Dear beer-based friends
I’ve been asked by the good people of CAMRGB to write a short piece about a beer society that me and few of my friends started in Chester earlier this month. Here is the said piece. I hope you enjoy it.
The first moon landing.
The fall of the Berlin Wall.
Barack Obama elected President.
England spanking Germany 5-1.
These are days on which the world stood still; days on which the world seemed a better place and that maybe, just maybe, we could all just live together. I’d like to suggest my own contender for inclusion on this historic list: the inaugural meeting of the Chester Beer Appreciation Society, or C-BAS to its friends, which took place on 1st November.
We had been planning this night for some time, but like all great nights, they have a habit of evolving from the predictable into something a little more spontaneous. What started out as a ‘four pubs / four beers’ format transmuted into a ‘two pubs / nine beers/ meet the brewer’ event. More about that in a moment, but first let me explain a little about C-BAS and what we are trying to achieve.
We sowed the seeds of C-BAS one summer’s night at the legendary Royal Oak public house in Hoole, Chester. While enjoying a rare spot of good weather, my friend, Ben, and I began to reminisce about the after-work beer culture of the dirty city that some call London. How could we replicate that magical formula in Chester? After a couple of hours, and pints, contemplating this question, we stumbled upon the recipe for C-BAS. We will form an open invitation beer society that meets in Chester whenever the moon is full – or the first Tuesday of each month – to celebrate our love of beer. This group will have simple mission: to discover new pubs; to explore beer in all its forms; to meet new and interesting people; and, to enjoy ourselves!
That’s a little bit about us; now back to the night in question.
For our first pub, we chose to congregate in the church of beer that is the Café Artichoke Bar. A slow trickle of C-BAS members gradually became a shoal, with a whopping 21 people turning up. After some nifty negotiations with the good Artichoke bar folk, we were able to taste four beers for £5 a head. The beers in question were Budvar Dark Lager, Freedom Four, Kooky Gold (Off Beat Brewery) & Freedom Stout. This was a great selection of beers to kick things off, with the Budvar Dark Lager coming out on top in our straw poll. It’s safe to say that the Artichoke stole our hearts away, so many thanks to Jason and Nev for being so accommodating.
We spent so much time enjoying ourselves that we choose to abandon two of the other pubs on our route and go straight to the last pub. This was an easy decision because the pub in question was the Kash Bar, home to the microbrewery Blueball, and the largest selection of world beers in Chester. Right from the off the Kash Bar has been solidly behind C-BAS. Alex, the brewer/owner, promised that he’d be around for our visit – he was – and the staff gave us a generous discount on our beer order. For a modest sum of money, we were able to sample five Blueball beers – Indie Girl (keg), Indie Girl (Cask), Pumpkin Princess, Mild Mannered Mae and Laid Back Lucille. I say sample, I think the phrase ‘quaff’ would be more accurate. All five beers seemed to hit our collective spot but I think the Indie Girl Cask/Keg came out on top. Alex and team please take a bow. Everyone I spoke to was very impressed by the pub, the way we were treated and, above all, the quality of the beer.
Finally, I must answer the CAMRA question as this came up several times during the evening. C-BAS is not part of CAMRA. While we share many DNA traits with CAMRA, our DNA is a closer match to CAMRGB, making them our closest beer group relative. We support the work of both groups and hope we can all work together to ensure everyone gets access to the very best beer.
We are now busy planning the next C-BAS night so if you live in or around Chester you are more than welcome to come along.
Follow us on twitter @TheRealC_BAS for further details.