Imperial beer festival – part 3

By: JimOldfield

December 2nd, 2011

Ticker op can’t stop top ticker Brian…

It’s only the start of the Friday evening session at Mexborough’s Imperial Club and Brewery’s New Breweries Festival, but already there’s a buzz among the drinkers, directed towards an unassuming pensioner sitting quietly in the corner…

“Brian Moore is here”, they whisper.

Yes, the Brian Moore – the number one beer ticker in this country, if not the world – has come to Mexborough… and he’s brought his list.

In the last 30 years, Brian has drunk more than 49,100 different types of cask ale by the half-pint. And tonight he’s come to add to his tally.

Aged 72, Brian – a retired signal engineer from Sheffield – is a cult hero among some real ale-lovers, to the extent that he is even the star of a documentary film about his exploits.

What began in 1981 with him scribbling down a few tasting notes while drinking in the Fat Cat pub in Sheffield’s Kelham Island, soon developed into an all-consuming hobby which has seen Brian repeatedly tour the entire British Isles as he compiles the most comprehensive personal beer catalogue anyone has ever seen.

Even open heart surgery has barely slowed him down – although he has knocked his hobby down from a seven-day-a-week passion, to just ticking on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

He seems to be enjoying his evening in Mexborough. Armed with a print-out and a pen, he’s steadily sipping through his list, returning from the bar with two different halves each time, and making the odd note.

Brian refuses to spill the name of his favourite beer – but he says he loves light and hoppy beers the best – which fortunately for Brian, are in high supply among the festival’s 20 ales.

Said Brian: “Everyone has their own personal taste, so I won’t say which is the best, because it’s all down to the individual. I have a good idea about what I liked and what I didn’t enjoy. I know what I don’t want to try again”.

Over 30 years of beer ticking have clearly cost Brian a small fortune but he won’t give a figure. Shrugging, he said: “It’s a hobby, and you just don’t put a price on your hobbies.”

He said: “One of the good things about beer-ticking is that you get to meet new people as  well as new beers.

“I wouldn’t say everyone becomes a friend, but there is a fraternity among the group.

“I suppose you could say that I’m the number one beer ticker in the country now, and I still enjoy my drink, so I’ll go on for as long as I enjoy it”, he smiled.