The Gentlemen's Ale Sampling Society

        1982-2017  35 YEARS OF BEERS








Yes, it took 25 years before we felt comfortable enough with each other to show our true selves.

It just goes to show how anally retentive we all are.

(unlike Gary who is happy to show his bottom to the world - thank God for the 'A' in AGM !!)


Yes, 25 long years it took to get to this point in our GASS lives, shame we did not get a 'before' shot back in 1982!

At least we have this one to look back on when we take the shot again at the 50th.



(after all, he spent marginally longer on recce than he did on the actual trip)

A triumph of organisation!  For the record it went something like this.


DAY 1:  PALMA:  Take over the boats and out on the town for drinks at Abbaco and dinner in a Tapas Bar where Ron was introduced to the GASS tradition of arguing with Head Waiters, rather than just nodding and repeating the word YES.  Ron's YES to the question "would you loud drunks like at least three times more food than you can possibly eat"  led to our table being piled so high with crap that you could hardly put a drink down.  Only physical threats managed to stem a flood of plates of potatas bravos and boccaderos that threatened to overwhelm us. 


DAY 2:  SAILING TO PORTALS VELLS FOR LUNCH:  In true 'new' GASS style everyone turned up on time from their hotels (yes, yes, we had two 52' boats with berths, but not enough for all to kip on board, so several poor souls were forced to sleep on shore thus missing the chance to cuddle up to another GASS member in a 4'x4' box heated to 30 degrees).


At dead on 0830 we upped anchor and set off for the first sail to a beautiful cove called Portals Vells.  On arrival two things were noted.  First, we had inadvertently shipped aboard a Captain Jack Sparrow look-alike, second, that several German males on nearby boats seemed to be taunting us by flaunting their tackle in our direction, must have been our wonderful boats!  As we had to anchor offshore we were lucky to attract a mentally deficient Scotsman to ferry us ashore by tender.  It was around then that it started to dawn on the boys that Portals Vells is indeed THAT Portals Vells, the NUDIST beach Portals Vells.  As the tender hit the shore the view of massed German flesh hove into view.  Not a pretty sight (for the Germans that is - after all they were there first, about 6am probably, and they needed 21 of us laughing, pointing and gawping like they needed sand in their ........).  Fortunately lunch was one yard off the back of the beach and was NOT nudist.  So we had our first paella with a totally naked backdrop - another first for GASS.  Keen to mix in with the locals we decided that this years group photo should also be nude, hence the rather scary shot at the top of this page!!!!








EVENING AGM:  After the nudist shock, and awful flashbacks of 21 naked GASS members burned into our consciousness, we made it to WELLIES in Porta Portals for the AGM dinner.  As usual the thing dissolved into the normal chaos but some decisions were taken. 


The new CHAIRMAN is Phil Ralph (Deputy - Steve Riches).  This is quite a departure for GASS - our first black chairman!  The first person of colour to hold any senior post in GASS.  We congratulated ourselves on our equal opportunity approach and moved on to fines - where we did it again, we voted in our first Transvestite!!  The new FINES SECRETARY is Alana Stranger (deputy John Brice) and we welcome her to the post.  Two firsts on one historic night, what progress!


We then proceeded to make even more history, we voted down an actual accountant (Ron) for the post of Treasurer and rehired a bi-polar personality named LenAnne to the post and we press ganged Herr Gruppenfueher Henslow as Secretary and Webmaster for the 10th year running.


That gives us such a diverse management board that we could probably apply for Lottery funding. A black, a trannie, a schizo and a neo-nazi,  now that is covering all the angles!!!  The Chairman asked if he could be referred to forevermore as Chicken George, Fines wanted to dress up as a pirate again, the Treasurer held up his brand new bus pass and the Secretary went back to planning for the fate of Poland.




Uncle Albert made an emotional speech along the lines of - "25 years, love you all, best mates a man could have,  so lucky to be here, Sunday lunches 7.50 at the KGV, could not ask for a better crowd, I am running a beer festival soon, raise your glasses, here's to the next 25 etc, etc, etc.  Not a dry eye in the house. 


Phil Cockerton made an impassioned plea for a set of GASS spectacles to counter the outbreak of short sight that seems to sweeping through GASS like bird flu.  He hoped this would prevent the repeated problem of members visiting restaurants but being totally unable to order any food.  Several members offered to club together to get an ear trumpet for the deaf ones.  25 years starting to show or what?


The Secretary made his annual 'falling on deaf ears' speech about ideas for meetings.  This year he started to understand why so few members ever come with new ideas.  Half of them can't here him!  There were some good ideas:-

1.  PINBALL COMPETITION:  Sheerness.  Was that Tony?  If so please go ahead and get a price.

2.  SKI CENTRE:  TOBOGGANING:  Medway.  Was that Keith?  If so please go ahead and get a price.

3.  DIGGERLAND:  MINI GO KARTS:  Medway.  That WAS Hew, who has been trying to get this one to run for two years now.  Please give us a fixed price quote for the evening, food and drink included.

4.  STICKFIGHTING:  MARTIAL ARTS:  Medway.  This was Steve, go ahead as this is a guaranteed cheapie.


The AGM 2008 was discussed and LAS VEGAS was considered with some support, but by no means unanimous.  Various other ideas were put up, but nothing concrete.  Suggestions needed please.


CHRISTMAS also came under scrutiny and nothing was decided.  A DISCO BOAT on the Thames was discussed but again, no consensus.  Ideas please.


Some of the ideas unused from 2006/7 have been pencilled onto the 2007/8 calendar so take a look on the MEETINGS page please an email your responses to the secretary at


The new GASS MEMBERS LIST was circulated and corrected.  That will go out in the post in due course.  Also a list of who has been members over the past 25 years and where we have been was circulated for correction and they are now on the website under MEMBERS and PAST EVENTS, do take a look.







DAY 3:  SAILING TO S'ARENAL:   Once again everyone was up with the lark and on board for a run to good old Arenal, a name from the past, the murky past, when Majorca was synonymous with kiss-me-quick hats and northern gits.  Well the good news is the Marina at Arenal is lovely, the bad news is Arenal has not changed at bit.  Fortunately we were booked into the uber-trendy PURO BEACH CLUB for lunch where we chilled the afternoon away.  On our return to the marina the new Chairman, taking his job seriously as our new leader, decided that it was time we all learned to dance 'Chicken George style'. He also decided to model his new line in Chair-pants for the boys.  Nick decided that the wine was good, heatstroke was kicking in nicely, and so he did a cabaret and then went off for a quick tattoo, as you do.






and a short video showing just how to dance the Chicken George way

dancing lessons in Arenal


followed by two videos of vintage air guitar playing

Air guitar a la Nick           Air guitar a la Steve & Hew


Why? why? why? springs to mind!


DAYS 4 & 5:  SA RAPITA:  Once again into the breach dear friends as we set sail for our next port of call, Sa Rapita.  Nice little location with a lovely restaurant were we were royally entertained by Rear Admiral Steve 'Dinger' Bell on the occasion of his birthday.  Champagne flowed and grub just kept a'coming.  By this time we had been on the piss for some 3-4 days and so a a beach afternoon and early night was had by most.  This was a welcome break and as wind was in short supply we stretched that break to day 5.  Great beach, great marina restaurants, great rest.  Just like a real holiday.





DAY 6:  CABRERA:   This time the departure was a bit messy.  Alana (aka Jack Sparrow) was abandoned by Cap'n Blackheart Jenkins and his crew and left with Rear Admiral Dinger Bell's boat.  At first Alana thought this was a move up in the world.  He had been badly mistreated on Blackhearts boat, he spent all his time cooking and cleaning, boat discipline was lax, anyone got to steer the thing, they mucked around, sometimes they did not even put their fenders out until 5 minutes! from shore!


Boy!  Was he in for a shock.  He had never seen a boat as tightly controlled as Dinger's.  The whole crew lived in abject fear because once that man set sail woe betide any matelot that crossed him.  Crossing him included making suggestions, suggesting a race, looking sideways at the sails, touching a rope.... you name it.  Ensign Ediludaloooooooo came in for particular criticism when he had the temerity to ask to steer!!  Cheek of the man!  Tony got one chance when the Cap'n had to answer the call of nature, he took the wheel miles offshore and was told in no uncertain terms "watch out for that Island" (Majorca!).  Dinger demanded nothing short of total obedience.  From leaving port he grasped the wheel in two stressed hands and, without as much as a drink or a bite to eat, he would stare into the distance and, with the engine on, steer a fast straight course for home. 


Well Alana took about 5 minutes to size up the situation and he was off!!!  He jumped ship, literally, no life jacket, rough seas, he knew he could not take the strict life on offer - not him.  He was back to Blackheart and their happy-go-lucky, any-port-in-storm, who-cares-who-steers kind of life.  Not for Dinger's boys - we were pleased to see him go. 


For Al's part he was damn pleased that Nick had practised man-overboard drills just a week earlier, or things might have got a bit sticky.  If you don't believe me, watch the video, click on the blue bit!   

Al jumps ship!


With Al gone the weather got up and we had our first actual rough seas.  That sorted the men from the boys.  Men:  Peter, down in the galley making bacon sarnies with 10 foot waves tossing the boat here, there and everywhere.  Boys:  Hew, who spent three hours sitting staring at the floor holding on to the 'parasol'.  It was the quietest he'd been for six days!  Fortunately we made Cabrera, a lovely bay in a National Park, with no upchucking.  The place is lovely, but with nothing there at all we were forced to make our own food and our own entertainment.  This took the form of a cocktail party on one boat followed by a great game of Charades and our new GASS game 'The Grand Old Duke of York'.  Talk about simple things please simple minds, still it kept us entertained and about 30 other boat crews awake.





























FINAL DAY:  A lovely cruise back to Palma to hand back the boats and depart for home.  We managed to get everyone together for one final and memorable dinner and then it was off we went - dreaming of next year.


I have said it before but I'll say it again, thanks to Steve for all his hard work.


And in case anyone did not see it the first time - lets see GASS in all it's glory one last time!



Oh!  In case you are wondering - Hew is in front because the wallie that took the photo cut him out, Len's disembodied head is because he sneaked off,

Gary's weirdly placed head is because he (inadvertently?) lent to far back, and Ron hid his head behind Steve (again, inadvertently?).

Boys, boys, boys, you should know by now - if I want you in the photo - you get in the photo!

Only Stuart is missing as he was unluckily unable to make the AGM.  So 21 nudes and one absentee.


Great trip everyone - here's to the next 25 years!