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Hope (and Cask Beer) Springs Eternal In St Albans

Added: Sunday, August 1st 2004

I'm pleased to report that I shall soon have a local pub to go to again. St Albans has a large number of pubs in the city centre. Some were created to provide accommodation and victuals for the people who built the cathedral, others were added when the city became an important stop for stage coaches.

If you live outside the city centre, there is less choice. One pub, the Ancient Briton, which is opposite an important historic site created by Celtic tribes that linked up with Boudicca's Iceni to destroy the Roman town of Verulamium, has become a Harvester. My nearest pub, the William IV, became Jim Thompson's Oriental Bar and Restaurant 18 months ago. This Noble House outlet offered no cask beer and banned under-18s, which neatly excluded the Protz family. Last month, Jim Thompson's closed, security fences went up, and trucks and lorries arrived.

A flurry of phone calls revealed that the site has been bought by Mitchells & Butlers, the pub group that emerged from the old Bass group. It will become one of their Ember Inns, which has a policy of serving a range of cask beers and staging regular mini-beer festivals.

So some time this month I will be able to walk round the corner, enjoy a pint, feed and water the familyand keep a beady eye on the quality of the Draught Bass.