Published on May 6th, 2015 | by Alastair Gilmour0
Fifty and Counting
Over the past 50 issues since we began publishing in July 2010 – almost five years – Cheers North East has had the pub at its heart. Cheers is aimed at pubs, pure and simple, and everything that goes on in and around them
That could be live music, poetry, comedy nights, great beer, terrific pub food – from toasties to battered pigs’ ears – charity bike rides, the quiz we struggle with, the wine we deserve to relax over and the people we enjoy talking to.
The pub is the great social leveller and inarguably the best place to socialise in. Pubs bring out the best in people and Cheers is keen to bring the best into the pub.
After reading issue No1, a complete stranger emailed: “An excellent read and a brilliant start”, so we suspected straight away we had something on our hands.
Here in the North East of England we have some of the finest pubs in the country and we not only want to keep it that way but we want to develop that edge further. The Cheers team is passionate about them and it’s no idle boast – we even hold editorial sessions and sales meetings in the pub because that’s where the best ideas and the best stories come from.
We love them and want to preserve and protect them; we enjoy good beer, we adore fine wine and relish great food. A packet of pork scratchings doesn’t come amiss, and a drop of Scotch isn’t too bad for the soul, either.
We are eager for people to continue the pub habit and to discover (or rediscover) the joys of great beer, good food and decent conversation. Like you, we love pubs and what they stand for and want to preserve and protect them. Pubs are about people and Cheers is about people and pubs.
What you can do for the pub is try and visit them a little more often, encourage others to do so, and seek out the ones you don’t know because without them Cheers could not exist. We might even see you there.
Over on the next couple of pages we’ve picked out a few highlights, almost a pinsticker’s guide. We’d love to say we spent hours poring over back copies but to be honest it was quite easy – there was so much to go at. There has been a lot of great comment and observation in Cheers over the past 49 issues so you might forgive us for wallowing in a little self-indulgence for this one.
When we started out, we featured everything from the World Cup in South Africa to a brilliant signwriter and Man’s Best Friend. Why? Because all of these things are related to pubs. It’s not just about beer, beer, beer as our old friend CzechBeerMan points out on page 37. There he writes about discovering a water treatment kit in a tiny brewery in Bohemia. He’s fascinated by it but the brewery owner doesn’t think anybody could surely be interested in his assemblage of filters and couplings so asks him instead to concentrate on the beer itself. But he was wrong.
“What one can write always just about beer?” asks our man in the Czech Republic (in his beautifully balletic prose). “That there is foam on? All I want to bring to readers is a complete comprehensive report and views. If the foam goes down in three minutes or in three-and-a-half minutes it is maybe also interesting, but not important, it is secondary.”
We take a similar view on Cheers. People don’t just want to know about citrus-flavoured hops and chocolate malt – important as they are – and there’s only so much you can say about them month after month before readers switch off. They want us to take them on ale trails and introduce publicans. They want to hear what we have to say about live music, brewery tours, wine regions, beer festivals, panto dames and the occasional celebrity who has to qualify for an interview through his or her liking for pubs.
There you have it. This magazine is for you, dear reader – and so is the pub. Cheers.