Left to Right: Mr Alan Bartram | Mr Bob Leiper | Mr Rex Gibbons
In early 2015, Mr Gibbons told me, "I've discussed this with Alan (Bartram), and Bob (Leiper), and they both agree that we'd like to invite you out for a beer with us"?
I don't need much excuse to have a beer, but the way in which Mr Gibbons asked me was like I was being intvited to join the free masons, except, these guys are the Beer Gestapo.
I have never been asked out for a beer in quite such a pious, pompous, patronising, sanctimonious, sycophantic, unctuous, holier than thou kind of a way, before. I thought, 'I've got to go along to have a look at this'.
On a Wednesday afternoon we met at the Anchor Hotel, and had a pint, then we walked over to Piries Bar. The young and clearly inexperienced barmaid poured four pints, but Mr Leiper decided to refuse to accept his pint, as he had objected to the way that it had been poured. His pint was poured again.
I was stunned. I was appalled. I was embarrassed. I sat down with them. I quickly finished my pint, and left. (They had not said anything that remotely intereted me). A half hour in the company of very silly scallywag monkeys was all that I could stand.
As I left I had a quiet word with the barmaid. I apologised for the appalling behaviour of the Beer Gestapo who were nothing to do with me.
A few weeks later the three scallywag monkeys came into the Malt Shovel. The popular and experienced barmaid, and Horsham Battle of the Bands winner, was working on her own behind the bar. Mr Leiper again refused to accept his pint of beer. I warned her about the Beer Gestapo. I paid her £2 for the pint.
I am delighted to say that the scallywag monkeys no longer visit the Malt Shovel. These self appointed beer and pub experts have decided boycott the Malt Shovel, because they took umbrage to the fact that the landlord Sam Clayton and his excellent team refused to serve them any more beer, as it was known that one of their number was driving.
These scallywag monkeys are not missed at all at the Malt Shovel.