Thursday, 6 September 2012


Before we launch into today’s exciting and much awaited blog I need to report some even more thrilling news. On Tuesday this week, I received an email from “Sam”, an executive from a PR company on behalf of Cask Marque themselves. Their question, would I like to be interviewed with the view to a press release about the Ale Trail and Cask Finder and my Monopoly Blog………..! Well would I? Would I ever Trevor!

So it was with an immense frisson of excitement that I rang Sam today, betting of course on the fact that everyone who works in PR is bound to be female and Sam was sure to be a young, nubile, beer loving girly who might have a kink for slightly overweight bespectacled ale fetishists. “Hello, this is Sam,” resonated the mellow baritone timbre of someone who could definitely not be female……ah, never mind. Sam turned out to be a delightfully friendly chap who none the less grilled me mercilessly about the motivation of the Monopoly trail making me question my own sanity and whether I need to get out more. (I do, but there again that’s what the trail is all about!) And of course piled on the pressure for tonight’s episode which I promised him would be complete by tomorrow. So, Sam! This one’s dedicated to you!
BGC gets into the spirit of Whitehall
But pressure aside, I was very much looking forward to doing the Whitehall square as for starters it’s an interesting street. Running from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square it has numerous places of interest along its length including Downing Street, the Cenotaph and Horse Guards Parade. The two pubs I’d identified were at the Trafalgar Square end and were also exactly opposite each other which promised to make it a trouble free visit. On the south side was the Taylor Walker pub of the Silver Cross and on the north side was Weatherspoon’s grandly named Lord Moon of the Mall.
The usual gang of suspects were rounded up (in fact they didn’t need rounding up, they were all gagging for an excuse for a pint!) and we were all delighted to discover that Spiky haired Ed’s social diary was completely blank and he was willing to forgo the sexual education of Beckenham’s single women and join us gang of old sweats on the trail once more.
BGC on the south side of Whitehall about to enter the Silver Cross. Note Nelson in the background.

Alighting at Embankment station, where Charlie had promised we could take a short cut up to Whitehall, I was surprised to see we were actually walking up Northumberland Avenue, i.e. the next square on the board. The possibility of another “double-square” visit was on the cards and as we entered the Silver Sword I told the boys of this idea. But was well and truly slapped down as they all decried the idea saying that we would lose out on another excuse for a visit if we did it that way! Well blow me down! They are actually enjoying this!
My love of real ale must also be rubbing off on them all as 3 of them followed my lead in ordering pints of Thwaite’s Wainwright ale leaving just Rob sucking on his usual bottle of Bud and Spiky haired Ed on a pint of Stella Black – Stella Black? What’s that all about then? For a start, it’s not black and tastes just like normal Stella. Or am I missing the point? The only redeeming feature is that it did come in a nice stemmed glass.
By popular demand: L to R - Charlie, Aussie Pete, BGC, New Guy Mickey, Spiky haired (and limp wristed) Ed - Blurred photo copywrite of Rob
The Cask Marque certificate was propped ideally behind the bar but when I asked the barmaid if she could bring it nearer so I could scan it, I might as well have spoken my request without using any vowels so perplexed was her frown at what I had said. I explained further about what Cask Marque was and the frown turned to downright panic as she obviously thought that a crowd of imbeciles had descended on her pub and were trying to have their wicked way with her. It was then I had a flash of inspiration as I realised I had my Cask Marque 25 scan bottle opener with me and proudly presented said item as prove of the Ale Trail and my own sanity. It did the trick anyway and Aussie Pete and I took the scan without any further trouble or a restraining order.
The visit lengthened into two pints as I tried the AdnamsBroadside whilst the manly drinkers stayed with Wainwright (Ed and Rob still on Pina Coladas) and we all commented how the pub was a real oasis of calm when one considered that the mayhem of Trafalgar Square was just yards away.
BGC on the north side of Whitehall about to enter the Lord Moon. Note Nelson in the background.

We then safely crossed the road (looking at you Ed) to the Lord Moon of the Mall, a much bigger, and very typically Weatherspoon’s looking pub with “fantastic windows” as noted by Aussie Pete. Once again I seem to have been nominated as beer picker as everyone followed my lead of a pint of DanishDynamite from Stonehenge Brewery. It was then that Ed came out with a real pearl of wisdom by asking, “Danish Dynamite, is that like a German beer?” but to be honest he had a point. Although the beer was nice, very nice in fact, quite exactly what was Danish about it escaped me anyway.
So there we have it, two pubs, two scans, job done………….or so we thought until Charlie, with very obviously the scent of the barmaid’s apron in his nostrils suggested that Whitehall was such an interesting street we should walk the complete length of it and venture down to the far end. I knew there was another Cask Marque pub at the Parliament Square end, namely the RedLion but had thought it was rather a hike away. But I’m glad to say that Charlie’s wisdom shone through and we easily fitted in another couple of pints at this fine Fuller’s pub.
It was here that I (and Aussie Pete) had a Cask Finder breakthrough moment as we persuaded both Spiky haired Ed and new guy Mickey to download the Cask Finder app and pop their Cask Marque cherries by scanning the Red Lion. Well done guys, only 99 more to go!
As we left the Red Lion to catch the tube at Westminster I was coerced into another photo call outside the pub, it was then I suffered my second “famous moment” of the day as a gang of merry night-outers gate crashed the photo. “What you lot up to then?” asked one of the slurring revellers. Sensing an opportunity for more blog traffic I handed one of the girls one of my BGC business cards telling her that the blog would be up tomorrow and they’d be mentioned. Now I’m sure I heard one of them say “Oh, so you’re the Beer Glass Collector!” in a voice of awe and wonderment but I must admit it could equally have been more along the lines of “Beer Glasses? WTF?” but it rounded off a most satisfying evening and my first taste of public life. Ah…………anything for my public!
BGC and some random strangers outside the Red Lion - Blurred photo copywrite of Charlie.
Number of Cask Marque Pubs visited = 60
Sir Robert Peel? Well, would you? = Ed would.
First Great Western? = Well they were on time enough to get me back for The Last Leg anyway.
Next Stop = Northumberland Avenue (again)

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