Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Exciting News, (and Cat Flu)

I have been laid up for the last few days with what I am ever more certain has been a dose of Malcolm Flu.  It's just like bird flu or swine flu but much more current and trendy. The lovable little monkey has this habit of licking and biting my face while I'm asleep, so much so that I'm actively growing my beard and moustache just to act as a kind of mouth-guard from him. Perhaps I need to erect a wall around the bed. The fact that I have invented a new kind of flu has made me feel so hip and fashionable, that despite being laid up for almost a week, I have been trying to infect everybody around me in the hope that it goes viral. 

Is that the sound of a distant tumbleweed, I can hear ?

Anyhow, being sober for five days has made me realize how much is going on in the coming weeks and months and just how much work I have to do away from behind the bar.
Firstly is the Bristol Beer Festival this weekend, and the announcement of the local district Pub Of The Year Award. Two Bristol pubs are nominated (3Tuns, 7Stars) and three Somerset pubs also (Hunters Lodge Priddy, Plough at Conglesbury and I think the Crown at Churchill.) Having not visited any of the country pubs recently I can't offer any qualified opinion as to the outcome, but I won't let my ignorance hold me back from predicting that the Three Tuns will triumph this year. I don't like big beer festivals much but I do need to show my face really, so I'll pop along to the trade session. Thanks to Camra for sending me the invite.

April is CAMRA community pubs month, and we have two exciting events scheduled for this time. First is the launch of Bristol's Tiniest Record Fair (and swap). This will begin at 10am on Saturday 7th April, and hopefully continue at the same time on the 1st Saturday of every month. 

The second event is the return of the twice yearly Bag of Nails Beer Festival. It's going to be called (unless we come up with a better name) the Festive 30, Cask Ale Festival, (A Bacchanalia of Beer.) So called because we're going to try to get through 30 firkins and pins of ale in one very long weekend. The start date is Thursday the 12th of April and it will go through to Monday the 16th of April. Quite a challenge and a lot of organising is ahead, but I'm very much looking forward to it.

Many more details to come as we think of them.

And more. The Formula One season starts soon, and although Evil Murdoch has bought the rights to it, I have been investigating LEGAL ways to watch the races live and avoid giving him any money. If we accomplish this, we'll watch it in the upstairs room, so normal Sunday afternoon drinkers will not be disturbed. (Most people do not want to listen to 26 wasps on amphetamines with rockets shoved up their little arses fly in circles for two hours on a Sunday.) 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Tonight, some bloke took a swing at me for no other reason then I told him to get out of the pub.
It was 11.30pm, and he hadn't even been drinking in the pub in the first place. He just came in after closing time to boringly and repeatedly tell me (again) to get a half curtain to cover the front window. A few weeks ago, he had drunkenly wasted ten minutes of my life telling me why my pub is so quiet, (Even though it isn't that quiet) is because there is no curtain and he can't have a naughty drink at lunchtime because he might be seen by his employer. So he came in again, and I was told me this again.
The funny thing is that he also told me that he only drinks shite lager, so he wouldn't want to drink in here anyway. (If you hadn't guessed already, we don't sell shite lager.) After five minutes I got bored of his drunken and selfish rant and restarted the conversation I was having with two students who live across the road. This drunk didn't like being ignored and called us 'fucking hippies' and said he was going to leave. He didn't leave, but said it again. And again. I was still behind the bar and asked him to go. He didn't so I asked him again, and went to the doorway, where he was standing. I asked him to get out, and when he didn't, I shouted at him to get out. Then out of nowhere the arsehole took a swing at me. I ducked, it missed, and then I tried to manhandle him out of the door. Josh, one of the students helped me, and we bundled him out. On the pavement, his legs gave way and he fell to the floor, I think that Josh might have fallen on top of him, because the drunk had a bleeding nose when he got up.

But when he did then was to top his twattiness. He started screaming assault, and called the police. We didn't hit him in any way. We just forced him out of the pub after he had refused to leave and tried to assault me. So after a very boring hour, involving five officers and three squad cars, It was decided that no assault had really happened and I was supposed to go out and talk to him and shake his hand and move on. I really should have done that, but before shaking his hand and moving on I wanted to ask him why he had tried to hit me. He flatly denied this, even though it was witnessed by everybody else in the pub. Another five minute rant/argument ensued, and when the police told him that he wasn't going to arrest anybody, he decided to stick his finger up at the police and stormed off.

Sorry for the long rant, but I am just surprised at what total knobs some people get when they are a bit drunk. By trying to whack me, and then calling the police for my arrest, he has catapulted himself into a whole new level of twattiness. I have a picture of him and I think that it's only fair and just to inform all of the other landlords and landlady's in the area, what a complete prick he is, lest he try to twat any other bar staff.

Some people really shouldn't get drunk ever. Only yesterday, a bloke with mental health issues came in asking why I wasn't going to serve him. The reason is that he's an unpredictable mentalist, but I was diplomatic and gave another reason. His response, 'Are you not serving me because I'm ugly ?' (Last Friday when I told him that I wasn't going to serve him, his response was to start a rant about Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull for five minutes. This time he called me a wanker and told me that my pub was shit and going to fail. My obvious response was, 'why do you want a drink in here anyway if you think my pub is shit ?' He did apologise for calling me a wanker, just before we finally threw him out.
What is it about Hotwells and crazy people living here?

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Redemption, Big Chief IPA 5.5%

The weekend just gone, we had a stunning beer on sale. So stunning that Tom my minion and underling literally forced me to drink it out of a glass boot. And I mean literal in a literally literal sense*. The beer was Big Chief IPA from the Redemption Brewery.
It was another dangerous brew, being 5.5%, but perhaps it was more dangerous than the MOOR Sloe Walker. This is because you intrinsically knew that the Sloe Walker at 7.4% was likely, almost certain to badly mess you up if you quaffed it as you would a normal ale, whereas a 5.5% ale seems so much more reasonable and less daunting, so you think that you can treat it as a normal ale. This lead to painful hangovers on both Friday and Saturday  mornings, which didn’t regress much throughout the day, in fact on Saturday I had to drink more of the Big Chief just to mask the self-inflicted ‘pain’. We all know how this was always going to end.

I don’t know much about the Redemption Brewery apart from the facts that they are in Tottenham, (which is in London somewhere, North of the river,) they have only been brewing since 2010, so are very much new kids on the block, and are making a name for themselves in the brewing circle, pretty quickly.
This is Tom, serving our very first customer back in December.
We should have given him a free pint. But we didn't.
The beer itself was jam-packed full of flavour. The first tastes that I sensed were both sweet and bitter. Being a modern IPA, it was very well hopped, but alongside this were tastes of nectar or honey. After this there was a spiciness that emerged, but I could never work out what individual tastes emerged, because the drink is an absolute cornucopia of flavours. The whole experience was so complete yet so more-ish, that I stopped trying to analyse it properly and just decided to drink in earnest, as much as I could while still technically working. (It was quiet enough, and Tom was energetic enough.)
What I do know is that this is a drink I would highly recommend to everybody, and I am going to seek out much more of their beer. I still have a barrel of Urban Dusk by the same brewery (4.6) in the cellar and eagerly looking forward to it.
This is a much better photo of Tom, and it shows the pub on our first busy night, again sometime before Christmas.
I don't know why we let those Christmas hats in. They are clearly against the rules.
Incidentally we have a twitter feed for the pub, and this is mostly to inform our customers of which beers are currently on sale, and which ones are settling and venting and will be on sale in the coming week. If people want to keep track of the cask ales that we shall be selling, especially the more special ones, I do suggest that they sign up I promise not to rant to much about how buggered up the world is, and how you all annoy me, too much in one day J.

My twitter @LukeBagofNails

* I don’t literally mean that. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Lucky Cat.

In terms of customers, and money in the till, it has been pretty quiet the pub for the last week, quieter than I thought it ought to be. Apart from the fact that payday is looming, and it's still February no matter how much we hope for March, I couldn't think of why. Perhaps I am being too picky about my customers ? Perhaps my gamble of not selling draught lager is backfiring on me ? Could it be my infamous Rules are too harsh ? But I think that I have realised why.

We have not even given him a name. That's not right. 

Last night as I was perusing my selection of bottled World Beers, I noticed that our other feline mascot, the Golden, Lucky Cat had stopped his waving. His magic was gone, and his hypnotic sorcery not working any more. It all began to make sense. I remember in a drunken haze, last weekend noting that he had stopped has magic wave, but had forgotten to rectify it. I think that I have the only Lucky Cat in existence that regularly requires attention on his arm. He damaged it in an accident a few years ago, and while my friend Chris performed surgery and post-care, it's never quite been the same. His Mojo rarely runs out, but we have to restart him pretty often these days. I'm now in a pickle. Which is the least unlucky course of action ? Replace him with another Chinese Cat that always works, and keeps bringing the customers in, or persist with him, and have days or even weeks when he is frankly not doing his contracted job ?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Unusual Visitor.

Yikes. This was the sight that I had first thing this morning, as I went to mop the gents toilets. Well it would have been the exact sight, had I entered the cubicle on my hands and knees for some twisted reason. I would have been happy to leave him there for a while, as he obviously found it the toilet comfortable enough to want to stay there. But I had to think of Malcolm and his feline curiosity, (and torturing and killing inclination). There would have been no chance of him leaving the frog alone, only two days ago Malcolm decided that the best thing to do to a fairly chilled out greyhound in the pub was to stalk him, leap out and bop him on the nose. Honest. Our cat certainly is brave and fearless if not the most intelligent pussy around. Needless to say that a breed of dog that has been systematically bred over centuries to chase and hunt small furry things, didn't put up with that much, and Malcolm finally found his match.

Being the ultra-macho man that I am, I got Hayley to rehouse the Frog somewhere onto Brandon Hill. I would have touched it but it's all,,, uggh. 

And of course the glaring thing that this photo tells me is that we really have to repaint those tiles in the gents. They are not often noticed or cared about, but they really do look crap. Needs sorting asap.

Early right wing tendencies ?

Anyway, here's a few photos that I found of the first few days that Malcolm came to the pub, back in December. He was just eight weeks old then, but already showing signs of his strong spirit. The second day that he was here, he was quite happy to sit in his box supervising the comings and goings of the pub. :)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Moor, Sloe Walker. 7.4%

This picture shows the very last half pint of the delicious Sloe Walker, from the excellent Moor Beer company. I think that it was quite apt and I'm quite glad that I was able to grab the last drop of the barrel for myself. In my opinion the Sloe Freddie has been the best cask ale that we have sold in the pub thus far. At nearly seven and a half percent, this beer certainly packed a hefty punch, but it was brewed with such smoothness, that you had no difficulty drinking three or four pints of it. But it had such richness of flavour that you didn't forget it's strength, and so it never had the dangers associated with some of the fine Belgian beers. For this beer, Moor adapted their fine and well established recipe of Freddie Walker, and added many fresh sloe berries to the mixture. The bitterness of the sloes combine exceedingly well with the natural sweetness of such a strong porter and produces a very well balanced ale indeed. 
I was lucky to get a firkin of this beer, as they had only brewed enough to fill ten firkins this year. I very much doubt if I will be able to sell it for another year, (a firkin holds around seventy pints.) I was worried that I would be able to sell all of these within the five or six days that a strong beer such as this would stay at it's best. It sold out in under three days. 
sincerely suggest that you contact the brewery and try to track down where the other nine casks are. You might find one near to yourself. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Malcolm. First Blood, Part One.

I clearly have not spoken about the most popular thing in my pub enough in this Blog. This is of course Malcolm the Guard Kitten. Like all kittens, he reverts from fluffy ball of affection to fluffy bag of claws and teeth in a micro second, and back again. yesterday he drew his first blood proper, fortunately on my hand, not on a customers. A nice young lady was giving him the required amount of fuss, in his mango box, when he started to get playful. I thought that I ought to demonstrate his vicious streak to her in person, which I did by attacking his belly. As usual he attacked with all five sharp bits of his body, but this time, I couldn't easily detach myself. I lifted up my hand, and a determined killer was still attached. Malcolm is just over four months old now and looking more like a proper cat every day. This week, he is getting chipped, and then we are going to cut out a cat flap, so that he can take his aggression out onto Brandon Hill and it's residents. It might just make for a slightly more mellow pub.