FULLP NTS Ayrshire & Wigtownshire CAMRA Branch
BEST CAMRA MAGAZINE IN BRITAIN
AYRSHIRE REAL ALE FESTIVAL
6th - 8th October TROON CONCERT HALL see page 14 for details
Ayrs hir e
PUB OF THE YEAR
townshi Wig re
RA AM C
Ayrs hir e
townshi Wig re RA AM C
WIGTOWNSHIRE Pub of the Year
THE Y OF E
Scotland and Northern Ireland Region
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• FIVE K
Family-run village inn located on the harbour in the picturesque fishing village of Isle of Whithorn
F W H IT H O
OUR IN-HOUSE FIVE KINGDOMS BREWERY NOW PRODUCING A RANGE OF QUALITY REAL ALES
⅓ pint beer taster platters available for same price as a pint. Eight cask ales and a selection of real cider available. SUMMER OPENING HOURS: Mon-Sat: 11am-11pm; Sun: 12 noon-11pm WINTER OPENING HOURS: Fri-Mon 11am-11pm; Tues-Thurs 11am-2pm & 6pm-11pm
Outside seating area on the harbourside. Children and Dogs Welcome. Lunches 12-2pm. Snack Menu 2-6pm (Fri-Sun). Evening Meals 6.30-9pm. Sunday Carvery, 12-3pm: 3 Courses £12 Thursday Steak Night: Galloway Sirloin £12 Selection of local seafood dishes always available All food freshly prepared on the premises. Daily chef ’s specials using the finest fresh produce and local seafood.
2014/15 Countryfile Magazine Rural Pub of the Year
Comfortable en suite accommodation overlooking the harbour From £30 pppn B&B. Special accommodation offers to CAMRA members.
For bookings: visit our website, or call Alastair on 01988 500334 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Festival time again
by Stuart McMahon, Editor
Volume 18, Issue 3 Ayrshire and Wigtownshire CAMRA Branch
Summer, if I recall, was a couple of days in early June this year – certainly not the ‘scorcher’ that many media sources were predicting earlier in the year. And sadly, that has meant not being able to sit out very often in a beer garden to enjoy the odd liquid refreshment.
Chairman: Graeme Perry Email: email@example.com Secretary: Kenneth Middleditch Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Minutes of Branch Meetings are available to members from the Secretary.
But unlike many organisations that stop for a summer recess our CAMRA branch is active 12 months of the year. Since the last edition of Full Pints, we’ve had presentations for our Branch Pub, Brewery and Beer of the Year; we’ve had a trip to Arran, we’ve had our monthly social meetups, we’ve hosted a Scotland & Northern Ireland CAMRA Branches meeting, we’ve had several meetings to progress the arrangements for this year’s Ayrshire Real Ale Festival in October, and we’ve also enjoyed sharing time with our friends in the pubs over a pint or two.
Treasurer: Lindsay Grant Email: email@example.com Editor: Stuart McMahon, 93 Montfode Drive, Ardrossan KA22 7PH Tel: 01294 603848 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone, young or old, has a skill or talent that would be beneficial to CAMRA – if you enjoy and support our beer festival, or appreciate the wider availability of real ale, please consider attending some of our social events or branch meetings, or maybe you could offer a few hours of help at the festival – you might even get some free beer for your efforts! You can even bring some friends along to keep you company. And if you’re not a member of CAMRA, then there’s no better time to join than at the beer festival, where you’ll get several additional benefits (including a Good Beer Guide and entry to a prize draw to win an overnight B&B stay) which make it even better value for money.
Advertising: Mike Tomlinson Email: email@example.com Advertising Rates (2016): Full Page: £80 ½ Page: £45 Yearly rates (in advance): £290 / £160 Websites: www.awcamra.org.uk www.ayrshirebeerfestival.co.uk
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Volunteers at the Ayrshire Real Ale Festival in Troon
The next edition of Full Pints will be published in December 2016. Articles, photos and other contributions should be sent to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday 18th November 2016.
Social Media: Ayrshire & Wigtownshire CAMRA Ayrshire Real Ale Festival @awcamra @troonbeerfest CMYK / .eps
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Full Pints is designed by Montfode Design, www.md93.co.uk and printed by Brown Brothers Printers, Irvine, www.brown-bros.com. At least 2,500 copies are published every 3 months and distributed to all Real Ale outlets in our region. The views expressed in this publication are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the editor or of the Campaign for Real Ale Ltd. © Campaign for Real Ale Ltd 3
CHAMPION BEER OF SCOTLAND 2016
At the Scottish Real Ale Festival (SRAF) held in Edinburgh in July, a well-established ale that has been brewed since 2005 won the Champion Beer of Scotland competition. Larbert-based Tryst Brewery walked away with the top prize for their RAJ IPA, a 5.5% ale which is described as being a full-bodied traditional IPA loaded with hops. Having previously been a winner in its own class on several occasions, this was the first time that RAJ has claimed the overall title. Owner and head brewer John McGarva was understandably delighted and over the moon at winning the title. He is pictured above right receiving the award from Ray Turpie, CAMRA's Scotland and Northern Ireland Branches Director. The silver award was won by Ayr Rabbie's Porter, and last year's overall Scottish champion, Cairngorm Black Gold, took the third place. Also at SRAF, Castle Douglas-based Sulwath Brewery won the Champion Porter of Scotland competition with Black Galloway. This 4.4% robust porter uses an abundance of Maris Otter and chocolate malts to give it its rich flavours.
CHAMPION BEER OF BRITAIN 2016
At the other end of the country, the Champion Beer of Britain (CBoB) competition held at the Great British Beer Festival held in Olympia, London in early August, was won by a speciality beer for the first time. Binghams Vanilla Stout, which is brewed in Ruscombe, Berkshire, fought off competition from Old Dairy Snow Top which came second and Tring Death or Glory which came third. The winning stout is a 5 per cent Dark Stout infused with vanilla and dark malts to create a smooth and dark beer. CAMRAâ€™s CBoB Director Nik Antona said: "This year all the judges commented on how high quality all the beers were in the final stages of the competition and what a wide range of styles and beers they had to try and choose between. Bingham's Vanilla Stout was packed full of comforting flavours and I'm sure it will be a popular Champion Beer Choice. It's great to see a speciality beer win the award for the first time in the history of the competition and our congratulations go to the brewery." The only Scottish brewery to come away with an award this year was Alloa-based Williams Bros, with their 4.2% Williams Black which won the Champion Mild category. 4
FULLP NTS AUTUMN 2016
IS THE BREWERY BUBBLE ABOUT TO BURST? In the increasingly crowded Scottish marketplace for real ales, it is unfortunate that two well-known breweries have ceased trading over the summer. Loch Ness Brewery in Drumnadrochit went into liquidation in early June, and Houston Brewery, which latterly was located in Hillington, Glasgow, has also closed down. It is believed that the brewing kit from there has been sold to a company down south. But, despite those two closures, the number of new breweries opening continues to rise. Indeed, at the Scottish Real Ale Festival this year, there were quite a few beers available from breweries that had only opened in the past few months. As has been promoted before, your editor has been trying to keep track of all the current breweries on a Google map, and over the summer it has had a bit of a makeover to simplify the updating of the content, and it now has its own easily remembered domain name: www.brewedinscotland.co.uk.
By my reckoning there are now 124 active breweries, 15 that I’m unsure of their current status, and 6 that have submitted planning applications. If you have any information on new breweries or updates to the existing listings on the site, please send them to email@example.com
AYR BEER FESTIVAL The 2nd Ayr Beer festival is happening on 1st-3rd September, just after this edition of Full Pints will be available in its printed form. But for those that read it online, there’s just time to publicise it. It will be held in the Glen Park Hotel, Racecourse Road, Ayr and is just a 5-minute walk from Ayr railway station. The Scottish International Air Show is also being held on the Friday and Saturday – you may even see some of the planes flying from the hotel! Opening times are 5pm-10pm on Thursday 1st, and from midday to 10pm on Friday and Saturday. 20+ ales will be available along with some real cider. Food will be available, and there will be live music on Saturday. Bottles of the Ayr Brewing Company’s beers will also be available to purchase, as will their new canned offering – Beelzebub - which is a 6.6% American Pale Ale brewed with El Dorado, Chinook and Mount Hood Hops, and then dry hopped with Amarillo. 5
Our range of Award-winning Real Ales includes:
Hand Crafted, Award Winning, Traditional Cask Conditioned Ale Brewed in the Heart of Burns Country All ales are available in Firkins (72 Pints), Pins (36 Pints) and Mini Casks (8.8 Pints) Ayr Brewing Company, 5 Racecourse Road, Ayr KA7 2DG Telephone: 01292 263891 Fax: 01292 830450 Mobile: 07834 922142 www.ayrbrewingcompany.com 6
FULLP NTS AUTUMN 2016
Located in the village of Dundonald, The Auchans is a family run Restaurant - Bar with a fresh modern twist, and a friendly relaxed atmosphere oozing charm & character. We have a great
29 MAIN STREET DUNDONALD, KA2 9HH Telephone: 01563 851472 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.theauchans.co.uk
selection of beer & wine including 2 cask ales. The Auchans has been tastefully restored with original stone walls & real oak wood beams. Owned by the Kerr family, from the village, The Auchans is the 2nd addition to the business. The 1st, The Waterfront in Ayr, opened in 2012 is a relaxed, stylish restaurant- bar situated
for details of our latest offers & promotions www.facebook.com/theauchansdundonald
overlooking the River Ayr.
The Waterside Bath Street, Largs Tel: 01475 672224
Two Real Ales from Kelburn available
Mondays - Poker Wednesdays - Poker Fridays - Karaoke
Saturdays - Live Music Sundays - Open Mic Night
Food available every day except Monday 7
Branch Pub of the Year Presentation As announced in the last edition of Full Pints, The Steam Packet Inn, Isle of Whithorn won our overall Branch Pub of the Year competition. So, on Saturday 11th June a bus was booked to take us down to one of Scotland’s most southerly villages. After all the pickups were completed, the first short stop was relatively close to home, at the Hunter’s Lodge in Crosshill, where we had the choice of two Houston ales – Killellan and Black & Tan, along with some tasty, and greatly appreciated, bacon rolls. Onwards to the Isle of Whithorn where we arrived at The Steam Packet Inn just after 1pm and were treated to a hearty lunch from Alastair Scoular. Eight real ales were available, including four from the in-house Five Kingdoms Brewery, including the impressive Dark Storm Stout (6.9% ABV), Dr Rudi's Blonde (4.2% ABV) and Captain Morrison's IPA (5.5% ABV) Fed and watered, the presentations for winning Wigtownshire Pub of the Year and the overall Branch Pub of the Year were made by Allan Dyson, local CAMRA representative, and Graeme Perry, Branch Chairman, respectively (both pictured below left). As has been said on many occasions, it is a credit to Alastair and his staff that the Steam Packet Inn is so popular and can sustain so many ales in his remote location. (See page 32 for an independent review of the Steam Packet Inn) Having enjoyed the hospitality at the Steam Packet, we said our goodbyes and headed up the road to Garlieston to visit the recently refurbished Harbour Inn. This little pub has one real ale on tap and is usually either a house ale called Harbour House Gold (brewed by Carlsberg-Tetley) or
FULLP NTS AUTUMN 2016
Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. A nice little beer garden is at the rear of the pub, and it is increasingly popular for its food offerings. After leaving there, we headed up to Newton Stewart and visited the Cree Inn and Creebridge House Hotel. Both venues were busy with customers. The Cree Inn had Theakstons Single Malt Ale available whilst the Creebridge had Hardys & Hansons Bitter and Greene King IPA Gold, along with several old Dutch MG classic cars parked outside! A most enjoyable day with a variety of ales. Logistics mean that many of the Wigtownshire outlets are in remote locations and poorly served by public transport, so it is good to try and support them when possible.
BRANCH BREWERY OF THE YEAR PRESENTATION A small group of members travelled up to Barrhead on 23rd July for our Brewery of the Year presentation to Kelburn Brewery. A short walk from the railway station, the family-run brewery is one of the town’s best kept secrets. Owned by long-standing CAMRA member Derek Moore, and assisted by Margaret, Karen and Ross, the brewery has won many awards since it started back in 2002, most recently with Jaguar coming second in last year’s Champion Beer of Britain competition, and Dark Moor winning the 2014 Champion Beer of Scotland. Derek gave the assembled party a short talk about the brewery before giving a tour of the facilities, and had a small selection of his ales available for us to drink, including their new 3.4% ABV summer ale, Sunriser. Derek, Ross and Karen are pictured receiving their award from Branch Editor, Stuart McMahon. After the presentation the group split up with some folk going to watch a Partick Thistle football match (they won), some going to the Cross Stobs Inn, and others going to a new outlet near the station, the Kelburn Bar. After that, it was back to Glasgow and a quick visit to The Lauriston Bar on Bridge Street, before heading to the top of the town (via the Drum & Monkey) to meet birthday boy, Kenneth Middleditch, who was in the State Bar with friends. Kenneth’s group moved on to the new Hippo Taproom on Sauchiehall Street, someone couldn’t find it and wandered around the city centre, whilst those of the original presentation group headed back for a train home! Another good day out. 9
INDEPENDENT BREWERS TAKE BACK CRAFT BEER SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, has launched an initiative to promote ‘Assured Independent British Craft Breweries’ in an effort to provide greater clarity for consumers looking to purchase beer from genuinely independent craft breweries in the UK.
ten beer drinkers are unsure what the term means.
With over 850 brewing members in the UK, SIBA’s initiative aims to champion the huge range of fantastic, full-flavoured beers from truly independent local breweries which have captured the excitement of the beer drinking public. As the ‘craft beer’ category has moved into mainstream retailing, SIBA says beer drinkers need more information to help them make informed choices.
In order to qualify for the stamp of approval, breweries must be truly independent of any larger controlling brewing interest and pledge to abide by SIBA’s Manual of Good Brewing Practice, which seeks to ensure quality throughout the independently brewed beer market.
Market research commissioned by SIBA shows that 46% of beer drinkers, by far the biggest group, regard craft beer as ‘made by small brewers rather than large corporations’, although one in
35% regard craft breweries as ‘artisanal’ with 22% associating the term with ‘small’ and 14% with ‘local’. SIBA claims that all its full brewing members fall into these definitions.
Over 150 brewers, including Fiona McEachern from Loch Lomond Brewery (winner of SIBA’s Champion Cask Ale competition), has already actively pledged her support for the scheme. Fiona said “Loch Lomond are
very happy to be supporting this initiative as we believe it is hugely
ALLOWAY BEER FESTIVAL
important for beer drinkers to be able to see whether the beer they are drinking is brewed by an independent craft brewer, or whether it is actually being produced by a global brewer. We think some consumers are being misled into thinking the beer they’re drinking is a small-batch, hand-crafted product, when actually it’s being produced on a mass scale.”
To give consumers a quick and easy way to identify the independent craft brewers near them SIBA has launched indiecraftbrewers.co.uk which includes a UK wide interactive map, making it quick and easy to get more information on some of the beer and breweries near them.
by Douglas Graham
Cambusdoon Sports Club, home of Ayr Cricket Club, held their first Real Ale Festival on Saturday 4th June to coincide with the first "local derby" Ayr v Prestwick cricket match for a number of years. 14 beers were on tap from all over the UK. They included a one-off brew from Ayr Brewery in memory of long time club member Ian Patterson. Two ciders were also available. The club usually has one beer available so the extra choice proved to be very popular with both members and guests. The beer was in excellent condition despite some unusually hot weather Ayr was experiencing. Good food to soak up the beer was provided by the club and the club's main bar kept the ale drinkers' partners happy! The cricket finished with a narrow victory for the home team. With spectators and members returning to the clubhouse after the match, an enjoyable evening was had by all. I'm sure this festival will become a regular on the local scene so keep an eye on the diary page in Full Pints early next year for details of the 2017 festival. 10
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Blackwaterfoot Beer Festival Saturday 9th July saw the Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot, Arran hold their annual and increasingly popular Beer Festival. Around 16 CAMRA members travelled over on the ferry in murky conditions. At the beginning of the week prior, the weather forecast was ominous with high winds and rain being predicted. As such, the layout of the festival was revamped to allow all the stalls and bars to be under one big tented area as opposed to it being spread about in smaller tents. On the day, the forecast had changed to have early sunshine and light winds with some heavy rain to fall around lunchtime – which it did for about 45 minutes. Fifteen ales from around the country were available and most were in decent condition. Caledonian Brewery from Edinburgh also had a small bar with bottles and keg versions of some of their ales. A selection of local musicians entertained the crowds, with food being available in the hotel and the ‘zorbing’ in the swimming pool was a popular attraction for youngsters! Most of the CAMRA folks got a bus mid-afternoon down to Lamlash where they popped in to the Pier Head Tavern and enjoyed Arran Blonde and Timothy Taylor's Landlord. Then it was a short hop on the bus back to Brodick to the Ormidale Hotel where Arran Blonde was also available along with Arran Guid Ale before getting the last ferry home. Thanks to Fraser and his team at the Kinloch for organising the festival.
ARRAN BREWERY UPDATES
Arran has continued to receive setbacks through vandalism at its Dreghorn, Ayrshire site. The most recent break-ins back in June caused over £5,000 of damage and an autoclave and HB Munich branded glasses were stolen. However, despite earlier threats to relocate, Full Pints understands that the proposed bottling plant at Dreghorn will be getting installed there soon, as the equipment has recently arrived in the UK. A second round of crowdfunding, which was postponed from last year, should happen in the near future. This will allow the company to progress with its expansion plans. They hope to employ around an additional 20 staff over the next 12 months as the bottling line comes on stream – bottling line operators, engineers and sales staff will be amongst the positions available. 11
WELLINGTONS BAR Traditional Bar ~ Traditional Ales Traditional Music • Basement bar within yards of beautiful Ayr beach • Three handpumps serving quality ales usually from Fyne Ales, Kelburn, Loch Lomond, Harviestoun and Born in the Borders • Renowned for our promotion of traditional music – sessions every Sunday night and monthly Sunday afternoons • Longest running Quiz night every Wednesday • DJ every Saturday • Small parties very welcome • 35ml measures
17 Wellington Square, Ayr KA7 1EZ Tel: 01292 262794 Email: email@example.com www.welliesbar.weebly.com
inning Real A dW r a and bottles les s in ca ks Aw
for more details call us on 01357 520419 or visit our website www.strathavenales.com 12
We'd love to hear from breweries and pubs with any news snippets, events, awards etc. Send your info to firstname.lastname@example.org
FULLP NTS AUTUMN 2016
OUTLETS NEWS In Largs, Wetherspoon's The Paddle Steamer was opened at the end of June by the paddle steamer Waverley's captain, and is proving popular with a good selection of ales. The window seats in particular allow a fantastic view over the Clyde and its sunsets - and occasionally also provide a view of the real paddle steamer tied alongside Largs pier! The Auchans in Dundonald, formerly The Old Castle, has opened after an extensive refurbishment, as a bar/ restaurant but usually has two real ales available, one of which is from Ayr Brewing Company. The former Wigtown Ploughman in Wigtown which has reopened as Craft had two real ales for a short period but has now removed them. The Red Lion in Prestwick also had real ale for a short period but hasn't had it available for some time now, despite the two handpumps being available.
The Goldberry Arms in Kilmarnock has removed its handpump and no longer sells ale. The new Buzzworks outlet in Kilwinning, The Corner House, is due to open on 1st September and is going to have cask ales available. Kilmarnock's Braehead Bar held a Beer & BBQ afternoon in July which, despite an unseasonal drop of rain(!), saw a good turnout of CAMRA members. Top of the Hops, the town's excellent bottled ale and brewing supplies shop, also provided a small sample stall. The Garnock Community Social Club in Kilbirnie is now open 7 days a week with food served at weekends: Mon/Tues 6-10pm; Wed 4-10pm; Thurs 6-11pm; Fri 2pm - 1am; Sat 1pm - 1am; and Sun 1pm - 8pm.
Similarly, the Hunting Lodge in Kilmarnock has stopped selling ale for the time being. And the former Eagle Tavern in Prestwick has been gutted and reopened as 7 Saints Bar & Burger Kitchen with cocktails but no real ale. The Hunter's Lodge in Crosshill has closed down.
Summer BBQ & Beer Day at the Braehead Bar, Kilmarnock
DOUBLE PRESENTATION FOR AYR BREWING COMPANY On Tuesday 23rd August, not one, but two presentations were made in the Glen Park Hotel, Ayr to Ayr Brewing Company. Back at our AGM in March, Rabbie's Porter was chosen as our Branch Beer of the Year. The second presentation was also for Rabbie's Porter, which won silver in the Champion Beer of Scotland (CBOS) competition held at the Scottish Real Ale Festival in Edinburgh in July. Our congratulations go to Anthony Valenti and Paul Rossi on receiving the awards. Watch out for a brand new beer from Ayr at the Ayrshire Real Ale Festival - details are still top secret!
Anthony Valenti receiving the branch award from Graeme Perry, Branch Chairman and the CBOS Award from Ray Turpie, CAMRA Scotland & Northern Ireland Director 13
AYRSHIRE REAL ALE FESTIVAL – PREVIEW The highlight of the Ayrshire & Wigtownshire Branch year is the 17th Ayrshire Real Ale Festival in Troon, which will run from 6th - 8th October and once again will be featuring over 150 ales over two bars, and about 25 ciders.
Catering will once again be provided by Brownings, with some additional options on the menu this year, but fear not, the Kilmarnock Pie will still be available!
Thurs 6th Oct
12 noon (CAMRA members’ preview) 2pm – 11pm (Public) Fri 7th / Sat 8th Oct 11am – 11pm
AYRSHIRE REAL ALE FESTIVAL
ADMISSION (over 18’s only): Public: £6 CAMRA: £4
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& W IG T O W
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Two bars featuring over 150 real ales from around the UK plus real cider & perry
Main Festival Sponsor
Thursday only - under 25’s: £4
Thurs 6th – Sat 8th October 2016 Troon Concert Hall
Doors open at 12 noon on Thursday 6th October if you are a CAMRA member (£4), and from 2pm for nonmembers (£6). 11am-11pm on Friday and Saturday. Under 25's are also £4 on Thursday.
Last year in our survey you told us that you'd like to see 1/3rd pint measures available. We've listened and all the ales and cider will be available in 1/3rd pints as well as the usual halfs and full pints. Prices are
Thursday is our 'quiet' day, whilst Friday and Saturday have live music. Friday night's band is Slider, whilst Irvine & District Pipe Band are back by popular request on Saturday afternoon, and Wildcard will play on Saturday night.
Any new members who join CAMRA at the festival, in addition to the usual package of benefits, will also be entered into a prize draw to win a B&B stay at the Ken Bridge Hotel, New Galloway. Thanks go to all our sponsors - too many to list here, but they are all listed on the festival website.
The beer lists should be published on the festival website mid-September. The committee has seen the draft list, and it's looking good!
based on strength and are listed on the festival website.
This year the second bar in the Walker Hall will be called the ‘Birdie Bar’ featuring appropriately themed ales!
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OTHER BEER FESTIVALS
The number of beer festivals being held around the country has never been higher â€“ it is impossible to visit them all, but it shows there is a real resurgence in people enjoying beer. It would be great to see some of the many younger patrons at these festivals joining CAMRA and encouraging others to enjoy cask ales. A few upcoming festivals are as follows: Sulwath Brewery in Castle Douglas are holding their autumn festival on Saturday 27th August.
The Alloa Beer Festival, run by Forth Valley CAMRA in Alloa Town Hall will be held on 28th/29th October.
The Glen Park Hotel, Ayr will be holding the 2nd Ayr Beer Festival on 1st - 3rd September â€“ same time as the Scottish International Air Show. Around 20 guest ales will be available.
Just over the Scottish Border, but well patronised by Scottish CAMRA members, the Carlisle Beer Festival organsied by Solway CAMRA is on 3rd - 5th November, this year in a new location: The Venue, Portland Place, Carlisle. Only a 1-hour train journey from Glasgow!
The independently run Cove & Kilcreggan Beer Festival which helps raise funds for the community hall is on Sat 24th Sept. Train or bus to Gourock, then a short ferry ride over to Kilcreggan and a pleasant walk to the hall. Another small independent festival is being organised by The Grapes, Stranraer on 14-16th October with at least six ales and 2 ciders being available. There will also be some live music.
The 17th CAMRA Northern Ireland Beer and Cider Festival will run from the Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th November 2016 as usual in the Ulster Hall, Belfast. Finally, the 2nd Kilbirnie Beer Festival will be held at the Garnock Community Social Club, Kilbirnie from 25-26th November. Times tbc.
For a comprehensive listing of most Scottish beer festivals, including many privately run one-day festivals, visit the beer festival calendar hosted by online beer retailer Alesela: www.alesela.co.uk/blog/?post_type=tribe_events
Ayr Beer Festival
Kilbirnie Beer Festival 15
• Real Food • Real Beer • Real Atmosphere 27 Main Street, Kilmaurs, KA3 2RQ Tel: 01563 538805 www.westontavern.co.uk
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HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO RUN A BEER FESTIVAL?
by Bob Wallace
When The Scottish Real Ale Festival had a vacancy for a festival organiser, after the sixth such event in 2008, I just happened to have past experience, time on my hands and a head full of ideas. I duly attended my first committee meeting and with colleagues from as far apart as Inverness and Cambridge started work on putting together the 2009 SRAF. SRAF differs from most other CAMRA beer festivals in that it is, as far as I know, the only one that only supplies Scottish real ales. That is not due to any prejudices but simply reflects that the event is organised by all of Scotland’s CAMRA branches with the aim of both showcasing and supporting the country’s real ale and its breweries. The festival had, since it was launched in 2003, a prestigious and central venue in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms in George Street but had the drawback of being located in two rooms on the first floor. The first programme included a map showing Scotland’s 30 real ale breweries and all but two of them were included in the beer list. By 2009 there were 47 breweries and the range and variety of their ales had grown significantly. My first decision as organiser was to make it clear to all that, despite the fact that the festival continues to be held in Edinburgh, it is very much the SCOTTISH real ale festival. This was achieved by asking all ten local branches to contribute a page to the programme telling SRAF’s customers a little about local
branch activities and giving pub and brewery information from all corners of the country. That was extended the following year by having a competition based on Scotland’s islands. We had beers from eight island breweries and drinkers could win a trip to Orkney and other prizes by trying beer from six different islands. After two years as Festival Organiser I passed the mantle to younger blood and continued as committee member responsible for sponsorship and advertising and for membership recruitment at the festival. 2011 saw a change of venue as the Assembly Rooms had closed for refurbishment. After considering other venues, both within Edinburgh and in other cities, we moved to Adam House, an Edinburgh University building, in Chambers Street on the south side. It’s busy location in student territory was offset by the major drawback of being spread across three rooms on first, second and third floors. It was a nightmare for staff, especially during set-up, but proved popular with the public as we sold out late on the Saturday afternoon.
Once again though, we had to look for another home as Adam House decided to follow the example of the Assembly Rooms and refurbish. We returned to one of the other locations that we had looked at before and, after a long negotiation, decided on a large music venue about four miles west of the city centre, Edinburgh Corn Exchange. On a number of bus routes and a few hundred yards from Slateford railway station, it had many positives. For setting up a beer festival it was almost perfect. It was large enough to accommodate everything on the ground floor, had easy access for all deliveries and a fork-lift that we could use to move all stillage, bar scaffolding, beer casks and vast quantities of cooling equipment. It could also hold more than twice the number of people that we could previously accommodate and allow us to provide tables and seating for many of them. continued...
Bob Wallace, SRAF Organiser, was on hand to welcome the 3,500th Scottish member of CAMRA who joined at the 2010 Scottish Real Ale Festival held in Edinburgh. Photo: Bill Wilkinson.
Our biggest problem proved to be persuading the venue’s management that we could be trusted to serve alcohol to over 3,000 drinkers without the need of pop concert security. That meant that on the day before we first opened to the public the venue provided about ten security staff to supervise a beer judging competition. Having just completed the fifth SRAF to be held in the Corn Exchange we now feel that they fully accept that we knew best how a beer festival should be run. I stood down from the committee after the 2014 festival but have continued to manage the membership activities. I will therefore complete this article by giving my view of the 2016 SRAF from an almost outsider’s perspective. Since moving to the Corn Exchange many improvements have been made:
Sponsors now have the added benefit of having their support acknowledged on the surround screens around the hall.
The venue’s ‘pop concert’ catering has been replaced by proper beer festival food, including an excellent chicken jalfrezi!
After not realising that it existed in 2012, the outside area has been added to the licence and has been used every single day. Four weekends without rain in Edinburgh. What are the chances?
Seating has been expanded year on year and in 2016 the adjacent overspill hall added more tables for about 150 customers.
Above all, from the 47 Scottish breweries in 2009 there has been an
enormous growth to over 120 active ones now. From the 28 represented in 2009, SRAF 2016 had beers from 68. My first four beers were not only ones that I had not tried previously but were from new suppliers that I had not even heard about. Cross Borders, Edinbrew, Ferry and Rothes. My decision to take the ‘job’ back in 2008 was one of the best of my life. I have made many great friends, got to know many fantastic brewers, recruited hundreds of CAMRA members and met visitors from all over the world. The stovie lover from Japan, brewers from Sweden and Russia, tourists from every corner of Europe, most states of the USA and, best of all, the many new Scots who have moved here from all across the world and come to love our real ales. See you all at the Corn Exchange in July 2017.
2016 Scottish Real Ale Festival, Corn Exchange, Edinburgh. Photo: Bill Purnell, Forth Valley CAMRA. 18
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IGHT AY N M D N MO UIZ 9P Q K LY WEE ALE T GUES ED S E RV F O O DP M D A I L Y 7 TILL
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FRASERS BAR Millport
Find us just up the road from the pier
Quality Cask Ales Served All Year Meals Served Every Day 12 noon-2.30pm / 5.30pm-7.30pm
“Island Escape” self-catering 4-star luxury accommodation Book at: www.cottages4u.co.uk Ref: 30200
7 Cardiff Street, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae KA28 0AS Tel: 01475 530518 19
The resurgence of Scottish cider The term “craft” has crept into the drinks sector vocabulary as a cover all description to describe the products brought about by the massive growth in the field of new, small scale brewers. Over the past decade the explosion in numbers of new “craft” breweries starting up in business has captured the imagination of a new generation of drinkers looking for something exciting and different. Something similar is happening in the world of cider, albeit on a smaller scale and somewhat more scattered geographically. While the number of new cider makers is but a fraction of those setting up a new brewery, they are more likely to be producing cider for the love of it first and foremost. The term “craft” hardly does them justice. I prefer to think of them as “artisans”.
Traditional cider areas such as Herefordshire, Somerset and Devon along with the more diverse areas famed for using eating and cooking apples to produce cider, such as Kent, East Anglia and Scotland, are all benefiting from this resurgence in cider-making, usually carried out by keen individuals with more than a passing interest in the heritage of the drink. Much of this new wave are producing very small quantities only for local consumption, the sort of thing you'd purchase at the local farmers' market rather than find in your local pub. By now you've probably caught up with me and wondering how Scotland has crept into the list? What a lot of people aren't aware of is Scotland's rich cider past. Historically, there are several areas of Scotland which were once home to apple and pear orchards. Eight hundred years ago the estates and monasteries of the Scottish border region were awash with large orchards.
by Bill Wilkinson
These stretched as far as Glasgow and the Clyde valley. Some parts of modern day Glasgow, such as the Gorbals, Govan and the Merchant City were once home to vast orchards. In fact the Merchant City is largely built on the site of a huge, old pear orchard. It is some of these old estates that present day cider makers turn to for their apple crops. Some old orchards have been left to nature and the apples they produce simply fall to the ground to rot. Not any more as enterprising cider makers are busily seeking out these old orchards and their rare fruit trees and either buying up the surplus fruit or taking on the maintenance of the trees. Probably the longest established (founded 2008) and certainly the largest of the new wave of Scottish cider makers is Thistly Cross Cider, now based at their new cider barn in West Barns near Dunbar in East Lothian. They source local apples for their Jaggy Thistle, the only real cider they produce.
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Their output of fruit added ciders is so large, even exporting to the USA, they can't source enough home grown apples and resort to using imported apple juice concentrate for most of their range. Another borders cider maker based near Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway is Waulkmill Cider. Owner Chris Harrison also scours the region for his supplies of apples and pears and in 2013 he produced the first Scottish perry in over a century. He is also planting new trees with an eye to the future. Meanwhile in Glasgow, John Hancox set up Clyde Cider in 2015 and has produced the first urban west of Scotland cider since medieval times. One of John's main interests is the promotion of fruit tree planting (www.scottishfruittrees. com). Again, John seeks out windfall crops of apples for his cider making. He casts his net some distance as he has been able to obtain enough apples from the Edinburgh area to produce a special edition MorningCider, named after the capital city suburb of Morningside. Cider making in Scotland doesn't stop at Glasgow either. The Carse of Gowrie area of Perthshire was famous in Victorian times for its apples, pears and plums. Today it is one of the UK's biggest soft fruit growing regions. The village of Errol sits not to far from the banks of the River Tay and has been the home of the Cairn o' Mohr Winery
since 1987. A recent addition to their range of fruit juices and wines has been cider. They don't have far to go for their apples although one of their special, single varietal ciders (King Jimmy's) involves using a rowing boat to gather the apples from a clutch of trees from an island in the middle of a lake on the local golf course! Finally, we head north. Mention Loch Ness and the first thing that enters most peopleâ€™s minds is the monster. However, by the shores of the loch the village of Drumnadrochit is home to Loch Ness Cider. Set up in 2014 by Karen Wotherspoon, a keen cider drinker who grew up in Devon using a blend of Highland apples from the Black Isle (even further north than Loch Ness) there are plans here to plant new cider apple tress using varieties that are known to produce fruit in the Highland climate.
There are at least another four or five Scottish cider makers I could have mentioned. All have the same enthusiasm to reinstate Scotland on the cider map in however small a way. One bright spot on the future horizon comes from the Scottish Government's own statistics. In 2014 Scottish National Heritage commissioned a National Orchard Inventory. It found that there were orchards in 31 out of Scotland's 32 local authority areas with the greatest concentration in the Clyde Valley and Kingdom of Fife areas. For more information on real cider and perry, visit
You might have to search high and low for some of these ciders but it just goes to show that cider making is alive and well in even the most unlikeliest of places. 21
Great food and Real Ales from Arran, Orkney and Kelburn breweries Sundays â€“ Ceilidh band sessions New house ale brewed by Kelburn Brewery
Tel: 01505 850510 www.thecannyman.co.uk
Find us on the A736 Irvine to Barrhead Road, at Lugton
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CAMRA REVITALISATION PROJECT CAMRA’s Revitalisation Project has reached its halfway point with a second survey being launched to get more detail about members’ views on the future direction of the Campaign. More than 20,000 members have completed the initial survey and more than 1,000 have made their views known at around 25 consultation meetings across the UK. The first survey and initial consultation meetings have shown members hold a wide range of opinions on who CAMRA should represent and how it should go about representing them.
Despite the wide range of opinions and factors for the committee to consider, several key issues have been highlighted which need to be explored with further consultation, of which the second survey launched in August is the first part. Committee chairman Michael Hardman said: “We’ve got some big questions to tackle. Should CAMRA continue to support and promote real cider and perry, or would both campaigns benefit from being run separately? Is it better to focus our campaigning on real ale, or do we need to widen our support to other types of beer to follow developments in d E an E HIRNSHIR W AYRS TO WIG
Listed below are some useful contact details for transport providers in our Branch area. STAGECOACH WEST SCOTLAND www.stagecoachbus.com Tel: 01294 607007 (Ardrossan) 01292 613500 (Ayr) 01776 704484 (Stranraer) 01770 302000 (Arran) 07736 892253 (Disability Helpdesk) SHUTTLE BUSES Tel: 0800 072 0373
SCOTRAIL Tel: 0344 811 0141
CALEDONIAN MACBRAYNE Tel: 0800 066 5000
consumer trends and brewing technology? We also need to know where CAMRA should position itself in relation to the type of drink it advocates and the places where it encourages people to drink." “The information you give us will help the committee construct detailed proposals to present to the National Executive, with the membership having the final say when it votes on a proposal at CAMRA's Members' Weekend in Bournemouth in April 2017.” To fill in the second consultation survey, please visit revitalisation.camra.org.uk.
TRADING STANDARDS If you have any complaint about your beer, such as poor quality or short measure, or there is no price list displayed, you should remain polite and speak to the management of the pub concerned in the first instance. If you need to pursue the complaint further, contact your local Trading Standards office or Citizen’s Advice Bureau and they will guide you to the next appropriate step.
Full contact information can be found on your local authority website: www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk www.dumgal.gov.uk IRVINE: Tel: 01294 310100 KILMARNOCK: Tel: 01563 576602 AYR: Tel: 01292 616060 STRANRAER: Tel: 03033 333000 23
www.awcamra.org.uk by Ray Turpie, Branch Vice Chairman and CAMRA Scotland & Northern Ireland Branches Director
Over the summer, I managed to visit quite a few pubs, some of which I have never been in before. Examples of these are the Laurie Arms Hotel, Haugh of Urr and the Milton Inn, Monifieth both of which reached the last four in the SNIPOTY (Scottish and Northern Ireland Pub of the Year) competition (the other two being our own Steam Packet Inn, Isle of Whithorn and the Volunteer Arms (Staggs), Musselburgh). They were good contenders and you should try and support community pubs if you get the chance. Watch out for the winner's announcement later in September. Also, I managed to do one of the “Edinburgh Pub Walks” by Bob Steel which is a highly recommended publication and can be obtained at festival product stalls or ordered from CAMRA HQ. Starting at Balerno, this took in three new pubs for me, the Grey Horse, the Kinleith Mill, Juniper Green and the Spylaw Tavern, Colinton. The route covers about six miles along the Water of Leith and is easy walking along the cycle route. Supporting rural pubs is one of our main campaigns at the moment and we will continue to lobby the Scottish Government on this issue along with improvements in Public Transport. The branch has recently appointed a Branch Public Transport Officer (Tom Parish) to engage
24 Laurie Arms Hotel, Haugh of Urr
RAY’S ROUND UP
ROUND Y’S U A R
with Local Government Officials and MSPs. It is hoped that all branches will do the same. One of our branch targets this year is to update our Ale Trails by Bus and Rail which we rolled out a couple of years ago. There have already been trips round South Ayrshire and Wigtownshire rural pubs and more are planned so keep your eye on our newsletter or the magazine for upcoming dates. I think it is important we support these if we want them to survive. Another initiative along these lines which has been reasonably successful is the two-pub walks arranged by the branch. These have been tried on different days and times. After a slow start, things are picking up. Anybody can go to these so it might be of interest to Ramblers’ Groups, whether members or not. Why not try the next one and bring a friend. This is a good way of attracting members and becoming active. There is a place for everybody in CAMRA so being active does not entail a heavy commitment. Just visit your local pub to try any real ale and submit a score on whatpub.com from your phone as you sip or when you return home.
Enjoying a pint in the Grapes, Stranraer before visiting Portpatrick Brewery
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You might also consider volunteering at beer festivals or joining the local CAMRA social group in your area to meet people and make new friends. Mrs. Roundup and I attended a recent Wigtownshire social a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. We met up at the Grapes, Stranraer for a few beers and then were whisked off to Portpatrick Brewery to celebrate their first anniversary. The social wellbeing aspect of visiting the local pub is often neglected but that subject is covered on the back page of this issue. Details of all these activities can usually be found somewhere in this magazine or simply get in touch with one of the contacts mentioned. There is so much fun you can have being a CAMRA member if you put your mind to it. Why not pop along to the 17th Ayrshire Real Ale Festival at Troon Concert Hall from
6-8th October. If you join CAMRA there you may get special concessions as well. All in all, it should be a no brainer. Following the Open Championship in Troon this summer, the theme this year for the second bar in the Walker Hall is beers named after ‘birdies’. Before that though, I am off to work at the Great British Beer Festival in London which will be over by the time you read this so more of that later. In the meantime, drink sensibly and have fun. Cheers!
Milton Inn, Monifeith
BRANCH SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Our Branch has Social Groups which meet regularly covering North, South and East Ayrshire, and Wigtownshire. All CAMRA members are encouraged to attend these informal events, but non-CAMRA members are equally welcome to join us for a couple of hours of friendly chat and socialising. For more information, please contact the area coordinators listed below: North Ayrshire - meets 3rd Thursday of every month. Contact Ian Middleditch. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org South Ayrshire - contact Caroline Munro for details. Email: email@example.com East Ayrshire - meets last Wednesday of every month. Contact Matt Miller. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Wigtownshire - contact Malcolm McNeil for details. Email: email@example.com
Enjoying a beer at the Steam Packet Inn
Additionally, the Branch also holds social outings on a regular basis – recent trips have included breweries such as Fyne Ales, Bute, Sulwath, Strathaven and Inveralmond. See www.awcamra. org.uk for details or contact social secretary Donald Clark at social@ awcamra.org.uk
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FYNE FEST - SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE Fynefest was held this year between 10-12 June. I just had to attend to make it three years in a row. Well, how could I resist the call of over 120 beers, 20 ciders , 20 live bands... and, of course, 20 million midges? As usual, I was accompanied by my wife ("that's another FyneFest you've got me in to") and this year, also our Fynefest 'virgin' friend to chaperone us – and help carry the camping gear! As in previous years, the weather was a mixture of sun and rain to encourage the propagation of the midge population which greeted our arrival and enhanced the dubious pleasure of trying to erect a borrowed tent. However, this early grief was soon forgotten as I decided I was better employed exploring the 30m long bar, and returned with the traditional first three pints of Jarl. Fyne
By Mike Tomlinson Photos: ©FyneFest
Ales excelled by producing some 20 different cask ales and 11 'craft keg' ales for their festival. I have to announce my favourite Fyne Ale was Sunna (3.7%), which was a lovely hoppy summer ale. However, admission time: I tried a Fyne 'craft' ale called Ragnarok, which at 7.4% was pretty strong, but was wonderfully tasty and is described as being an imperial version of 'Jarl'. To accompany the beers, there were the usual food vendors, both locally sourced and worldwide flavours. The highlights have to be Loch Fyne oysters (based just along the road from the brewery) and paella, but this time my award goes to 'scoff', which provided tattie scone wraps stuffed with Stornoway black pudding and lamb kofta. Both heavenly!
On Saturday, I decided to leave the women to indulge in Loch Fyne oysters whilst I took the 1 hour walk each way to the Walkers' Bar located up the scenic valley. This trek is worth it, as upon arrival at the semi derelict bothy, there were four Fyne Ales served by gravity, including Maverick, their 4.2% dark bitter, and an acoustic band playing. The walk back was with 'multi-accent Jim', and a half pint of Highlander (4.8%), whilst discussing soul music and politics, a great combination! I stumbled across Jim, the previous evening – a fascinating character who belongs to Ayrshire, lived in South Manchester, and currently resides in Essex, hence 'multi-accents', depending on quantity of ale consumed. We had plenty in common!
Of an evening, to accompany the beer consumption, there were various bands ranging from pipe, through folk to rock, and one of my favourites, Banjo Lounge 4. They are always worth seeing for their amazing version of "Ace of Spades", with banjos!
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By this stage, I was working my way steadily through the ales on offer and probably managed about 24 different ones, although writing notes was becoming increasingly difficult. So was there really a Fyne Ale called "panda" and did I also drink "casc-one" (3.7%)? [Ed - maybe not and yes!] Certainly, I remember my Beer of the Festival. It was Highwire, a 5.5% west coast pale ale from Magic Rock, England.
QUALITY ALES AT WETHERSPOON
A SELEC TION OF OUR ALES – MORE LOC AL C HOIC E AT THE BAR
The downsides were a brewery tour charge of £5 and £1.70 for a half pint beer token, (which only bought a 1/3 pint over 6%), so no taste of the wonderful NZPA (6% New Zealand pale ale) from Hawkshead Brewery. And how about my companions? Well, my wife didn't fool anyone when she pretended to be a tiger prowling around the tent after a long day on Sanda Blonde (5.5% craft)! And the festival 'virgin'? She went there, drunk plenty, and bought the sweatshirt!
THE PRESTWICK PIONEER
THE PADDLE STEAMER
87 MAIN ST PRESTWICK KA9 1JS TEL: 01292 473210
GALLOWGATE ST LARGS KA30 8LX TEL: 01475 686441
THE WEST KIRK
THE SALT COT
58A SANDGATE AYR KA7 1BX TEL: 01292 880416
7 HAMILTON ST SALTCOATS KA21 5DX TEL: 01294 465924
THE AULD BRIG
THE WHEATSHEAF INN
13–15 RIVERGATE SHOPPING CENTRE IRVINE KA12 8EH TEL: 01294 277818
70 PORTLAND ST KILMARNOCK KA1 1JG TEL: 01563 572483
NE W WERS
FOR PU BS
ERFECT PINT AT THE E THE P PERF ECT SERV TEM ICH WH
URE RAT PE
Gifts cards are redeemable in all our pubs, for food and drinks, and at our hotels, for accommodation.
12- UN 2 S
T HE W
’ S B I GG
BU Y AT TH E BA R
J D WETH E R S P O O
E N FR
J15744_Ayrshire & Wigtownshire CAMRA magazine_A6_V9.indd 1
Subject to local licensing restrictions and availability at participating free houses. Photography is for guidance only. J D Wetherspoon PLC reserves the right to withdraw/change offers (without notice), at any time. See main menu for 29 additional details of our terms and conditions.
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WhatPub.com, Beer Scoring and the Good Beer Guide In every edition of Full Pints, we make a plea for CAMRA members to score their ales that they drink on www.whatpub.com. So far this year, 68 people have now submitted 1,675 beer scores – but only 36 were Branch members (and we currently have over 580 members!) Despite that, scores have been submitted so far for 78 of our outlets, so a very big thank you for your efforts. Just because a pub is in a larger town please don’t assume that we’ll get a lot of scores for it, and pubs outwith the big town centres, in our rural areas and islands always need scores. At the time of going to print the following outlets still had just six scores or under against them for this year: The Auchans, Dundonald; Blackwaterfoot Lodge; Bladnoch Inn; Blue Peter Hotel, Kirkcolm; Brodick Bar and Wine Port, Brodick; Canny Man, Lugton; Harbour House
Hotel, Portpatrick; Harry’s Bar, Smoking Goat and Tam o’ Shanter Inn, Ayr; Lauriston Hotel, Ardrossan; Lochranza Hotel; Merchant’s Yarn, Beith; Tigh-na-Mara Hotel, Sandhead; Brass & Granite, Kilmarnock. By the end of this year, let's try and get over 100 people scoring ales - we only need another 30 of our members to start using and scoring ales with whatpub.com. We have around 80 outlets in our area but are only allocated 27 entries by the Good Beer Guide publishers, so only the best pubs with the highest average scores get selected – we would love to have more, but that’s not possible due to space limitations. Please remember that a zero score should only ever be used if no ale is available at all.
HOW SHOULD I SCORE THE QUALITY OF THE BEER?
0: 0.5 -1: Poor. 2: Average.
Should only be used if no cask ale is available Beer is anything from barely drinkable to drinkable with considerable resentment. Competently kept, drinkable pint but doesn’t inspire in any way, not worth moving to another pub but you drink the beer without really noticing. 3: Good. Good beer in good form. You may cancel plans to move to the next pub. You want to stay for another pint and may seek out the beer again 4: Very Good. Excellent beer in excellent condition. You stay put! 5: Perfect. Probably the best you are ever likely to find. A seasoned drinker will award this score very rarely.
Please check www. awcamra.org.uk for up-to-date details of all Branch events.
SEPTEMBER Thurs 1st Sat 3rd
2nd Ayr Beer Festival at the Glen Park Hotel, Ayr. Open 5pm-10pm Thurs, Noon - 10pm Fri/Sat. 20+ ales
East Ayrshire Social – Sorn Inn, Sorn, 2pm
South Ayrshire Social – McKays, Troon, 7.30pm
North Ayrshire Social – The Paddle Steamer, Largs, 8pm
Beer Festival Planning Meeting – Geordie's Byre, Ayr, 8pm
2-Pub Social, Kilmarnock – First Edition, 1pm & Brass & Granite, 2.30pm
OCTOBER Thurs 4th Sat 6th
17th Ayrshire Real Ale Festival, Troon Concert Hall. See page 14 for details and opening times
North Ayrshire Social – The Corner House, Kilwinning, 8pm
East Ayrshire Social – Mill House, Stewarton, 7.30pm
Beer Festival Staff Outing – Alechemy Brewery tbc
NOVEMBER Mon 7th Tues 15th
Beer Festival wash-up meeting – Merito, Dunlop, 8pm
North Ayrshire Social – The Salt Cot, Saltcoats, 8pm
East Ayrshire Social – Fanny By Gaslight, Kilmarnock, 7.30pm
South Ayrshire Social – Venue tbc, 7.30pm
DECEMBER Sat 3rd
2-Pub Social, Ayr – Smoking Goat, 3pm & Geordie's Byre, 4.30pm
Branch Festive Crawl – Troon 31
by John Cairns, Ayrshire and Wigtownshire branch member
Full Steam at the Steam Packet Inn
Being unable to attend the official visit presentation of the 2016 Pub of the Year certificate to the Steam Packet Inn, Isle of Whithorn, I decided to give my wife a special treat. Well, I will be honest â€“ it was more a special treat for me and the good lady wife was invited along! I gave Alastair Scoular, the boss of this family hotel, previously run by his parents for 30 years, a phone and booked a CAMRA member discounted room. I intended drinking a few beers and as I was driving and didnâ€™t like to stagger far to my bed, this seemed like a sensible option. We arrived on Thursday 21st July 2016 desperate to see what all the fuss and excitement was about this hostelry. My good lady wife appeared to be quite receptive to a day out on what was one of the rare days of a Scotland summer, and enjoyed
the picturesque scenery on our open top drive knowing she was free of domestic duties for a day and night. To clarify matters, with all chauvinistic humour aside, she is also a CAMRA member with a sophisticated pallet for flavoursome citrus ales, which is the opposite taste to my preference for porters. We arrived at the stunning fishing village of the Isle of Whithorn, which was actually an island until the connecting causeway was built over connecting it fully to the mainland. The Steam Packet Inn, which sits on the small harbourside,
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was named after the Steam Packet Line which sailed steam ships from the Isle of Man, the most famous being the Countess of Galloway and it is displayed, with its history, on pictures in the conservatory in the Hotel. It travelled the short 19 mile crossing from the Isle of Man to the Isle of Whithorn and up and down the west coast to Liverpool. This was a good omen for me as steam and real ale always go well. Alastair greeted us on our arrival and showed us to our room. It had a separate sitting area with a king size bed well equipped to handle my real ale size frame with a large en-suite toilet. The view from room six was stunning and would be my recommendation for anyone considering a visit to this small hotel of seven rooms five of which have sea views. We then got down to the reason for the visit sampling the choice of ales and cider - with all the good intentioned plans of a walk around the around the village forgotten as we supped them in the sunshine whilst overlooking the pier. I sampled Fyne Ales Highlander (4.8% ABV), Belhaven IPA (3.8% ABV) and Morland's Old Speckled Hen (4.5% ABV) which were the guest ales and then tasted the in-house Five Kingdoms ales. They are brewed in the village by Alastair and his head brewer and head chef of the Steam Packet, Brendan Dennett who had previously brewed with the Six Degrees North Brewery whilst it was in Stonehaven. Two ales at any given time are in the process of being brewed, in a process lasting a minimum of three weeks but considerably longer depending on the strength of the ale being
brewed. The finished article is then placed in plastic 72-pint casks (a firkin) and transported the short distance along the road to the Steam Packet for sale. I was dubious at first of ale supplied from these lightweight containers but my doubts were soon dispensed as I tasted Bysbie Blonde (4.5% ABV), made with caramel cascade hops, and Dark Storm Stout (6.9% ABV), which was my personal favourite with its full body flavour and drunk from the legs up effect. The last and favourite of the good lady, and one I also found glugable, was Dr Rudiâ€™s Blond (4.0% ABV) which is made with a hybrid hop from New Zealand. I was then further surprised on the tasting of the locally produced Waulkmill Cider from Langholm, mixed with Dark Storm Stout to make a special brew similar to Black Velvet - a mix of Guinness and Champagne. It was bottled and called Black Betty, a lethal muddy coloured hybrid at 5.9% ABV. This was not a sophisticated drink, as the name would suggest, and Betty would certainly give you a good nightâ€™s sleep!
The other draft ciders included Waulkmill Muckle Toon Rosie Dry Cider (5% ABV), which I preferred out of the range on sale. The others from Waulkmill were Mooseheid Perry (5% ABV) and Cider nâ€™ Black, a brew flavoured with blackberries (5% ABV) and finally Clan MacFannie (4.5% ABV,) a special cider flavoured with Irn Bru. No more to be said on that one - the name says it all. The best surprise of the day though was not the beer, which was excellent, but the food prepared by the multi-talented Brendan Dennett from the locally landed seafood. All around me I heard customers rave about his seafood dishes, which proved fresh is best. I had the seafood Linguini and a fellow CAMRA member at our table in the sun was gushing about the crab dish he and his wife had, with my good lady having the Galloway Steak. Feeling rejuvenated after the best and freshest seafood I have ever had, along with the rest of the numerous real ale drinking customers I continued to work my way through all my favourite ales until only three barrels were left on tap! This caused Alastair to run to the brewery to replenish his stock of ales some of which are unbelievably drinkable with only resting for four hours for the next day. After a very peaceful sleep, so peaceful in fact I did not hear a Tall Ship come into the harbour at high tide and berth outside my open window, it was time to arise and eat again with the full Galloway breakfast. Vegetarian options and Manx kippers were also available but a good fry up restores my constitution best, but I was glad to leave the dining room prior to the Kippers being served. Thanks to Alastair and his staff for their hospitality and attention - I now know what all the fuss and excitement is about.
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Glasgow Real Ale Festival Now in its third year, GRAF is firmly established and was another success back in June. The local Giraffe 'herd' was depleted this year as Andy Cooper was on safari sampling the delights of mega hoppy American Craft beers, and Tony Blackburn was in quarantine, so after a few loud grunts, Bob Forrest and I recruited a new addition to the herd, the lovely Audrey (from the Glasgow & West of Scotland Branch) to mix up the Giraffe gene pool! GRAF is organised by the Glasgow &West of Scotland Branch of CAMRA and was held again in the Briggait â€“ a stunning venue. Well over 100 real ales from across the UK plus ciders & foreign beers were available for customers to try. It was a slow start on Day One but soon the sun was shining through the Briggait's glass roof which attracted the punters and helped bring more people in for the next two days.
by Ian Martin
The beers that were first to empty from the bar the Giraffes worked on were from the Speciality group of beers; all three were very quaffable and refreshing: Tiny Rebel (Wales), Gin & Juice (4.5% Pale Ale), Tryst (Larbert), Peach Pale Ale (3.9% Pale Ale) and Williams Bros (Alloa), Juniper Tree (4.3% Blonde) And there were ones that were a bit too hot to handle - Whippet's Flaming Dog Chilli Stout (5%) from Leeds will remain in many customer's palette's for a while! Beer of the Festival went to Northern Ireland's Farmageddon Brewery with their Woody's Mosaic IPA (5.9%). It's good fun helping at a festival, whether it be at Glasgow, Troon or some of the smaller ones popping up nowadays. Please consider giving it a go. You get great banter with the customers usually! This year though it was Full Pint's editor Stuart McMahon's birthday and he would not let anyone go by him without him mentioning it and getting them to buy him a beer. A few finally gave in! What is the future for GRAF? Its success is not in question. The question is: Will GRAF outgrow the Briggait in a few year's time and where could it move to?
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GOOD BEER GUIDE 2017...COMING SOON! The Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) best-selling beer and pub guide is back for 2017. Fully updated with the input of CAMRA’s 180,000+ members, the Guide is indispensable for beer and pub lovers young and old. Buying the book directly from CAMRA helps us campaign to support and protect real ale, real cider & real perry, and pubs & pub-goers. The new Guide will be published in September 2016, you can order a copy now (details below).
HOW TO ORDER Post: Complete the form on this page and send to: CAMRA, 230 Hatfield Road, St Albans AL1 4LW Phone: To order by credit card please phone 01727 867201 during office hours Online: Please visit www.camra.org.uk/shop Your details (please complete in BLOCK CAPITALS) I wish to buy the 2017 Good Beer Guide for £11 (CAMRA Members only) plus p&p I wish to buy the 2017 Good Beer Guide for £15.99 plus p&p
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There are 3 social events happening in Wigtownshire between now and Christmas. At the end of July, there was a great social day which started in the Ruddicot Hotel and The Grapes, Stranraer, before heading down to the Portpatrick brewery to celebrate their first birthday. In addition to our Wigtownshire contingent, a couple of members from Ayrshire managed to made the trek down which was appreciated by owners, Keith and Lynne-Marie Stebbens. It's been a busy year for the brewery, and the beers are proving popular. Unfortunately, the beer festival planned by House o' Hill, Bargrennan on September 10th has been cancelled and it has proved difficult to find an alternative date which suited our regular attendees during the month. However some members should be attending Portpatrick Folk Festival over the weekend of 2nd-4th September. The Grapes, Stranraer is holding an Autumn Beer Festival over the weekend of 14th16th October. There is no admission charge and there will be at least 6 beers and 2 real ciders available with live music in the bar on the Friday evening and hopefully Saturday
afternoon. A Social has been organised for the Saturday afternoon from about 1pm. This is the weekend after the Ayrshire Real Ale Festival in Troon, so if you can't make that, why not come down to The Grapes? Thursday 18th November sees a day trip to CAMRA Northern Ireland's Belfast Beer Festival departing Cairnryan on the 11.30am Stena Line sailing, returning on their 1930 service from Belfast. Five members have "signed on" for this trip to date. If you fancy coming along, please get in touch. Finally, this year's Christmas Social/Meal will be held upstairs in The Grapes, Stranraer on Thursday 8th December at 7.30pm. Nonmembers welcome. Numbers will need to be finalised nearer the time. Further details on these events will be on the Branch website once they are finalised. For more info on Wigtownshire events and outlets please contact: Malcolm McNeil (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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There was a very good turnout of CAMRA members to celebrate the first anniversary of the Portpatrick Brewery 39
AYRSHIRE & WIGTOWNSHIRE REAL ALE OUTLETS NORTH AYRSHIRE ARDROSSAN Ardrossan Rugby Club # Lauriston Hotel BEITH Saracen’s Head Merchant's Yarn FAIRLIE Village Inn § GATESIDE Gateside Inn IRVINE Ship Inn The Auld Brig KILBIRNIE Garnock Community Social Club
EAST AYRSHIRE KILWINNING The Corner House (opens 1st Sept)
LARGS J G Sharps Largs Sailing Club # Lounge MacAulays The Paddle Steamer Three Reasons Waterside
KILMAURS Weston Tavern
KILMARNOCK Braehead Bar Brass & Granite Fanny by Gaslight § First Edition Wheatsheaf Inn
SORN Sorn Inn STAIR Stair Inn
MILLPORT Fraser’s Bar
BARGRENNAN House O’ Hill Hotel
Canny Man §
SALTCOATS Salt Cot
ISLE OF ARRAN
BRODICK Brodick Bar Ormidale Hotel Wine Port
STEWARTON The Mill House
STEVENSTON The Red Squirrel
BLACKWATERFOOT Blackwaterfoot Lodge Kinloch Hotel
BLADNOCH Bladnoch Inn DRUMMORE Clashwhannon GARLIESTON Harbour Inn
CATACOL Catacol Bay Hotel
ISLE OF WHITHORN Steam Packet Inn §
LAMLASH Drift Inn Pierhead Tavern
KIRKCOLM Blue Peter Hotel
LOCHRANZA Lochranza Hotel
NEWTON STEWART Creebridge House Hotel Cree Inn Galloway Arms Hotel PORTPATRICK Crown Hotel Harbour House Hotel SANDHEAD Tigh-na-Mara Hotel STRANRAER Grapes § Ruddicot Hotel
NEW LUCE Kenmuir Arms Hotel
SOUTH AYRSHIRE ALLOWAY Cambusdoon Sports Club AYR Abbotsford Hotel Ayrshire & Galloway Chestnuts Hotel Geordie’s Byre Glen Park Hotel * CAMRA members have noted that real ale is not always available at these pubs. 40
Harry’s Bar Smoking Goat Tam o’ Shanter Twa Dugs Wellingtons Bar West Kirk DUNDONALD The Auchans § Special offers for card-carrying CAMRA members # Weekends only
KIRKMICHAEL Kirkmichael Arms KIRKOSWALD Souter’s Inn PRESTWICK Golf Inn Prestwick Pioneer Red Lion *
TROON Bruce’s Well Cheeky Charlie’s Harbour Bar McKay’s Marr Rugby Club # South Beach Hotel
CAMRA members are encouraged to score ales they drink in their local pub, as it assists the committee in considering outlets for inclusion in the Good Beer Guide. Scores are continually required for the whole Branch area – please take a few moments to score your beers on whatpub.com if you visit them.
FULLP NTS AUTUMN 2016
Lochranza Catacol Arran
Lugton Dunlop Fairlie Kilbirnie Gateside Stewarton Stevenston Ardrossan Kilwinning Kilmaurs Strathaven Kilmarnock Saltcoats Brodick Irvine Dundonald Lamlash Troon Sorn Prestwick
Kirkmichael Kirkoswald Do you know of a pub that sells real ale and isnâ€™t listed? Please let us know by emailing:
Bargrennan Kirkcolm Stranraer
Breweries producing cask ale Towns & villages where cask ale is available Not to scale. Reproduced from Ordnance Survey map data by permission of the Ordnance Survey ÂŠ Crown Copyright 2016
Isle of Whithorn Five Kingdoms
Just For Fun
How well do you know your pump clips? Below are sections of 25 pump clips from Scottish breweries â€“ how many can you identify? Answers in next edition. (Hint: Many will be available at the Ayrshire Real Ale festival!)
THE ENEMY AT THE GATES
by Ray Turpie, CAMRA Scotland & Northern Ireland Branches Director
In my opinion, one of the biggest threats to the Campaign at the moment is the Anti-Alcohol Lobby or to give it the correct title, the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA). This comprises more than 40 public health bodies with an interest in the impacts of alcohol, based on availability, affordability and advertising. In January 2016 the Department of Health issued an Alcohol Guidelines Review which is the first since they were introduced in 1995. The key recommendations are: •
To reduce ‘low risk’ drinking guidelines for men from 21 to 14 units a week, the same as for women.
Recommended abstinence days.
Advise total abstinence for pregnant women.
Whilst I could accept the last two, what has changed to justify the first key recommendation? If a proposed limit of 21 units was fine last year, why is it no longer acceptable? As far as I am aware, no rigorous scientific evidence has been put forward to justify the reduction. Are all the experts wrong in European countries where the limit is much higher? Public perception suggests that the new guidelines are simply not credible and therefore, mostly ignored. To combat this growing threat to our enjoyment, CAMRA commissioned Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University to undertake an independent report into the role of pubs at the heart of the community entitled “Friends on Tap”. This emphasizes the health benefits of enjoying a few beers with your friends in the local pub. His main conclusions are: Nothing is more significant, both to our lives and to the national economy, than our health and happiness. The more friends you have the happier and healthier you are.
Pubs provide a safe environment to meet old and new friends from all walks of life over a beer. Friendships are created and maintained by face-to-face interaction.
Government policy on beer tax and business rate relief should consider the positive impacts which community pubs have on health and wellbeing. My conclusion is the same as his. If we can persuade people to get off their smart phones and get down to the pub to talk, it is likely to have dramatic effects on our health and wellbeing as well as community cohesion. What do you think? Acknowledgements: "Alcohol Guidelines Review" - A critique by Paul Chase "Friends on Tap" - A report for CAMRA by Robin Dunbar
CHAMPION PORTER OF SCOTLAND 2016
At Sulwath Brewery we give you the chance to see the craft of brewing in action, and to taste our real ales at our fully licensed brewery tap visitor centre.
Everybody BREWERY Welcome THE KING STREET OPEN MON-SAT, 10AM-6PM Off-sales also available
CASTLE DOUGLAS DG7 1DT Tel: 01556 504525 www.sulwathbrewers.co.uk
Published on Aug 25, 2016
Published on Aug 25, 2016
Full Pints Festival Edition. The multi award winning magazine published by Ayrshire & Wigtownshire CAMRA - the Campaign for Real Ale.