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The number of pupils with a first language other than German has doubled from to At first this is easy, but when you've had 10, beers over 12 years it gets a tad more difficult to remember - "was it Arundel Hard Willie I had in Sheffield 5 years ago, or was it soft Willie? I was there, I can appreciate what they're going through, but all scoopers should take a step back from the frenetic pace of ticking and think about what they're doing and if it's what they want to do! When you get bored. Nor the evils of the worldwide Islamic Inquisition which — not in the 16th century but now, in the 21st, condemns Muslim apostates to barbaric execution. Instead, aggressive White androphobes of all genders which I can no longer count are decimating the philogynous and egalitarian West.

... Sí. Está lento. Lo sé ...

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Beer Scooping is a broad church and all are welcome - and, on the whole, scoopers are a good crowd who just want to have some preferably scoopable beers with mates and have a laugh. Anyway, AS isn't really a bad thing to be afflicted with when you consider what you might have been born with - for a start, it's not life-threatening or painful - so if I have it then I'm happy to live with it and I think the world would be a boring place without eccentrics like us!

So, after the science lesson, I come to the nitty-gritty; basically, you either have the "collecting" mentality, or you don't; there's no way I could explain to someone who doesn't have this gene I don't really know what it is that makes some people collect things and others not, so for sake of argument I'll call it a gene and assume it's not always Asperger's syndrome to blame or why I want to traipse around the country most weekends searching for beers I've never tried before, don't know if I will like and will probably never drink again when I could be watching the footy, mowing the lawn, washing the car, going to Tescos and all the other sensible things that good normal citizens do every weekend.

If you can't understand either then it's probably best that you give up NOW and save wasting any more or your time - or, maybe, read on; you might discover you have this gene too, albeit in smaller doses than some of us!

Ground Hoppers and Munro Baggers. A prime example of people with the "gene" are "ground hoppers". These people are "normal" as in they go and watch football at weekends, although they write down and maybe tick off in a league book which grounds they visit; these people have the gene! They may also drink real ale, and in that case they are half way to being a scooper - all they have to do is write down the beers they drink I know of a few ground hoppers who are also scoopers, so maybe this isn't the best example, but it explains my point about collecting things being a mentality rather than just a thing you do.

In my view, those who indulge in "ground hopping" are just as sad as those who go out trainspotting or beer scooping - after all, all they are doing is writing things down! However, in this "laddish" macho culture, anything remotely connected with the "pack animal" mentality of football cannot be questioned; even if the individual can recite the results of Billingham Synthonia for the last years home and away he's still not sad, but still "one of the lads".

This is still sad, if being sad is writing things down and being interested in minutiae, but because it's football it's somehow socially acceptable. If someone can call me "sad" because of my fondness for loud diesel engines then I'm going to call the next person who says they only "need" one football ground a saddo too - it's only fair! Likewise the so-called "Munro Baggers" who, for some obscure reason known only to themselves, find it necessary to expend much valuable energy in climbing mountains in Scotland - but not any old mountains, oh no.

They have to be on the approved "list" of peaks over 3, feet there are , apparently which are called Munros and these people "bag" tick off to you and me the ones they have climbed. This sounds, to me at least, like these people have some of the gene which makes beer scoopers tick off beers although they also seem intent on unnecessary physical exercise too - it takes all sorts, I suppose.

If by this point you still don't think Munro Baggers are cut from the same cloth as scoopers, that they aren't the same obsessive cranks, just read this and see the language used - anyone who says they went all the way to Scotland just for the "ticks" is a crank of the highest order. In essence, a beer scooper goes to a venue pub or beer festival, mainly where he knows or thinks, if he's "going blind" that he will find a beer on sale that he hasn't drunk before.

To find "new" beers the scooper must get some "gen" and go somewhere with a good chance of finding "winning" beers for explanations of these words, see the Lingo section.

Just make sure if you find a pub that sells new beers regularly that's not well known to the community that you share the gen with other scoopers. If you are lucky enough to live in Sheffield or Manchester then you may find that just having a casual saunter around will yield several, if not a ruck, of new beers for your tally. If you live somewhere more deprived of decent pubs then you'll have to search out which ones will give you the best chance of finding scoops - this may mean a good deal of travelling for little reward.

In the end It all comes down to how desperate you are and if you want to save your scooping until you can do a load of pubs in one hit rather than travelling miles on the off-chance of a winner; it's a trade-off you'll have to decide for yourself.

Some venues soon become obvious, such as the Sheffield circuit on a weekend, Manchester's Northern Quarter, Derby etc; put simply, a pub will generally either have scoops, or it won't - although some have the occasional scoop and then nothing for years.

Almost any scooper "covering" known scooping venues will get new beers for his list, but the problem is that not everyone can get to Sheffield or Manchester every weekend so this is where beer festivals come into the equation; a beer festival is basically a non-pub building with a "stillage" set up with beers on and the public can go in usually on payment of lots of money and drink the beers.

Most festivals hire glasses or make you buy one! The facilities offered by beer festivals vary drastically from only beer to family areas, choice of food, music and all stations in between. Most beer festivals are run by CAMRA the Campaign for Real Ale which, despite having an image of being full of fat blokes in sandals, actually saved real ale in the 's.

Unfortunately, a lot of CAMRA people think that this gives them the right to pontificate carte blanche on how things should be done, especially the fat ones in sandals. Despite all it's problems, however, without CAMRA there would be few large beer festivals although here - unfortunately - lies another problem; not all beer festivals are useful for beer tickers. It should go without saying that all beer tickers theoretically, at least should be CAMRA members as the reduced entrance to beer festivals will easily top the subs paid - if you attend enough, although some scoopers disagree with CAMRA's diktats and the official line so much that they have resigned.

For any new scooper, however, my advice is to join, basically for want of anything better; I'll not poison your receptive mind with vitriol about CAMRA, I'll leave it to you to find out what you think about their policies on various things Seriously, if you're a militant-type person then you might have quite a few issues with what CAMRA say about many things but if you're more easy going then you'll be fine.

You'll also be fine if you're a Hitler-like control freak with a huge gut and a beard who hates micro brewers, but that's only my opinion! These events can be even better than a CAMRA beer festival due to the fact you are in beer's natural environment, a pub, rather than a hall on the outskirts of a town with all the kickin' atmosphere of a Methodist's stag night, but the problem with pub festivals is that often only a proportion of beers are on although some beer festivals do this, some deliberately and basically you take pot luck that the beers you "need" will be on when you turn up.

Sometimes you win and everything you "need" will be on, or sometimes you lose and all your "winners" will have either gone or be untapped; It's all part of the fun, honest. Some pub festivals have all beers on right from the start, or will be receptive for suggestions about which cask to tap next within reason although these aren't as common as the "20 at a time" festivals.

The gen about which festivals are of which type is usually to be found on Scoopgen before the event kicks off along with lists and other gen such as how to get there which, for some places, is very useful indeed! All tickers log their beers differently; some use databases, some iPaqs, some spreadsheets, and some traditionalists even use paper! The common thread throughout these methods, however, is that the different beers are physically logged into a list - somehow.

The prime function of a scooper's "beer list" is to keep track of how many beers he has drunk, however the other more prosaic reason for carrying the list around is that when you attend a beer fest, or go to the pub, you need to know which beers you've "scored" and which you "require".

At first this is easy, but when you've had 10, beers over 12 years it gets a tad more difficult to remember - "was it Arundel Hard Willie I had in Sheffield 5 years ago, or was it soft Willie? Nowadays, most new beers are one-offs and are never seen again, but some appear all year round or at certain times of the year such as summer ales so the scooper needs to know if he's scored a certain brew previously. Scoopers will record certain information when they drink a beer - you definitely need the following;.

Brewery name if you know it this may not be obvious or it may be brewed by someone else for a defunct operation. Beer name is obviously next, followed by the. Strength , as some beers may be brewed at different strengths and this counts as a tick to most scoopers more later.

The date of drinking is also pretty important in order to work out numbers of scoops per year and other such pointless statistics. Other information is discretionary, such as where the beer was scored, any tasting notes, whether it was a "bottle" or not more later , any score given, and any other info that might be gleaned. This complete record makes up a "scoop" and equates to one beer drunk, but it is best to record as much info as you can as then you can prepare reports of your scoops, such as which town you have scored the most beers in, which is your top scooping pub, which months have the highest and lowest totals etc just to prove to your friends that you're totally sad and obsessive.

This is not about weekly levels of alcohol unit consumption actually, let me state now that it's not a good idea to tot up how many units you drink a week when scooping - for example, say you have beers in a year, then you average out at 4.

This issue causes a bit of debate amongst scoopers; a common consensus is that only legal measures constitute a scoop which, in the UK, means only a third, a half or one whole pint of the stuff counts. In direct contradiction to the above scenario, some scoopers will count a taste a sip of a beer as a "winner", but this is frowned on by most others as it means the whole exercise is being carried out purely for the number of scoops, not the enjoyment of the beer and "rioting".

These people, in my opinion, have too much of the collecting gene for their own good! My own personal opinion, and that of quite a few others, is that a "reasonable amount" is what is required - this may vary from a few pints in your local to a 10cl measure at an American beer festival; it all depends on the circumstances!

No-one is going to tell you that you can't count the beers you've scooped as you make your own rules up! Here comes the first controversial subject; I'll try and explain it from a bottler's point of view, which may sound like a case for the defence, but it's what I know! Let's assume I am driving around the country in the course of my work and, as the law and common sense, I hope prevents me from scooping and driving, I have a problem.

I am driving past the Clockwork Brewing co in Glasgow funny that! I can either drink them all, drive away, lose control of the vehicle and plough into a group of Chavs at a bus stop actually, that's not a bad thing I can have my couple of halves and leave the other 4 un-scooped on the bar.

There must be a "third way" I hear you say and, sure enough, there is - It's called Bottling. Stripped down to basics, bottling is taking beer away to be consumed later.

It's best, then, to try and keep any bottling as low profile as possible, such as under the table. The kit required for bottling is easily obtained - just go to the supermarket and buy some ml bottles of pop, drink the pop or pour it down the sink , and there you have it If you don't want your winners to taste of lemonade or cherryade you need to wash the bottles after every use and to do this it's best to use a sterilising agent such as homebrew steriliser which kills most nasties.

The first clean removes the pop taste and thereafter, after each use, sterilise them again to remove the yeast and stale beer in the bottle One scooper apparently used salt to clean his bottles, others use Milton fluid, and another puts them in the washing machine in a pillowcase! Maintaining this cleaning regime ensures you get good results every time you fill a bottle and don't end up with something to pour on your chips - or down the sink. You'll also need something to transfer the beer from the glass to the bottle, as pouring beer from a glass into a bottle after 10 pints is definitely an acquired skill.

Okay, you can still drink the beers, but it's nice to know exactly what you're drinking Needless to say, other bottling reasons include too many beers to feasibly drink in a day, being too drunk to keep scooping, lack of time due to catching a train, a strong beer being found at Some scoopers think bottling is "cheating" as it means an end to "capacity" limits at beer festivals when you hit the infamous "glass ceiling" or is that floor?

Fair enough, everyone has their opinion - learn the facts and decide for yourself! Being a lapsed bottler myself I would recommend that, if you're very desperate, to give it a go but make sure you adopt a rigorous cleaning regime for your bottles as there's nothing more likely to put you off than a bottle of Sarsons. Used in the right place, bottling is a very clever method of getting more beers than you otherwise would!

If your job takes you all over the country as mine used to then bottling is basically essential as you'll be forever passing remote brewpubs and that may be the one chance you ever have to scoop them in! Bottling see above can also be done as part of a "cartel", which means that a group of scoopers get together and decide to bottle for each other. The advantage of being in a cartel is that you can, theoretically, get x times as many scoops, with x being the number in the cartel - however, problems arise with settling up the money afterwards, members getting "dud" beers for others, arguments about bottle cleanliness and bottle acquiring, some members getting more beers than others etc.

Basically, most cartels fracture after a short time - if not, the members must know each other very well, or be saints! The best strategy seems to be to have a small cartel of two or three and don't try to get everything. The most famous cartel was that of Brian Moore, Mick the Tick and Gary Mess which has acquired legendary status in scooping circles and most of the scooping was carried out without mobile phones - hardcore, or what?

This is also a controversial matter, but of a more light hearted nuance. Basically, to transfer beer from the glass to the bottle requires a third medium; a plastic funnel, such as that found in kitchens, can be used by putting the spout in the bottle and tipping the beer in. Another way is a plastic kitchen jug, where the beer is poured from the glass into the jug thence into the bottle.

Neither is perfect, so basically choose the one you're happy with and use that. If you get a bit of practice, however, the easiest way that dispenses with looking like a chemist sat in a pub is to learn to pour straight from the glass. Half pints are possible, if you have 2, then you can divide the beer into both glasses and tip both halves into the bottle although a pint is much easier, as you simply drink a half, then tip the rest into the bottle. With a bit of practice and getting a few floors and yourself soaked in ale, it's easy - honest!

This procedure is OK for yourself, and OK for cartels as long as the other members don't mind drinking your spittle. Getting to know other scoopers is very important; most information about what beers are on where comes from fellow scoopers, so it's imperative to get to know some. However, some tickers are occasionally a bit reticent about speaking to "new faces" this comes from bashing days, when those who did other engine types were ranted at so it pays dividends not to talk yourself up too much - don't lie, for example - those who have been scooping for a long time will figure you out straight away it's easy to tell someone who's talking bollocks when you know what you're talking about!

A good idea is to introduce yourself to some who look sociable! Staying apart from other scoopers is not an option if you want to get the most out of the hobby, which is the social side - scooping can have a great social aspect which is usually more enjoyable than the number of new beers you get at a festival; it's great to walk into a bar in, say, Amsterdam and meet a fellow scooper there for the same thing as you are - a few scoops and some decent beer!

So, have a look on the database of scoopers here, and the next time you go to a festival or pub see who's there; you'll find most scoopers are sociable people at heart and will gladly furnish you with all the required information you need to kick-start your beer scooping campaign. It's been said a number of times that one of the appeals of scooping is that there are no rules, but this is wrong - It's just that everyone's rules are different - or at least slightly nuanced - from everyone else's!

The most common rules are listed below, with some options to give you an idea of the complexity involved. Some beers are brewed with different strengths - this may make them "new", depending on your rules. Some scoopers don't count "rebrews" at all whilst some have a limit, such as 0. Some beers change recipe with little or no ABV change, but we are never told, so the safest policy is to see what gen you can glean from the webgroups and stick with that - new recipes for beers is a a common discussion thread as most scoopers are only too willing to make known any variations in the beers from their "pet" brewery.

If a brewery moves, as happens sometimes, scoopers may count the beers again. Some have rules which say if the new site's water supply is different, it counts, although getting this info can be difficult whilst others use the simpler distance rule, with an arbitrary figure of, say, 5 miles being chosen and if the brewery's move equals this then the beers can be counted again. Others don't count moves at all! A lot of beers on sale are in fact blends of 2 or more beers; this has been done for years and is certainly not a new practice.

However, the industry of producing "festival specials" via mixing beers nowadays means it's necessary to know which beers have been mixed to make the finished beer, and in what ratios. Some scoopers count mixes of different ratios of the same beers, others don't and some don't count blends at all, although knowing what is and what isn't is very difficult - some famous beers are in fact blends of others - the Linfit beers are famously blended all sorts of ways to arrive at the large range the pub sells.

Dry hopping can be done with any hop, but obviously some are preferable to others taste-wise as some hops are better used as bittering and some best used for aroma. Most scoopers count the different hops as different beers, although other additives, such as colouring or spices, are more controversial not being natural - and traditional - ingredients in beer, although you could make a strong case that hops only became traditional in UK beer during the years ago when they were introduced from Flanders Belgium.

Food colouring is not a traditional ingredient in beer and therefore a lot of scoopers don't class beers made by adding colouring to a "base" beer to be legitimate new brews, but then I suppose hops weren't a legitimate additive until the Flemish introduced them to the UK - see just how subjective this issue can be? Colouring also adds no flavour, so to many this is not a new beer, just beer x with colour in it.

Spices and herbs can also be added, which as they add flavour can be treated more charitably, and most scoopers count these. This really is a controversial subject, so have a think about it and decide your own rules - no-one will slag you off for having an opinion.

The broad consensus of opinion is that all UK beers count, including islands, but Irish beers are a bit more divisive. It's a pretty safe bet that almost all, if not all, scoopers don't count pasteurised British beers. However, when you get into European scooping, then you'll find a lot of beers are pasteurised - but taste none the worse for the atrocity committed.

To echo my own rules I'd say don't count pasteurised UK beers which are usually only those in bottle or keg but for everywhere else then anything goes, basically! Surprisingly, this is not a major issue with scoopers, but it is with CAMRA; most scoopers will count a beer served under gas pressure, such as a cask breather, as long as the beer is not pasteurised and it's not too gassy. As not that many pubs use cask breathers, and anyway it's almost impossible to tell by taste, most scoopers leave the pedantic questions about gas to CAMRA, and just drink the stuff.

Basically, this means that a brewery brews beers for another due to some problems, such as yeast infection, relocation, financial problems etc. As the beers are usually made with different recipes and yeast, and a fair distance away, most scoopers count them as "new" beers from the originals - for example, Batemans brewed a crap, IMO version of Mordue Workie Ticket for them when they won CBOB a few years back. Yeast does have a drastic impact on beer flavour so any change counts as a new beer for a lot of scoopers.

As usual, however, the problem is finding out when it occurs as most breweries don't advertise the fact they have a yeast infection for obvious reasons. Sometimes the info gets out, however, and therefore most count this as a new beer due to the changes in flavour the new yeast brings. This is not as daft a question as it seems; I have personally been bottling for 8 years and have experimented with various bottles with varying results. There are obvious faults with both, although glass seems to have the longer list — glass bottles are hard to come by Abbey Well water bottles are sold in pubs, and at ml are perfect , they are about 10 times as heavy as the corresponding plastic bottles, and finally if you drop your bag you run the risk of a torrent of beer and broken glass flooding out this has happened!

For bottling half pints some scoopers use ml "panda pops" bottles which are really too large for the quantity of beer and with the air in the headspace the beer starts to go off quickly although they are easy to use in a rush as the whole half can be tipped in with no fiddling about as you get with ml bottles, and ideal for the last few for the train home.

The best bottles for half pints seem to be Irn Bru "red" bottles; these are the perfect capacity for halves, can be squeezed if the measure is a bit short, and the colour also protects the beer from the UV rays of the sun which can give beers a "wet dog" smell and taste.

As for pints, most ml bottles are pretty similar, and hold a pint comfortably and can again be squeezed if the pint is short - the large "widemouth" black Tango bottles are liked by some scoopers as it's easier to pour beer straight into them from the glass, but as you can't see through them, you can't see any clag in the beer as you pour it out which sometimes leads to a cloudy glass of beer. Keep bottles in the fridge until an hour before you want to drink them when you should remove them, as the cold will kill the flavour of the beer.

Scoopers, tickers, beer bashers, ale neds, scratchers … what do they all mean? Scoopers — I take this to mean people who care a bit more about the beers than just ticking them off; they may make tasting notes, score the beers or similar. The section of rail enthusiasts who became scoopers was mainly the "bashers", who travelled around on their favourite engines to all parts of the UK, and therefore had a few beers whilst waiting for their next engine; this gradually evolved into scooping — or did they just copy it from those who had been scooping for years?

The phrase is rarely heard these days anyhow. A "Ned" is someone who is "desperate" for a "winner", and to differentiate from train neds, the name "beer ned" was invented.

Again, not really used any more. After a long time scooping in Britain you may get a bit bored of the similarity of the beers with basically only mild, various strengths of bitter, strong ale and stout to worry about.

The best bit, however, is that most beers are bottle conditioned and the Belgians know how to bottle beers, unlike the UK, where most bottled beers whether conditioned in the bottle or not taste gassy and, frankly, unpleasant.

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