Most of us enjoy a pint or two with our friends and I suppose most of us have done a pub crawl at some stage in our lives but I was pretty awestruck to read in Saturday’s Sun that a group of beer lovers who call themselves The Black Country Ale Tairsters (the BATS) have visited a different pub every Saturday for the last 28 years.
Tastefully dressed in beer-towel waistcoats (handy for wiping your hands or the bottom of your glass without having to move too far) these six survivors of the original twenty man mission have now visited 16,337 pubs… Oh, they also visit bars in Europe but these are not included in the total!
In case you have some doubts about the veracity of this (just do the arithmetic!) they keep a record of the pubs they go to by taking photos and writing the number of the pub on a scorecard, and asking the landlord to sign the book they have which has information about every pub visited. The group have invested in personalised beer mats, which they leave in every pub they visit. They have also acquired thousands of souvenirs, including 130 box files full of beer mats and menus and 35,000 photos. Not surprisingly they are extremely knowledgeable about beer and pubs and BATs approval is a recognised accolade in the local pub trade.
More seriously, they have raised £15,000 for good causes by asking the pub landlord they buy beer from to donate £1-00.
Even more seriously, they all have long-term partners one of whom says:
“You know what you’re getting into – you can’t complain.”
Me, I have been going to the same pub (The White Horse in Fulham) since Easter 1974, which means I have made about six thousand visits. However, whereas the BATS seek out variety, I let variety come to me. When I first started going to my local, I had shoulder-length hair and flared jeans. The pub was almost as scruffy as I was with a lino floor and a boring beer selection. But investing time and money turned it into one of the best pubs in Britain: attractive decor and an ever-changing selection of beers both traditional and modern. With all due respect to the The Black Country Ale Tairsters, I do not feel the need to go anywhere else!
That’s the great thing about the Great British Pub: there is something for everyone!