The Gentlemen's Ale Sampling Society

        1982-2017  35 YEARS OF BEERS






Tuesday 6th March


Black Tie dinner at The Roffen

Caveau Du Sabrage



Art of Sabrage - History

Two hundred years ago, dashing young cavalry officers in the French Army would slice the cork off the Champagne bottle with the sabre, rather than put themselves to the effort of removing the wire basket and easing the cork out. The art of Sabrage is meeting the glass annulus at the top of the bottle below the cork with a firm tap of the sabre's edge, at the weakest point of the glass seam in the bottle.



The Ambassador sabraging in Rome

There may be no dashing dragoons, happy hussars or lascivious lancers to sabrage the bottle, but the Confrérie du Sabre d'Or has continued the proud tradition. Each caveau de Sabrage has a Maître to show you how to do it. Each caveau has a growing membership of Sabreurs who, having performed the task successfully are created Chevalier-Sabreurs at an investiture.

Founded in France in 1986, the order has a serious purpose in promoting the enjoyment of Champagne and the lifestyle of fine wining and dining. One of our objectives is to recruit Caveaux de Sabrage where one can celebrate this great wine by chopping the top off the bottle and consuming the contents. The fun adds to the seriousness of this appellation. Opening a bottle with a sabre adds to the occasion and is all the more memorable.

We expect all Sabreurs to pass on this message to Champagne lovers throughout the world.




The Art of Sabrage - The Gass way


First off, don't have any attractive women along, like the ones in the photo above, that would surely spoil things, they might show us up for instance.  Second, we ensure that as every single member attending opens at least one bottle, some as many as three, by the end of the night everyone will be speechlessly pissed.  Thirdly, do it at The Roffen so that there is no chance of us being chucked out early, thus maximising the benefit of 'second' above.


All that having been said it was a really great night, we even had an old member, Keith Angus, back amongst us for a visit.


Julian White and his two able assistants, Gerard O'Shea and Don Brewer, did us really proud.  Julian organised us, explained to us in words of one syllable what we where doing and why and then handed us over to the kind calm Irish brogue of Gerard who took us patiently through the noble art of Sabrage until every single one of us had lopped the top off a bottle.


Special mention has to go to Peter for his imaginative use of a Ghurkha Kukri knife instead of a Sabre, to Neil for his use of a Champagne Flute instead of a Sabre, and YES, you can chop off the neck of a standard Champagne bottle using nothing more than the base of plain glass, amazing but true.








Now click on the links below to

Watch a film of Phil doing it!

Watch a film of Phil being done




The Remainder of the meeting


SUPPORT FOR RACHEAL BURFORD, ENGLAND RUGBY:  Ray very kindly raised a bundle of money to go to support Racheal Burford, a local girl who is a member of the hitherto astoundingly successful England Ladies Rugby Team.  There is also Racheals's COMEDY NIGHT at The Roffen on Wednesday  April 18th.  Tickets are £15 and proceeds go to help pay for Racheal's travel and training.  GASS are taking some tables and tickets go out in blocks of 10 for convenience (although the actual tables will be of 5ish, but next to each other). Brian has a table, Nick has one, JB has one, Sittingbourne has one, table bookings and queries to Steena Riches on 01634-863037.


NEW MEMBER - RON PRICE: Our gallant and effective Chairman also announced that after a gestation period of almost three years and after attending all the good meetings during that period, at long last Ron Price has bitten the bullet, taken the queen's shilling, bent over to kiss the golden rivet and accepted that one day everyone has to tie their tie round their old chap and sing 'Old Macdonald had a Farm'.  Or to the uninitiated (which is what dear Ron still is) - join GASS, it amounts to the same thing (that and the £150 sovs and £40 a month of course).  There were no objections to enlisting Ron and so he has been duly accepted as our 22nd member, the highest roll call in our 25 year history, a clear breach of our maximum of 20 members, and so f***ing what!  However, we may need to chat about any further rises in numbers, or alternatively we need some members to die.  Looking at the state of some of GASS we probably won't need the chat so let's leave it to old Father Time to sort out.                P.S:  When do we start the internal 'Grizzly Index'?


OTHER BUSINESS:   A long rambling apology for absence was read out from Chris Spree which rather oddly listed eight previous injuries as his reason for missing the meeting.  Good list, but surely it should have been NINE - how did 'Knob bitten clean through while being fellated by my Wiemerana dog' get missed off the list, just forgetful I guess.  Mind you, Chris did list 'bad back from digging too fast in vegetable patch'.   Now call me old fashioned if you will, but I am sure I would remember the searing pain of a set of hounds teeth ripping through my nether regions a whole lot more than a tweak in the muscle of my back.  I suppose this is just another example of how the human brain can block out horrific memories, so, very sorry to remind you Chris!


INJURY TOTAL:  Chris was about right on the injury front as cuts were everywhere, mainly from carelessly forgetting that the rims of the opened bottles were blooding lethal!  Paula was first, Steve R was second, along with a few smaller ones.  The second injury was to the Chairman's liver - he was witnessed and recorded as drinking 11 pints of Newcastle Brown, 11!.  This was on top of at least a bottle of Champagne, and he was still upright and sober, amazing!  In the photo above that is not blood you see, it is Newkie!  The third was to Andy's hair, somehow it has developed a life of is own and taken to sticking vertically upwards, reet odd!



FINES:  A total of £80 in fines were collected by the fines chairman and handed to The Roffen against the bill.


That's all folks  -  see you next month!