Inspired, not by morons, but by a look at some old stuff, I was drawn back in time to my early days working in the pub in Scotland. I can remember the beers. Hell I can remember which order the fonts were in. Nearest the door, Lorimer's Dark Heavy, a malty brew. Then Younger's Tartan Special, then McEwan's Export. In between them was Norseman Lager, Guinness and Tennents Lager, the biggest seller. We sold a lot of Tartan too. And Guinness before the "theatre of the pour" had even been thought of. These days it was way thicker, blacker, denser and took forever to settle. People ordered Guinness in advance then.
We had some interesting bottles too. Large pint "screwtops" of McEwan's Pale Ale and Whitbread Pale Ale, smaller bottles of McEwan's Double Century Strong Ale and of course, Fowler's Wee Heavy. We even sold bottles of Belgian Stella. The Boss called it Stella Artoys. The keg beer came a long way from a "cellar" on the same level and fobbed like a bugger. Bar staff did all the jobs from cleaning the toilet's, re-stocking the shelves, sorting the bottles, wiping the bottles, polishing the gantry and all the spirit bottles and hoovering the carpets. There was never a second when you were allowed to do nothing and the place was like a new pin. There was no cleaner employed and the pub had to be ready for the next session when we left. There wasn't much time to skive anyway. The pub was generally heaving until ten o'clock (later eleven) when we threw them all out, sometimes physically and always accompanied by a screaming electric bell to emphasise the point.
On a Sunday it was worse. All pubs were closed in Scotland then (1974 ish) and the only places open were hotel bars and "bona fide inns" such as us. It was absolute mayhem for the two lunchtime opening hours.
After they all went and we'd readied the place there was a blissful hour drinking Export and playing pool. I didn't work on Sunday night. No-one but the Boss could face two such sessions.
Of course all our wages went straight back over the bar.
My favourite beer in these days was Diamond Heavy, or at a pinch, the Export, brewed by Ind Coope (Alloa). We didn't sell it, but the nearest bar to work did. I can still remember its taste. I'd never heard of cask ale.
The Thirsty Fish - Bury's first, but hopefully not the last, micropub opened on Thursday at 3pm. Situated on the edge of the Millgate shopping precinct, right by the bus stat...
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