York’s Rook and Gaskill pub has passed a major milestone in its illustrious history as one of the city’s best real ale pubs. In July, manager Neil Trafford tapped and served from a cask of Pyramidal Orchid, a ‘Natural Selection’ wildlife beer from Castle Rock Brewery, marking his 1,000th different real ale choice since he took over at the pub in December 2005.
Neil says he had no inkling as to which beer would mark the event, “That all depended on our customers, who often have the choice of up to 15 different real ales in a week,” he says. “However, I think it was odds on it being from Castle Rock our customers favourite suppliers,” he says.
Neil has kept a comprehensive record throughout, with all the unique pump clips meticulously logged and then attached to the bar ceiling. “Over 220 different breweries are represented from all parts of the UK with ales from the major independents like Batemans and Everards, as well as others from the smallest micro brewers. The geographical split also reflects how real ale has become a UK-wide phenomenon with a list that includes ales from Shetland and Peterhead in Scotland, English beers from York and Leeds, and others from the St Austell and the south.
“Roll on the next thousand,” says Neil.