BEER QUALITY – “It’s they that keep it that spoil it”


I hope you’re keeping up with my Big Day In Scotland.  If so, you’re doing better than I did at the time.

Without the guiding influence of Mrs RM, (back in Cambridge “smashing the system”), I somehow made it from the State to the Bon Accord, hopefully not by a chicken run across the M8.

Bon Accord.PNG

Duncan had told me about high cellarmanship standards at the Bon (?), and all I had by way of confirmation was memory of a decent pint (quite possibly Pedigree) more than two decades ago.


As I may not be back in Scotland for at least a fortnight, I needed to re-evaluate one of the legends of Glasgow’s real ale history (it says here).


It sparkled. With life and at the bar. I’ll forgive it the jam jars.


A Thistle stronghold ?

There’s a checklist somewhere on Scotland’s best pubs.  For a starter, it’ll include the following;

  • Masses of brown wood
  • Proper seating
  • Whisky of the Day
  • Cask about 5 degrees cooler than in London
  • A proper head on the beer
  • A beer you’ve heard of (let’s call it Deuchars)
  • An Oakham beer
  • A stuffed animal
  • Giant whisky barrels
  • A reminder of past glories
1978 and all that

Yep, all here in the Bon Accord.  Probably why it was packed out midweek.



But I hope it’s the beer quality that pulls them in.

I rant on and on about pubs dictating quality rather than brewers.

Last year I had a pint of Caledonian Edinburgh Castle in a posh Hampshire GBG pub that was so poor I really should have taken back but a) I fancied the glass b) You go first.

I’ve enjoyed Deuchars in the last year (notably in Corby Spoons), so I put that quality down to a French sounding pub with no interest in cask. It dropped out of the 2017 Guide; the Guide is more reliable than you could imagine.

Pub Curmudgeon then named the beer as one he rated highly on his blog, so I’ve been on the lookout for it since.


Beautifully served in the Bon Accord, this was near nectar (NBSS 4.5), a classic Scottish brown beer.  It was so good I gave it the ultimate compliment and told the Pubmeister how wonderful it was, while I sat at the bar and dreamt of Johnny Rep.

“There’s nowt such thing as bad beer, it’s just they that keep it that spoil it” – Brad, The Furnace

And great cellarmen who make cask sing.

Look how it sticks to the glass


19 thoughts on “BEER QUALITY – “It’s they that keep it that spoil it”

  1. Great posts from Scotland. I truly love, even as someone who knows nothing about football, the historic photos. Really fun to see. Nice that on google you can image search and find out the reason it was posted. Archie Gemmill. What a goal. Do all of you know who that is without looking?


      1. Goalkeeper was Jan Jongbloed of Roda JC Kerkrade, and the defender was Jan Poortvliet of PSV Eindhoven.

        Didn’t the Hungarian lino referee the final some years later ?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The point can’t be stressed too much that, regardless of the intrinsic quality of a beer, it’s no good if pubs can’t look after it properly and turn it over.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We did last year and we sold two casks of it, mainly to those preferring a solid, brown, traditional beer. Unfortunately we won’t be having any this year.


      2. Back in the days when Deuchars was a regular finalist/winner in Champion Beer of Scotland, they used to have the cask requested for judging hand delivered by one of their reps. That one, of course, went straight onto the bar and one that came through the normal supply chain was sampled for the competition. Stopped coming quite so high in the judging after that.


  3. Having said that, I’ve been in pubs (and you and Simon E have reported similar) where I’ve thought, “Hmm, I bet this is the first one out this session”, but it’s turned out to be spot-on, so there’s obviously something that some pubs do, and others don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very good point. Some remote pubs have produced excellent beer first out the barrel. Turnover isn’t everything. Chap in suburban local other month gave me quite an insight into cellarmanship.


  4. Ehab has stated that there will be exciting friendlies announced next week. I demand that we play Partick Thistle away, followed by Peterhead on a windy Tuesday night.

    As a clueless person, my belief was that pubs pull through the beer prior to opening, hence serving a decent first pint of the day. Presumably those that serve a crap first pint of the day don’t pull the beer through or even just fail to pull through enough.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Part of pulling though can be offset if the line isn’t cooled these days. Commonly a cask line should be insulated to some extent, I’ve never been convinced with a “flash” cooling system at the pump. Gravity is where it’s at – decanted and delivered from the cellar by a barmaid with big jugs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I never worry when on a pub crawl when i get the first drink,if it is too warm they can always put an ice cube in my half to cool it down.


    1. Me and the wife went to Glasgow for a day out when staying in Edinburgh back in 1987,we found the pubs we did in the middle of Glasgow too posh for us and we also had problems finding pubs in the city centre,so we got a train to Partick as we thought it would be more down to earth,plenty of pubs and it was more down to earth,we looked out for Partick Thistles ground but never saw it or the floodlights.

      Liked by 1 person

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