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FULL PINTS Inside AYRSHIRE AND WIGTOWNSHIRE CAMPAIGN FOR REAL ALE

Full Pints 15 Issue 3 1 Winter 2011 Volume 13

Spring 2013 FREE FREE

Paisley Beer Festival postponed Scotland’s largest beer festival rearranged for September.

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This year’s Paisley Beer Festival, scheduled for the end of April has been postponed. Refurbishment works on the venue, Paisley Town Hall, will not be completed in time to hold the event, which has been re-arranged for September 11 to 14. Extensive stonework and roof repairs mean that the entrance normally used for the festival is out of use. 1

Inside

News P3 Branch Diary P8 Ray’s Round Up P10 Map P14 Wigtownshire Special P16 Join CAMRA P24 Ken More P26


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FULL PINTS Scottish Real Ale Festival dates confirmed. THIS years’s Scottish Real Ale Festival will be held at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange from Thursday, July 11 to Sunday, July 14. This is the second year SRAF will be held at the corn exchange. Despite being slightly out of the town centre, organisers feel the Corn Exchange is the most practical venue in Edinburgh at which the festival can be held. The easiest way to get to the Corn

Exchange from the west is to alight the train at Haymarket and take the 4, 44 or 35 buses from Dalry Road, getting off at the large Asda, Chesser, superstore. Slateford railway station is close by too and some services do run there from Glasgow Central but are infrequent.

Join CAMRA Pages 28 and 29 MINUTES OF MEETINGS are available from the branch secretary Ray Turpie: rturpie@hotmail.co.uk (members only)

Contact Editorial: Graeme Watt meatgriller@gmail.com 07535 990531

Advertising: Bob Wallace DISCLAIMER bobwallace.1869@yahoo.co.uk The views expressed in this 07929 990972 publication are those of the TRADING STANDARDS individual contributors and do OFFICES not necessarily reflect the view Ayr 01292 616060 and policies of the editor or of the Campaign for Real Ale Ltd. Irvine - 01294 324900 Kilmarnock - 01563 521502 Š Campaign for Real Ale Ltd Stranraer - 01776 703260 3


FULL PINTS Number of the yeast… rockers Iron Maiden to produce a real ale British rock legends Iron Maiden have teamed up with Cheshire family brewers Robinsons to create a new Maiden beer, Trooper. front man Real ale fan and history aficionado Bruce Dickinson, Maiden's vocalist, Bruce played a major role in developing Dickinson the unique flavour of the beer, pulls a entailing ongoing visits to pint of Robinson’s brewery in Stockport. Trooper Dickinson's on-stage Union Jack flag-waving military character is an Ale iconic element of the band's live concerts and The Trooper, written by bassist Steve Harris, is one of Maiden's most popular songs and one of the highlights of any Maiden show. Announcing the partnership, Oliver Robinson, managing director of Robinsons, said: "This collaboration between two huge British success stories - makes for an ideal and natural match; Bruce Dickinson loves his real ale, and Robinsons Brewery is one of Britain’s most established and respected independent family-owned brewers." And Bruce Dickinson added: "I'm a lifelong fan of traditional English ale; I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when we were asked to create our own beer. I have to say that I was very nervous: Other possible Maiden ales: Robinsons are the only people I have had Run to Refill to audition for in 30 years. Their magic The Evil that Men Brew has been to create the alchemical wedding of flavour and texture that is Trooper. I Beer of the Dark The Alechemist love it." Wasted Years Deja Brew 4


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Great rooms *** Fantastic food *** Ever changing real ales *** Function suites

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FRASERS BAR - MILLPORT QUALITY CASK ALES SERVED ALL YEAR MEALS SERVED12-2.30 & 5.30 - 7.30 EVERY DAY FULL PINTS

7 CARDIFF STREET - ISLE OF CUMBRAE - KA28 0DS

On the A736 Irvine to Barrhead Road, at Lugton Manager, Frazer Dunn, invites you to visit for great food and local real ales from Arran, Houston and Kelburn breweries Tel:01505 850510 www.thecannyman.co.uk 6


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NEW BREAKFAST MENU COMING IN MARCH 2013 9am - 11.45am NEW A-LA-CARTE & 2 COURSE MENU COMING IN MARCH 2013

SATURDAY 23rd MARCH 9pm TILL LATE, 70s ABBA TRIBUTE NIGHT 3 COURSE SET MENU £20 PER HEAD BOOK YOUR TABLE FROM 7.30PM

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FULL PINTS Thursday, March 21

North Ayrshire Social. Salt Cot, Saltcoats 8pm

Saturday, March 23

Branch Annual General Meeting. Geordie's Byre, Ayr 2pm

Wednesday, March 27

East Ayrshire Social. Poosie Nansie’s, Mauchline 7.30pm

Thursday, April 4

South Ayrshire Social. Prestwick Pioneer 8pm Branch Social. Grapes, Stranraer 1pm Blue Peter, Kirkcolm 2.30pm Branch Social. House o’ Hill, Bargrennan 2pm

Saturday, April 6 Saturday, April 13

Monday, April 15

Beer Festival Planning Meeting. Waterside, Largs 8pm

Thursday, April 18

North Ayrshire Social. Village Inn, Fairlie 8pm

Wednesday, April 24

East Ayrshire Social. Millhouse Hotel, Stewarton 7.30pm

Thursday, May 2

South Ayrshire Social. Venue to be confirmed

Tuesday, May 14

Branch Meeting. Wellingtons, Ayr 8pm

Saturday, May 23

Machars public transport crawl.

Any member wishing more information about social events or to book a place on trips is encouraged to contact the branch social secretary Donald Clark at mound_spotter@yahoo.co.uk

www.ayrshireandwigtownshirecamra.org.uk 8


FULL PINTS Getting Around Buses:

Outlets News Gains:

Stagecoach West Scotland Customer Services 01292 613500 Disability Helpdesk 07736 892253

Market Inn, Ayr - now serving real ale Kildonan House Hotel, Kildonan - now serving real ale Golf Inn, Prestwick - under same manamgement as Village Inn, Dunlop and due to serve real ale. Failford Inn, Failford- reopened and serving Timothy Taylor Landlord plus guest ales. Newton Arms, Ayr - Deuchars and guest ale

Trains: Scotrail Customer Services 0845 601 5929

Ferries: Caledonian MacBrayne Enquiries 0800 066 5000

All:

Losses:

Traveline Scotland www.travelinescotland.com

Whaup Hotel, Whauphill - no longer selling real ale CAMRA Membership is the perfect gift for any beer lover! Gift membership includes £20 worth of JD Wetherspoon real ale vouchers, a copy of our new quarterly magazine BEER and monthly newspaper What’s Brewing, reduced or free entry to beer festivals, discounts on all CAMRA books, and more!

How the CAMRA Gift Membership works 1. Order the Gift Membership Online (We can send the pack to you or to the recipient. Amend the delivery address accordingly). 2. The initial pack will contain the full membership pack, plus any books additional items if ordered, plus a covering letter containing a unique voucher code to activate the membership. 3. The choice is yours. Take delivery and present it to the recipient or have it sent straight to them. 4. The recipient will then be able to go online and activate their membership with the unique code supplied and their Membership card will be sent to the member.

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FULL PINTS By Ray Turpie For those of you who read the monthly CAMRA paper What’s Brewing, you will have noticed in the January issue, a photograph on the front page of the successful mass lobby of Parliament in December. We are three of the small faces at the back of the hall. Over 1000 members turned up to speak to their MP about support for scrapping the beer tax escalator, subject of Early Day Motion 703. Let us hope the Chancellor gets the message. If you ever get the chance to visit the Houses of Parliament I would recommend you take it. What a fascinating history. Brian Donahoe MP met us to discuss our campaigning issues and arranged for his assistant Jim Hanson to show us around. The very informative tour included the Grand Hall where William Wallace stood trial, the Queen’s Chambers where she gets robed before the opening of Parliament, and the House of Lords. Needless to say, our visit ended in the Strangers bar for a pint of North Riding Bitter. As you can imagine, the rest of our time was spent exploring the pub walks of London. The most memorable was the Butchers Hook and Clever in Smithfield where a pint of Fullers ESB cost me £4.15. The next day we took the Sky Train over the Thames to the Millennium Dome and visited Greenwich. We set our watches on the orange ball

drop at the Royal Observatory at 1pm then headed for the Greenwich Union to sample a pint of Dark Star Hophead. Disappointingly, all the Meantime beers were in keg only. Our disappointment disappeared, however, when we found a pie and mash outlet opposite what was claimed to be the “Worlds First Shop” only minutes from the datum meridian. They serve their pies with a strange green sauce called liquor but I stuck with gravy. After that we headed back on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) for the centre of the city to catch our train back to Luton. Our last pint of the trip was in the Parcel Yard, St Pancras where I took the rare opportunity while in London to order a pint of Pride from Fullers. In January it was the turn of MSPs to be lobbied at the annual CAMRA Scottish Parliamentary reception in Holyrood. I got the early train and had time for a pint of Stewart’s No 3 in the Tass on High Street. Stewarts were one of the sponsors of the event along with Fyne Ales, Harviestoun and Tryst breweries. Our main topic this year was to lobby for

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FULL PINTS a Scottish Community Pubs Minister similar to down south. Support was also requested for Scottish breweries. There was a good turn out including Johann Lamont, Labour leader and my own MSP John Scott. I asked him to do some judging for the beer competition heats at our beer festival in October and he pencilled it in his diary. There are many more festivals to support before that, however, including Glenrothes 2-4th May, Aberdeen 30th May-1st June and, of course, the Scottish Real Ale Festival in Edinburgh 11-14th July. Also, the Ale Trail by Rail in Forth Valley to support the Mild in May campaign will be on again this year. Some of these events require volunteers to work or are included as branch socials in the diary so check in Full Pints or the web page for details.

You will also get news of social group events on the branch diary and I am glad to report that the South Ayrshire group has picked up since the base was moved to Troon. Apparently there are over 80 members in the Troon area and a dozen turned up with their friends at the Harbour Bar for the meeting in February to enjoy Cairnpapple and Five Sisters from Alechemy Brewery in Livingston. The meetings will be the first Thursday of the month at a different pub each time to support our community pubs initiative. By the time you read this the branch AGM will be upon us and I will be getting ready for my trip to Norwich in April for the Members’ Weekend & AGM. More about that next time, but in the meantime, enjoy your summer ales.

The Village Inn Dunlop

Only a two minute walk from Dunlop railway station. Raymond and Carol will be delighted to welcome you at The Village Inn. Located at Dunlop Cross they are pleased to offer real ale from The Houston Brewery and other Scottish Breweries. Tel 01560 483130 11


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The Grapes was originally a coaching inn, which was erected in 1862. The gantry in the bar is over 100yrs old and the bar still has an original working bell-box for the pub. The present owners Billy and Sally are only the 5th in line since the pub was built. The bar has a warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere and has had visits from people from various parts of the world. Upstairs the pub divides into two rooms - the quiet room which was said to be the first cocktail lounge in Stranraer is now the ladies powder room, on the other side is the lounge and snug room which has been refurbished with the 1940's style of the pub. yAccordian band most Fridays from 5 – 8pm yReal ale on draught yOver 40 malt whiskies - one for each region in Scotland yOccasional Blue Grass bands. Look out for Al Scorch from Chicago on 7th April. So if you are ever in Stranraer give The Grapes a visit it is one you won't regret. Tel: 01776 703386

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AYRSHIRE & WIGTOWNSH Isle of Arran BLACKWATERFOOT

CATACOL

Blackwaterfoot Lodge

Catacol Bay Hotel

Largs

LOCHRANZA

Kinloch Hotel

Lochranza Hotel

BRODICK

Millport Fairlie Lochranza

Catacol

Brodick Bar

Ardrossan

Ormidale Hotel

Saltcoats

Wine Port

Brodick

Troo

Pres

Blackwaterfoot

South Ayrshire AYR

GIRVAN

Abbotsford Hotel

Roxy Cafe Bar

Ayrshire & Galloway

Royal Hotel

Chestnuts Hotel

KIRKMICHAEL

Geordie's Byre

Kirkmichael Arms

Glen Park Hotel

PRESTWICK

Harry's Bar

Eagle Tavern

Malt Cross

Prestwick Pioneer

Market Inn

TROON

Newton Arms

*

Fullartons

Tam O' Shanter *

Harbour Bar

Twa Dugs

Lonsdale Bar

Wellingtons Bar

McKay's

*

Bargrenna Kirkcolm

Bruce's Well

Old Racecourse Hotel

West Kirk

Girvan

Stranraer Portpatrick

New Luce Glenluce Sandhead

Marr Rugby Club

Willie Wastles *

(weekends)

CRAIGIE

South Beach Hotel

Drummore

Craigie Inn

*CAMRA members have noted that real ale is *CAMRA members have noted that real ale not always available at these pubs. is not always available at these pubs. 14

Reproduced from Ordnance Survey map d of the Ordnance Survey Š Crown copyrig


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NSHIRE REAL ALE OUTLETS North Ayrshire

args Gateside Beith

e

Lugton Dunlop Stewarton Kilmaurs

s

Kilmarnock Craigie

Troon

Sorn Mauchline

Prestwick Stair

Ayr

Hollybush Kirkmichael

ARDROSSAN

DUNLOP

Ardrossan Rugby

Auld Hoose

Club (weekends)

Village Inn

Lauriston Hotel

HOLLYBUSH

BEITH

Hollybush Inn

Caledonian Inn

KILMARNOCK

Masonic Arms

Brass & Granite

FAIRLIE

First Edition

Village Inn

Wheatsheaf Inn

GATESIDE

KILMAURS

Gateside Inn

Weston Tavern

LARGS

MAUCHLINE

Charlie Smith's

Poosie Nansies

J G Sharps Bar

SORN

Largs Sailing Club

Sorn Inn

(weekends)

STAIR

Lounge

Stair Inn

MacAulays

STEWARTON

Waterside

Millhouse Hotel

LUGTON Canny Man MILLPORT Frasers Bar SALTCOATS

grennan

uce

East Ayrshire

Salt Cot Newton Stewart

luce

Wigtownshire

Wigtown

re Isle of Whithorn

map data by permission opyright 2013

BARGRENNAN

KIRKCOLM

SANDHEAD

House O' Hill Hotel

Blue Peter Hotel

Tigh na Mara Hotel

DRUMMORE

NEW LUCE

STRANRAER

Clashwhannon

Kenmuir Arms Hotel

Grapes

GLENLUCE

NEWTON STEWART

Ruddicot Hotel

Kelvin House Hotel

Creebridge House Hotel

WIGTOWN

ISLE OF WHITHORN

Galloway Arms Hotel

Wigtown Ploughman

Steam Packet Inn

PORTPATRICK Crown Hotel

15 Harbour House Hotel


FULL PINTS By Malcolm McNeill

W

igtownshire, Scotland`s most southerly county is bigger than you think. It has an area of about 440 square miles and a coastline of around 65 miles,spread over the two peninsulas of The Rhins in the west and The Machars in the east with both moorland and of course the long established Galloway Forest Park inland. Visitors to Wigtownshire come mainly for the outdoor activities on offer-six golf courses, high quality sea and river fishing, bird watching and mountain biking,hill walking and now stargazing in the Forest Park as well as simply enjoying theamenities and natural beauty of the area. Fortunately, Wigtownshire is also wellendowed with 14 superb outlets for good quality real ales. As all but two provide excellent value food ranging from classic bar meals to restaurant dinners, visitors who enjoy their beer are unlikely to go hungry. The Rhins has seven premises selling real ales: STRANRAER has two outlets:The Ruddicot Hotel has been serving real ales for many years and is on the main A75 road into town close to Stair Park,home of Stranraer F.C. There is alwaysone ale available,often from either Houston or Strathaven. The Grapes is an historic bar in the centre of town, little changed over the last 50 years. There is a pleasant outside seating area to the rear. The owners now provide two real ales, sourced from all over the UK and host regular music inthe public bar most Fridays and occasional American blue grass bands in the upstairs lounge. The Grapes is Wigtownshire Pub

of the Year 2012. KIRKCOLM is a small village on the opposite side of Loch Ryan from the ferry terminals and is fortunate to have The Blue Peter Hotel as its "local" as it has a long held reputation for quality ale and food. The hotel changed hands just a few months ago and the new owners have reaffirmed their commitment to real ale and have introduced a new menu. They also offer a discount to CAMRA members for B&B. The Blue Peter was Branch POTY in 2011. PORTPATRICK, on the west coast of the Rhins peninsula and the start(or finish) of the coast-to-coast Southern Upland Way, has two excellent harbour side hotels to choose from:The Harbour House Hotel has been selling real ales for many years. There are usually at least two ales on offer from usually from the Belhaven stable. The Crown Hotel, immediately next door has been selling real ale for some time now. Again, there are usually two available sourced from all over the UK, often from Thwaites. There are regular music sessions in the bar at weekends. Both hotels have high quality outside seating and serve excellent locally sourced food. There really is nowhere better to enjoy al fresco eating and drinking when the sun is shining-if you can get a seat! SANDHEAD lies on the east side of the peninsula. The Tigh-na- Mara Hotel has views over the wide expanse of Luce Bay towards the Machars. There is a traditional public bar at the front where one ale, often Old Speckled Hen is available. The hotel has built up an enviable reputation for good food from bar meals through to a la carte and table d`hote lunches and dinners in the restaurant. There is also a sunny beer garden to the rear.

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FULL PINTS DRUMMORE lies a few miles to the south of Sandhead and has the Claswhannon Bar now offering real ale. "The Clash" is a long-established local-" in the village and also serves the adjacent caravan park of the same name. There is one ale on offer in the winter and usually two in summer often Deuchars and/or Belhaven IPA. The pub also has a pleasant outside decked area and a good range of food options at very reasonable cost. The Machars is usually taken as the peninsula to the south of the main A75 road between Glenluce and Newton Stewart. There are five outlets in this area and also two to the north of the road. GLENLUCE is now a quiet village since being by-passed by the trunk road from the ferry ports a few years ago. The Kelvin House Hotel has been selling real ale for some time now. There is one cask ale on offer, very often from

Houston Brewery. There is an excellent bar menu and a sunny and quiet Beer Garden to the rear. NEWTON STEWART has two local hotels serving cask ale:The Galloway Arms is a traditional town centre hotel. There is always one ale on offer, usually Belhaven IPA but due to increasing demand the owners are increasing this to three for the summer. Again,there is an excellent menu available featuring Angus beef and local venison. The Creebridge House Hotel is actually over the river in Minigaff and sits in its own grounds amid immaculate gardens. The hotel offers three ales in summer and wo in winter, usually from local breweries such as Sulwath and Houston. The hotel has an excellent restaurant with a menu largely based on local produce and also has a definite Scottish flavour. Local musicians can often be found in the bar on

CROWN HOTEL 9 NORTH CRESCENT PORTPATRICK WIGTOWNSHIRE DG9 8SX TEL 01776 810261 wwwcrownportpatrick.com crownportpatrick@btconnect.c For the last nine months we have been serving real ale in our hotel bar. Two different ales are available daily with 5 or 6 different ales appearing weekly. Please pop in the next time you find yourselves in Portpatrick. The Crown offers bar meals all day from 12-9 and our restaurant menu is available from 6pm daily.

Seafood is our speciality (AA awarded seafood pub of Scotland past winner).

We also offer daily specials alongside our extensive menus. We offer bed and breakfast and dinner packages with 5 of our 12 en-suite rooms offering sea views. Bed and breakfast is available from ÂŁ40 per person. 17

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The Waterside Bath Street, Largs Tel: 01475 672224

Two ever-changing REAL ALES now available Live Music Saturdays Poker Wednesdays

Karaoke Fridays

Open Mike night Sundays

Food available every day, except Monday 18


FULL PINTS a Sunday evening. The hotel is also well known as a first class wedding enue so is very busy during the summer months. WIGTOWN, Scotland`s National Book Town has another traditional small hotel, the Wigtown Ploughman selling real ale. Two ales are available in the summermonths and one in winter, usually from Scottish breweries. There is, yet again a very good menu using locally sourced produce. There is a small beer garden to yhe rear and Bladnoch Distillery (Scotland`s most southerly) is only a few minutes away. ISLE of WHITHORN is fortunate indeed to have the long established Steam Packet Inn. This hotel has a superb quayside setting and has up to five real ales constantly on offer with Timothy Taylor Landlord as the house beer and the others frequently of Scottish origin. Needless to say, there is excellent food on offer, with the Sunday buffet a particular favourite with locals and holiday makers alike A recent former Branch POTY, the Steam Packet has special accommodation deals for CAMRA members,too. The final two outlets are situated in the north of the county: NEW LUCE is on the road between Castle Kennedy on the A75 and Barrhill on the A714. The local hotel, the Kenmuir Arms,was closed for a short time but reopened last summer under new owners, The hotel offers two ales, usually from Scotland and has a traditional bar menu with home cooking at very reasonable cost It also boasts a well kept beer garden which leads down to the River Luce with its old stone bridge. The hotel is also adjacent to the Southern Upland Way and is well patronised as an overnight stop by walkers. BARGRENNAN is situated on the A714 19

Newton Stewart-Girvan road, close to Glentrool and the Forest Park, The House o` Hill has rapidly built a fine reputation both for the quality of ale served(two, usually from Scottish breweries) and its excellent menus. The hotel has been fully refurbished and offers quality accommodation to walkers on the Southern Upland Way and visitors to The forest Park. Beer Festivals are held twice a year featuring local musicians and a BBQ/hog roast in the adjacent Beer Garden. As you can see, Wigtownshire offers discerning ale drinkers a great choice of quality pubs, hotels and inns in which to indulge their habit! Please check opening hours in some of the country pubs, especially in winter months and midweek if you are planning to visit. Public transport is often available but can be both infrequent and inconvenient! See the map in the centre pages for locations. All the best.

Wigtwonshire Mini Festivals this April WIGTOWNSHIRE beer lovers can enjoy two mini festivals in April. The first is at the Blue Peter Hotel in Kirkcolm and runs from Friday, April 5 to Sunday, April 7. The following week, there is a ferstival at the House o’ Hill at Bargrennan from Friday, April 12 to Sunday, April 14. Admission to House o’ Hill festival is £4 and includes a souvenir glass and live entertainment.


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CAMRA

Shop

Rugby £22

Ladies T £11

Love your Pub T £11

Order online at https://shop.camra.org.uk/

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FULL PINTS By Bob Wallace

“I

’ve joined CAMRA. Now what is expected of me?”This is a question that crops up regularly when I speak with members and nonmembers alike. My answer is always to simply point out that the only expectation should be that he, or she, support the aims of the organisation and, whenever possible, drinks real ale. CAMRA, like any other voluntary organisation, completes its work mainly through the contribution of many unpaid individuals. Let’s have a look at some ways members get involved. Starting with the easy stuff. Branch socials: within our area these are held monthly in both North and East Ayrshire and, occasionally in South Ayrshire & Wigtownshire. All that you have to do is come for a pint, bring your friends and talk. Branch brewery visits: in addition to our recent trip to Strathaven Ales, which was a thank you to the beer festival workers, trips have been arranged to Fyne Ales (Cairndow), Houston brewery (near Paisley), Sulwath brewery (Castle Douglas) and Tin Pot brewery (Bridge of Allan) in recent times. If you haven’t been on one of these outings you are really missing out. Our next one will be to Traquair brewery, near Peebles, to present the Beer of the Festival award. Branch pub crawls: a great way to take part in a CAMRA event as you can pick and choose whether to visit one or two pubs or take in the whole course. Why not come along to our annual ‘Festive Crawl’ which will be held in Troon on December 28, from 1pm. Branch meetings: held around the area, 24

at least bi-monthly, these meetings are the means to report to members on the committee’s work and plans. Branch committee: chairman Lindsay Grant is supported by a dozen members. who do all the tasks required to support real ale and the pubs that sell it. Five of the current office bearers joined CAMRA in recent years. We need the support of all our members, however involved you decide to be. I try to speak to many of our members each year at the beer festival and know that you all have other interests and commitments on your time.

Ayrshire and Wigtownshire CAMRA

Find us on Facebook


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He’s the man in the know!

S

ometimes I think we can make our love of beer more complicated than it needs to be. I recently became aware of something called beer sommeliers. Now a sommelier in a five-star restaurant where people will, for better worse, pay hundreds of pounds for a bottle of wine is one thing. But is that really the way we want beer to go? And what should we consider ‘premium’ beer worth paying extra for? A quick look on-line will find beers, mostly American, selling for £100 for a 750ml bottle. Some have some interesting gimmicks, like the barley being germinated in space (OK, space beer is really cool and probably worth every penny) or the water transported as ice from the antarctic but most are just, well… beer. That worries me. For me, beer is egalitarian or it is nothing at all. Beer’s role in society is as a great social leveller. All the best pubs are those with a clientele that spans all social groups. I have often been asked if I am a beer expert. I make it clear that I am nothing of the sort. I am a beer enthusiast, nothing more. I know, for example, what a stout is supposed to taste like in comparison to say, an old ale. But I have not, nor do I think I need, a deep knowledge of hops, malts, yeasts and 26

an encyclopedic knowledge the brewing process. A process, incidentally, which is far more complex than hat for making wine. I don’t think any of that is in any way necessary to enjoy great beer. So are these highly priced beers any better than the stuff we pay £3 a pint for? I’m guessing they’re not but as Full Pints doesn’t have a research budget I can only go within my own limited experience and say that that anything I have tried from the ‘premium’ end of the market has been rather disappointing. Essentially I have never had any beer out of champagne bottle that has tasted any better than would had it been bottleconditioned in a 500ml or pint bottle or, of course, sold from a cask. There are also breweries where the entire product lines are positioned as ‘premium’ and prices are charged accordingly. I don’t know any pubs where I can regularly buy beers from such breweries. Yet while it would be nice to have those beers more widely available, I don’t really feel I’m missing out on anything. For every ‘premium’ product I cannot buy there are scores of regular beers that keep me more than satisfied. It concerns me greatly that beer being positioned as ‘premium’, leads people away from what we all know to be the best beer around, a well served pint of cask ale. But perhaps I should not allow myself to be too troubled. We have, after all, seen this sort of thing before. Remember the 1980s? Premium pricing for Bud, Red Stripe, Schlitz and something called Crucial Brew. Perhaps the premium fad will be over before you can say “style over substance.”


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steampacketinn@btconnect.com

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At Sulwath Brewers, we give you the chance to see the craft of brewing in action, and to taste our speciality ales, at our fully-licensed brewery tap visitor centre.

Open Mon-Sat 10am until 5pm Off-sales also available

The Brewery, King Street Castle Douglas DG7 1DT www.sulwathbrewers.co.uk

Telephone: 01556 504525 28


Full Pints Volume 15 Issue 1