The Gentlemen's Ale Sampling Society

        1982-2017  35 YEARS OF BEERS






A very good turnout for a wonderful trip.  Only Ray, Stuart and Chris were missing (with Alan and Neil on sabbatical).  Seventeen members made it to the famous holiday island, and discovered that Ibiza is a genuinely lovely and beautiful place.  The super-clubs may be there, but they are well hidden.  Ibiza Town is a very, very good location for a holiday and we were lucky enough to be centrally located in the Hotel el Puerto and to be looked after by a great events organisation, Global Star Events.

Travelling on a late morning flight with B.A from London City was a delight, especially when Hew made the flight with seconds to spare having relied on his excellent secretary who had checked the website months earlier and noted the midday departure, but missed the repeated emails and texts direct to Hew that told him the flight time had changed to 11.00am.  An excellent full English with Guinness was had by almost all and we took off with acres of legroom and free food and drinks on board - perfect start!

On arrival the hotel rooms were excellent, except Hew's room, which they professed to have given away already.  Fortunately the hotel saw sense before Peter nearly lost it when he heard he had to share with Hew.  The hotel was smart, modern, and most important, centrally located within a short stroll from everything.  We had the usual and traditional problem with the first drink in the hotel bar with everyone ordering and then rushing off without paying.  We then decamped to a nice bar in town where the first attempt at winning the Manneken Pis was made. 

Brian went to the loo in the bar.  Completed his business.  Turned to open the door and the lock was stuck.  No matter what he did he could not open the door.  He noticed that alongside the lock was a temporary  hook and eye arrangement.  Thinks he - "I bet the lock is broken, that hook and eye is what I should have used, bet the notice explaining this has been torn down by some comedian".  Spends another five minutes trying the lock.  Gives up and phones a friend, in this case room-mate Steve Bell.  Steve is very good about it, he does not immediately tell everyone, he discretely comes to the aid of his mate.  Brian awaits his arrival still trying the lock.  Imagine his amazement when lo and behold the door simply opens!  "How the **** did you do that Steve??!!".  Steve then demonstrated how, with one finger, it is amazingly easy to operate a SLIDING DOOR.   Suffice to say this had to be told to the assembled throng - and led directly to the new ditty "Oh dear what can the matter be - one dictator locked in the lavatory - he was there from Monday to Saturday - and nobody gave it a care!



Everyone entered into the spirit in true GASS form and came down dressed as Hippies.

The plan was simple, get into loads of cars and drive like the wind around parts of the Island not seen by tourists, looking like total prats and performing tasks along the way.  We all learnt that Citron 2CV's drive like the classic cars they are and that one should never trust a woman in a wig to drive you.  Let the pictures tell the story.................






Everyone made it to the marina on time and we boarded our two superb boats for a race to Formentera, the nearby Island off Ibiza.  Lunch in a lovely beach restaurant, El Tiburon, then swimming, relaxing, and a race back to the port to watch the RED BULL 'Flying Man' competition from the luxury of our boats.  Great day, excellent weather, the only cloud on the horizon was the face of the boat Captain when he came to ask us to pay up for the fuel used.

Now for those of you that know boats you will know that at normal speed they eat diesel.  But at top speed they positively chomp through it at almost twice the pace.  On the way back the two Captains had been gee'd up enough to race, and boy did we go!  Ho, ho they probably thought, we will clean up on the fuel bill.  No, no we though - fuel is included!  Very sad face when they found out!!!!


Phil Ralph made a really good video of the event



Coach to the beach bar, lots of sun, sea and sangria, plus avoiding the inevitable Paella which sadly the organising dictator did not realise was the dish most likely to be refused by 99% of GASS, shame really as Paella seems to be the basic diet on the island.  The food fads amongst GASS members seems to be mounting at an alarming rate.  However, there is one thing the guys like less than Paella and that is plastic kayaks with no backrest!  Tis better to draw a veil over the kayaking for most as it will only bring back memories of the pain in the crutch and other nether regions that suffered the most.  Fortunately some had individual boats and they did have a good time and a breath of fresh air and exercise.  No matter - beer aids all ills!



As a finale to Day 3 we made our way to Casa Colonial, a very smart restaurant in the hills where we dined royally and had a thoroughly good evening and a very reasonable price.  Lovely location, private table on the terrace, excellent food and service.  We even had a useful and well organised meeting thanks to the skill and diplomacy of the Chairman.




Ron handed out an impressive set of accounts.  Having started the year with 4,271 in hand we ended the year with 5,833.  The aim is always to end the year with 5,000 to cover meetings going forward.  The drop in the previous year was due to several expensive (but un-missable) meetings.  The plan for this year had been to recover the loss and we managed it, plus an overshoot, mainly down to JB and his two cheap meetings and Hew and the GASS Olympics.

This year we have seen both Alan and Neil take a sabbatical, and we hope to see them back soon.  That drops our fee income.  There was a small sum in fees outstanding but due to be collected.  Fines collected were small again and that should be rectified in 2013. 

All in all a damn good year financially.



Brian handed out a summary of the meetings for the past year and a list of suggested meetings for the coming year.  The following points were made - and agreed by the meeting:-

That fees could remain the same for yet another year providing that members be prepared to cough up the odd 25 for expensive meetings.
That we look forward to Alan & Neil attending meetings and if they can come along at any time they are most welcome, they just pay 40.
That the main officers remain the same, JB in the Chair, Brian MD, Ron FD, and that Don became self elected Fines Chairman.


NEW MEMBERS:  It was suggested that GASS should look out for some new blood so that the spirit of GASS is protected for the future.  We agreed to check with some ex-members to see if they would like to re-join and to see if any suitable friends or contacts might be interested.  It was acknowledged that with such a tight knit group as we have now we probably need to be more welcoming to new faces as it a bit daunting to join up.  The absolute upper limit was confirmed at 25.

PRESENTATION:  The members very kindly presented Monte Blanc pens to Brian and JB in recognition of services above and beyond the call of duty, both of which were graciously received.

CHANGE OF NAME:  There was a meeting suggestion of a GASS SPERM BANK, we all meet, make a donation, mix it up in a bucket, and bottle it for sale on the open market (or at Rochester market).  This inevitably led to the idea we should be renamed The GENTLEMEN'S ALE & SEMEN SOCIETY.  The proposal was turned down.

AGM 2013 - Ideas needed.  Current suggestions - BERLIN, PUERTO BANUS, MONTENEGRO, MUNICH BEER FESTIVAL.

MEETING SUGGESTIONS:  Len - Mock Trial at Magistrates Court.  Ian - Ice Go Karts.  Tony - The Cube, Whiskey Tasting.  All to be investigated please.

CHRISTMAS 2012 -  The mood was not to return to London this year, partly to avoid trying to top the Pedibus outing, partly for a change.  The members fancied a Christmas Party venue and the suggestions were for PRIESTFIELDS, VICTORIAS, DETLING.  Sadly most of those don't do our dates so we still need ideas please.

GASS 30 YEAR BOOK - Still being written and coming along nicely.


On that note the meeting concluded, as do these minutes.

Once again, a great AGM, great company and very good fun.