Cast your mind back to 23rd April. I was St George's Day, it had been sunny during the day, but the evening was a bit nippier. We embarked on a feat so daring, so risky, so intrepid, we may as well have been dragon slaying. Oh yes. We were on the way to Dartford Working Men's Club.
Invited along to their St George's day festival by the lovely manager Nick, we were not sure what to expect but had to take him up on the offer- this place is legendary, multi multi multi award winning and once inside, I could'nt beleive it had taken us this long to hop on the train here. As we entered, we thought we had landed in Skegness with all the old ladies playing bingo (taking it very seriously indeed.) But this place is huge, and once in the back room, all thoughts of demon old dears faded away- this was an ale den, masquerading as a working men's club. (They even had a seafood man with a wicker basket like pubs had in the good ol' days. Yum!)
Ushered in by Nick, we were shown straight to the bar, where a fabulous range of rare and wonderful 26 English ales made it impossible to choose. So we had them all. St George's brewery (based in Worcester) provided incredibly tasty beers with marvellously english names (Friar Tuck, George & Dragon).
Sharing a long table with people who were drinking lager at the the start of the night and ale by the end, we settled in to watch the entertainment. Now what live music do you have on St George's Day? Morris Men? A colliery band? Madrigals playing Greensleeves? No no no. A German Beer Hall Oom-pah band. Genius. Dressed in Lederhosen with German Flag decorated music stands, the boys were perfect for the event, encouraging normally apathetic club goers to swing their glasses above their heads, chant toasts in German and grab the thighs of strangers.
Nick gave us a tour of the cellar and a history of the club. This man knows what he is doing and well deserves the many awards the club as won- his committment to ale in this unlikely setting is astounding, and he is nowhere near as scary as he looks.
The following day, we headed down to The Chequers Inn in Ladingford for their beer festival- always good fun, with thousands of young people geting wasted on ale for the first time, and a band who played the time warp live. The only issue is that bere tokens means you end up buying way more than you can actually manage, which makes you talk to strange people and get stuck in the mud in the garden. But hey, I was drinking a beer called Drunken Duck.
Oh, hope the layout is more suitbale, hard of sighted ones. x