at this point some of you may be thinking “That pub looks familiar“.

And you’d be right, young BRAPA only visited a week before us, on his Thursday night. As so often Simon Sums it up Succintly;

Problem was, the staff never got as far as me without being summoned.  Stranded.  No drink.  No way of getting their attention.  And the whole bloody pub could see my predicament!    “You never get anywhere in life being pleasant mate!” said Mr White Shirt eventually, when I say I could see how busy the staff were and I didn’t want to go over and pressure them !”

No-one came. For 10 minutes we pondered doing the “waving arm in the air and mouthing “Garcon” bit“.

Eventually I was dispatched INSIDE the pub, where 3 “servers” were chatting, one of whom urged me to go back outside and await further guidance. I spied a Black Sheep handpump, hidden out of view.

5 minutes later, one of them appeared.

What can I get you ?” We had NO IDEA what they had, of course.

What beer have you got, real ales ?” asked Mrs RM.

We’ve got Kronenburg, Stella, Perroni…” reading from screen

Any real ales, cask ales, (international sign of handpump), Black Sheep ?”

No real ales. No Black Sheep. We’ve got a “Guest Ale” though !

It was Black Sheep. Really. Pretty good too (NBSS 3+), but oh the torment of table service.

That’ll be £11.75. When you’re ready” thrusting the card reader into my face. That’s YOUR double G & T, Mrs RM.

Still, a tick, a decent pint, and more Yorkshire blossom. Life is Good, even if Table Service is Bad.

27 thoughts on ““We don’t have any real ales, we just have Guest Ale”

    1. The “card only” business is the problem.

      Mrs. E and I have enjoyed some charming, first rate table service, and it’s been a new pleasure here of its kind.

      Then again we’ve been frustrated elsewhere, like BRAPA and our two heroes here.

      I don’t dismiss it as a universal ill on that basis though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Etu,
        Yes, “the “card only” business is the problem” as a pub group has told landlords to “hike prices by 40p per pint” because customers who pay by card “won’t notice”. .

        Liked by 1 person

    2. PS, Cookie, the UK does have a thriving tipping culture.

      I found a mattress, ten sacks of rubble, and a three piece suite down the back lane yet again yesterday.

      Liked by 5 people

    3. And gushing forth, full of false bonhomie. “Hi, I’m Kelly and I’ll be your server this evening. What can I get you guys?” Followed by, “Have a great day – you hear,” and other meaningless, trans-Atlantic platitudes.

      No thanks, I’ll stick with Stacey and her can’t be arsed attitude, along with her frosty stare, which can kill an awkward customer at 10 paces!

      Liked by 4 people

  1. On this occasion, I had gin not ale. I was asked what sort of gin I wanted, I said just regular normal gin, but apparently they only have flavoured gin so I had to choose from a mumbled shortened list. Wondering if the guest ale/real ale confusion had spread to the gin department too and the Gordons was there all along. That said I’m a fan of table service, too many times the short one has had to have words with the bloke behind her ordering over her head at the bar. Just need one of those new fangled things called a menu or price list to cope with large lists or bar staff with short memories and mouth muffles!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are right. Table service without an updated menu is unworkable. Picture a server in an American bar where they have 70 taps. Nobody can remember that many beers.

      Table service is tougher to implement since you need more people. And whether we want to believe it or not, most people we hire don’t care as much as the publican who is pulling his own beers behind the bar. Hence…tipping. And Paul is correct that tipping isn’t always enough.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. She’s right, you know. A scrap of paper with a list of drinks (and food) would do. Did it in Stockport market place. Feel sorry for “servers” having to read out all the beer names and field questions from Pubs Galore beer tickers.


  2. I tipped a fiver in our local beer garden where we had received good service but as said carriage of cash not common or necessary..
    Communal tips on card probably just encourage the sullen…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree, Graeme. A year ago I’d have carried a little bag of coins round but these days it sits in a little rack above the keys. Where pubs expect contactless (the majority) they just wave a machine in your face so they don’t even expect a tip to be added to a pint.


  3. Good to see consiistent (poor quality) service here for two pub bloggers a week apart.

    ‘No Black Sheep but there is a guest ale’ – brilliant – I suppose you didn’t want to insist that she find out what the ‘guest ale’ was in case she went back in the pub and you never saw her again. 🙂

    Tipping culture is an interesting thought – that’s bound to be coming soon as bars are dismantled to make way for more tables and table service becomes a permanent ‘new normal’ follwing the pandemic.

    BUT would you want the serving staff to be all over you like a rash though – that’s the question? Based on RM’s photo with the waitress sporting her face mask in the fashionable – but otherwise pointless – ‘under the chin position’ it might be more likely they’ll be all over you with a virus… 😉

    Still, until they raise their game, with service like that the tip wouldn’t break the bank 😉

    …and on another positive note – good to hear that the Black Sheep was good – I like a happy ending…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think Simon and ourselves were commenting more on the problems of Table Service when you can’t walk to the bar. I don’t want service at my table. We both waited more than 10 minutes and it wasn’t THAT busy.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Black Sheep is possibly the most consistent beer in the UK. That’s not a comment on the Masham brewer, it reflects the fact that pubs that serve it are run by competent landlords and the beer has decent recognition among folk who go to pubs and drink real ale.

      You’d think Tim Taylors and Harvey’s would be similarly consistent, but actually they’re often served in slightly upmarket pubs where the customers drink Peroni.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. My first pub outing was met by a waitress who didn’t even seem to know what beer actually was. Poor girl, had a pad and paper to take the order but hadn’t even thought to write down a simple list of what was on the bar.

    Landlady came over to explain what was on, I knew already (Hydes, it was typical Hydes), twas my fickle louting mates that needed the choice.

    Good to see that this rule of 6 + 2 households is non-existent. I’m still a fan of the pull mask down to speak technique, everyone in my chippy does it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing I’m noticing, and I appreciate it’s different in the Marble Arch or the Stalybridge Buffet, is just how few people are drinking cask since re-opening. That’s a bit at odds with the Beer Twitter narrative about local breweries being drunk dry, but it’s what I see these first 38 pub visits of mine (“Lightweight !”). So not surprised staff don’t know what “beer” is.


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 )

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