History of the White Gypsy Brewery

Cuilan Loughnane

Sitting in one of Heathrow’s pubs one glorious summers evening in 1993 on a 4 hour stopover en-route to Vancouver, I witnessed a bar maid performing a very unusual looking ritual, while trying to pour a beer into a glass. I witnessed it again 10 minutes later and again and again.

She was pulling a white ceramic lever with her left hand with what looked like a considerable amount of effort. As the lever arced downwards her entire upper body arched inwards towards the counter. In her right hand was a pint glass, which she was holding under a swan necked spout that was below the white lever. Into the glass was flowing some form of beer, strange looking stuff.

Being a good Irishman I had my national drink in front of me but curiosity was really starting to get the better of me. What was the bar maid doing? What were the strange Englishmen drinking? So up I walked, asked the bar maid for a pint of “that stuff” pointing to the white lever. She duly obliged, performed the ritual and placed the pint upon the counter. I walked back to my seat, eyes to the ground, for fear of being spotted by another Irishman and getting the look, You know, the one that says “Jesus what kinda shit you drinkin’ now”.

Back in my seat, settled in nicely, a good book in hand, sun shining in the window and a lovely red hue coming through the pint. I waited a few minutes before lifting the glass to my mouth and taking the first mouthful, the very first mouthful of real ale and the rest as they say;  is History.

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