The celebrations began on the 18th Sept with a special lunch event to celebrate the 1st year anniversary of Co-ALE-ition i.e. celebrating Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition being officially launched at the Prince Arthur in Fleet on 18th Sept 2013 at an event attended by over 300 people, including many local dignatories such as Sir Gerald Howarth and local Mayors and many councillors. Who would have predicted just a year later that 8 very different Co-ALE-ition ales would have been successfully launched involving 7 micro breweries who between them have now sold more than 25,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition at over 160 different venues. The Top 5 Co-ALE-ition events over the last 12 months were agreed as follows: 1. Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition on sale in The Strangers Bar at the Houses of Parliament, 2. The Monster Mash launch event featuring Howling and all 5 members of the OMRLP cabinet, 3. The Fleet Lions Ale Festival (when all 6 Co-ALE-ition ales were available at the same time and all of them sold out on the day), 4. Ascot Ales’ Monsters In The Dark launch event in three different counties on one night and finally 5. Wild Weather’s HowlinGale launch event in pubs across Oxfordshire which included David Cameron’s local constituency pub the New Inn at Witney.
Sue Carr, hosted this special lunch and had prepared a home made menu for the invited guests. The starter was a fish course – Salmond and Sturgeon on toast recognising the Scottish Independence vote taking place on that very same day followed by Steak and Monster Mash Ale Hotpot served with baked potatoes and crusty bread and finally Cheriton Orchard Apple Crumble and custard. Monster Mash in a bottle was the selected Co-ALE-ition ale for this lunch event and it was poured in perfect condition. Presentations were made by Howling to local Fleet residents and fantastic Loony Party supporters – Leon Slater and Steve & Joy Lawson for their dedicated support and commitment to Co-ALE-ition over the past year.
The Party then moved on at 6pm to the Prince Arthur in Fleet for an event hosted and arranged by Howling. There were four different Co-ALE-ition ales on sale on the night — Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition, Ascot Ales’ Hope & Glory Single Hop IPA. Langham’s Co-ALE-ition Gold and Ascot Ales’ Monsters In The Dark. It was great to see people there who had made significant contributions to the outstanding success of Co-ALE-ition in its 1st year including Dan Proctor (Manager of the Prince Arthur) who came along even though it was his birthday and Phil Robins owner and head brewer of Longdog brewery in Basingstoke whose Winning Co-ALE-ition ale was the start of this great adventure. Howling and Kevin Travers (CAMRA) presented Dan Proctor with two special certificates which recognised the Prince Arthur becoming the first pub to sell 100 casks (7000 pints) of Co-ALE-ition ale in less than 12 months and for also becoming the first Wetherspoons pub to sell 5 different Co-ALE-ition ales. Dan Proctor was also given a warm round of applause by everybody there for getting into the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for two years running (2014 & 2015). The 2015 CAMRA Good Beer Guide, which only came out last week, not only mentions Co-ALE-ition but also the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, which was another thirst for the Party.
At 10pm the Party moved on to the Hook Tandoori which has become the Co-ALE-ition favourite Indian restaurant and for the 1st ever time a Co-ALE-ition ale was available to drink there with an Indian curry. The ale we selected was Monster Mash in a bottle which was perfectly poured and in great condition and really complemented the Indian spices. The food and service in the Hook Tandoori, as always, was exceptional and Monster Mash proved to be very popular on the night. Other diners were looking over enviously as we drank Monster Mash at £1.67 a bottle and they drank their bottles of Cobra and Bangla at £5.45 each. The Hook Tandoori owner and his staff were also very impressed and asked us to leave them some bottles of Monster Mash so they could sample this ale themselves, their feedback since then has been very positive, unfortunately this special limited edition of 1000 bottles of Monster Mash has competely sold out and no further production is planned.
Howling was on great form throughout the day, he was the life and soul of the Party, reeling over his one liners and anecdotes. He delivered a passionate Union speech with no scipt where he confidently forecast a NO decision in the night’s other big occasion, the Scottish Independence vote. He went on to say that the Oxford Mad Hatter was in Edinburgh that night along with Co-ALE-ition friend and supporter Colin Bex (Leader of the Wessex Regionalist Party). Howling also confirmed it was the Official Monster Raving Loony Party who first came up with the three recommended options for the Scotland Independence Vote ballot paper i.e. In, Out, Shake it all About (aka more devolved powers for Scotland). Howling went on to highlight the many Co-ALE-ition achievements over the last 12 months and confirmed there were many more Co-ALE-ition developments in the pipeline in the run up to the 2015 General Election. Howling confirmed he was standing for the OMRLP at the Clacton on Sea by-election next month and would also be putting himself up against Boris Johnson in the Uxbridge and Ruislip constituency in next year’s General Election. Howling brought the house down when said he was ready to do a deal with Boris which would enable Boris to become MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip as long as Howling could take over as London Mayor!!!