Real Ale Tour – Another Year

Following another successful ESKA Real Ale Tour, here is a short write up of the few highlights that can be remembered!

We must also compliment and thank both Matt (‘driver’, who only got lost once) and Fiona (‘head mistress’ who made sure all the “kids” got round  safely) and without whom the tour would not have been possible. They also coped well with the heckling and the later than expected finish.

In keeping with the ‘head mistress’ and educational theme, the day was more educational than expect and a number of important things were learnt throughout the day, either by practical experiment, harsh experience or observation.


  1. After years of rumour, belief and hearsay, we proved that the Orange Tree is the starting point of all directions to anywhere, (but got a bit confused by the existence of something called a “lemon tree”)
  2. We demonstrated that it is physically impossible to have Ale drinkers on a bus without saying “are we nearly there yet”.
  3. Proved some web sites lie (the first pub in Gosmore being closed).
  4. Saw that one of the older boys likes piglets and model cars (some suggestions of a second childhood here).
  5. Learnt that one of the bigger boys likes his beer and likes getting paid even more.
  6. Discovered the different between “boars” and “sows” after nearly going in the wrong loo!
  7. We learnt that a burger without the meat is just a “garnish sandwich” and that some humans are just carnivores (and are not satisfied by carbohydrates).
  8. Noticed that Tony does NOTHING BY HALVES (except a few minor things like “beer” and “gender”)
  9. We saw proof that it is difficult to do a good Michael Jackson impression (even if it your job and you get paid to do it)
  10. Demonstrated that it is possible to take £30K off the price of a house in under an hour.
  11. Finally we proved that the need for a kebab at the end of an Ale Tour is a fundamental force of biology and chemistry
    and not just a trait you show in your early twenties!

So at the end of the day, what was intended to be a relaxed, fun, Ale sampling day out, actually turned out to be a fountain of learning and

A Quirky Pub

Having spent all day ‘working long and hard’(???) ensuring we collected plenty of evidence (volume) of a wide range of beers, it would be wrong not to provide a summary of the results. We experience everything from known quality beers (Speckled Hen), new and pleasant surprises (Rusty Gun, Oscar Wilde) through to a seldom couple of poor ones (“sorry forgot name of beer” in Lilley one pint was left on the table and I had a shandy just to make it drinkable!).

The Route also included a couple of “quirky” pubs including one (GT Offley) which seemed to be just an isolated small house in the middle of nowhere (which of course we would not have been able to ever find if we hadn’t started at the Orange Tree!).

It was also nice to see several people meet up and join in with part or most of the tour, but these people had a tendency to have drinks that matched the colour of their clothes (pink, blue, orange etc) and not brown ones like the rest of us!

Finally after a really enjoyable day those who made it as far as Langford learnt that Lukes bands is not to “anyone’s” (sorry not to “everyones”) taste. Just for information my day of learning and education did not end in Langford, as I also learnt that it is a very…very long walk home from Langford to Biggleswade at 1am!

Here’s to the next one… Let the learning continue…
Written by John Higgins : ESKA Real Ale Master.

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