CBAS Goes Bear & Billet

If you’re wondering why we’re so bloody excited, it’s because we just did it. We just arranged our first ever CBAS night.

All the way from York, Lesley attended her 1st CBAS
All the way from York, Lesley

If you’re a part of the Chester beer scene, and we assume you are if you read this blog, you know that CBAS has run since 2011, this October will mark its 3rd anniversary. As far as we know, it is the longest running beer club in Chester. First run by Andy Tabberer, CBAS has played a monumental part in promoting the independent pubs and locals all through its existence and to a degree, inspired us to start this blog.

So when we were asked by Simon, the man Andy passed the torch to, if we wanted to be a part of the team of masterminds behind this finely oiled beer machine, we immediately jumped at the opportunity. So excuse us, if this post is a little self-glorifying.

This month’s CBAS took place in the Bear & Billet, one of the longest-serving pubs in town. Located down Lower Bridge Street, right next to the wall, you can’t really miss it, it stands as one of the finest examples of a black and white half-timbered buildings in Chester. It’s kept a hold of its unique character inside as well, and supports a proper fireplace, an excellent addition in cold winter days, perhaps not so much during summer.

Look at all this food!
Look! Food!

When we cordially enquired about hosting a CBAS night in the pub, we were met with such enthusiasm it was really refreshing. The staff went all out and kept bouncing ideas of us, nothing was too much trouble. They were a great bunch to work with. And to drink with, which is also important.

The CBAS lot were seated upstairs. We can be a noisy bunch so it’s probably best to separate us from the usual patrons – unless they want to join us, which would be perfectly acceptable. Anyway. The offerings were 3 pints of their finest ale, lovingly selected and painstakingly carried upstairs (I did feel awfully sorry for the ladies and gents who had to do a few runs per serving – it seemed very laborious) and the biggest, baddest and most awesomest spread I have ever seen. I know that’s poor grammar but the food was so amazing in quality and quantity it’s grammar- as well as gravity-defying. Seriously. There was a lot of it.

The beers we were presented were O’Kells MPA, Pinup Brewery’s Honey Brown and Green Duck Brewery’s Dandelion & Burdock. From light to dark, these beers were all fantastic. We started with the palest and lowest in ABV and worked our way to the darkest and

The tasting sheet
Tasting sheet

strongest, while being educated about the beer itself and the brewery that made it. There also was a very innovative tasting notes available for those who wanted to use them – a lot of thought had gone into them and at first glance they looked like GCSE test sheets. Some of the suggested tastes were very interesting, such as “bandage” and “cooked cabbage”… I don’t think I would ever knowingly order a beer flavoured with either of these but if handed one I may just brave it, out of sheer curiosity.

All in all, the night was a resounding success, and the majority of the credit on this goes to the staff. They put together an amazingly well organised event, all we had to do was turn up! The beer was well selected and interesting, the talks were inspiring and educated and the food – well, I could go on about the food for a whole another blog entry. A few people I spoke to during the night had not been the Bear & Billet before and were immediately converted to sworn locals, and I think that’s ultimately the point of CBAS; to introduce pubs to patrons and vice versa. In a way, I think CBAS is almost like a dating service between beer and people.

And I for one have found my one true love through it.

Next month CBAS is meeting is in the Cellar on Tuesday 6th May. Watch this space.


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