Seven (7) Italian tourists, all asking for tasters.

April 2023.

You left me at Canterbury, heading towards the Bell & Crown for an ultra-rare tick in an increasingly charming but touristy Cathedral city.

Somewhat surprisingly, Cathedral’s GBG entries have been quite earthy over the years, solid back street boozers called “Dolphin” and “Unicorn” and “Thomas Tallis”.

The Bell & Crown wears its ancient Truman and Cruzcampo livery with pride.

It’s 11:59. My train departed from Sturry at 12:11 12:12. Google said 9 minutes walk the station. Math fans, that makes about 4 minutes to get served, take a pic, drink a pint and go to the loo.

In we go.

What !

At the bar, a group of six, no seven (7) Italian tourists (the puffa jackets the giveaway) are standing at the bar, looking bewildered. Who let them in early.

Each of them stares at the pumps. Each of them asks for a taster. No-one says “Why do you have a Bass pump and no Bass ?”.

I’m not complaining, honest. OK, a pint’s a taster and all that, but it’s great to see visitors a) in a pub and b) drinking the real ale. CAMRA should get them to front the Campaign for Cask.

And they (nearly) all ended up buying a pint, which meant my own glass of Canterbury Ales was fresh and gorgeous.

It’s just that I ended up standing at the bar for seven minutes rather than one, and gave up hope of a lunchtime in Sturry.

But then the rail app flashed “delay”, and suddenly I had an extra 10 minutes to admire the interior,

enjoy a leisurely pint touching NBSS 4, a soundtrack of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and a bar snack menu that tells you a lot about Canterbury.

Great pub.

6 thoughts on “Seven (7) Italian tourists, all asking for tasters.

  1. Early doors are a game changer.

    Currently in a very sunny Aberystwyth. One pub open at 9am, another at 10a.m.

    By 11 there were thirsty people wandering around. Personally I had an illegal drink on the beach…cheaper, but less comfortable and fewer “facilities”. But rediscovered skimming stones…

    Any enlightened owner would have seen the forecast and the hordes of Brummies about yesterday, then chosen to open early. (And still many have the heating on too while whining to the press)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some nice old windows there, internally for a “PRIVATE BAR” and externally “GEo BEER & Cos PALE ALES” which surprises me as in 1948 George Beer & Rigden were taken over by Fremlins who later fell to Whitbread while it was Russells Brewery of Gravesend that was taken over by Trumans in 1930.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stafford Paul, I seem to recall Whitbread and Trumans swapping a few pubs, back in the early 1980’s. The intention was to even out geographically, the spread of their tied estates, and hence the distribution of their beers.

      Perhaps they had got wind of the Monopolies & Mergers Commission’s investigation into the brewing industry, and the pub swap was a move to head off any perceived “negative” criticism from the commission.

      I was living in Maidstone at the time, and the town gained a Truman pub, (the Flower Pot – now a free house), following the aforementioned swap.


    2. T’other Paul,
      Thanks for the local knowledge that explains it.
      So it was equivalent to the larger wider-spread Bass-Allied-Courage swaps that meant a dozen Bass Worthington pubs near me, mostly with a real ale, going to, Courage, initially keg only.


      1. And all this has got me thinking how nice it would have been a century go, from the pavement glancing at the pub window and knowing what beer the pub had on, none of this having to go inside, looking at the pumpclips and not recognising any of the beers.

        Liked by 1 person

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