So the evening wore on, the company was excellent and the refreshment likewise. Squeak (who's really named Peter) (I remembered to ask) ( I also asked why they called him Squeak and he told me but see below) knew loads about the pub. He told us about the bricks coming from the old prison (or the ruins of the abbey, or was that the bridge? Buggered if I can remember.) and who built it, and all the time the Organic Pure Brewed Lager was flowing. So much so that I have a confession to make. I can hardly remember anything he bloody told me!
Normally on these visits we find a prominent table and park ourselves. This way we can talk to most of the punters, write down what they tell us (in my own shorthand which, on this occasion, even I can't understand), keep an eye on the doors for interesting looking people coming in and be close to the bar for eavesdropping and refreshing our glasses (eavesdropping because it's surprising how many people, once they know why you're there, start reminiscing with their mates or telling stories to each other. We've picked up a couple of gems in this way).
But on this occasion we met Squeak.
|Me and the legend that is Squeak|
All throughout the evening we were mingling with the locals and staff, this was a cracking pub. The barmaid, Terri, showed me an old, bookworm riddled leaflet called "Bayards Leap". It depicted the story of Bayard the horse, a local tale of a knight on his trusted steed, Bayard, who vanquished a local witch by rearing up and landing with such force, he sent the witch flying, and the remaining hoof prints have been cast in concrete in the town. Don't know when this Witch was around though, maybe the Friday night before we got there?
|Bayard's worm-ridden leap!|
Now I need to talk about the brewery. I had never heard of Samuel Smith breweries. I have heard of John Smiths, largely due to me watching too many action films on telly and coming across an ad or two for John Smiths ale. So I was surprised to hear about Samuel Smith being related to John Smith. Squeak did tell me a marvelous tale of a bitter rivalry between feuding brothers, to which I imagined the left Twix and right Twix factories, but alas, the truth is nowhere near as glamorous. John Smith gifted his first brewery to his nephew, Samuel. End of. (Bloody internet, took the mystery out of that tale! Always a bit of a downer that, in the old days, someone in yer local, like Squeak, would tell you a great tale like that, and you would all lap it up... now, we check Wikipedia...) So this was my first "Sam Smith" pint. and it was lovely. I looked for Stella, but didn't find it. Couldn't see Carlsberg, or Carling, or John Smiths for that matter...
There was no branded beer at all. Nothing. Zip. I asked Terri about it, and she told me that you can have any drink that you can get at any other pub. You just get the Sam Smith version. The Organic Lager me and pops were supping.... Sam Stella. My missus would've ordered a Bacardi and Coke (double)......... well have a Sam Smith White Rum!...... with Sam Smith Cola... and it didn't stop there. Every Beer, Lager, Spirit, Soft drink, Cordial, even packet of crisps, was a Samuel Smith replacement (can I say copy?) It might have been the organic hops running through my system, but it blew my mind! enough to get some pics at least!
|Some Sammy Smith Spirits....|