The last leg of our Scottish trip took us past the home of Beer Guide completist and overall legend Pubmeister on the way to Scotland’s First City.


There may be a vibrant craft beer scene in Scotland but it isn’t producing many new Beer Guide entries (and that Hippo place closed), just the Raven this year.

So Mrs RM had the joy of walking at Mr RM pace through the streets of the Merchant City looking for material for my Instagram account (which to be fair is mainly Old Boys on mobility scooters outside dumpy pubs).

Yep, plenty of material, some of it old hat.

Modern Art

Mrs RM dropped a few groats in the Sandmeister’s cap on Argyle Street. I reckon folk would drop coins in my bobble hat if I displayed my collection of worn out pink pens, y’know.

A dog called Sandy

The city was heaving with tourists and those handful of workers still brave enough to sink a lunchtime pint in the sun, rather than a Pret sarnie in the office.


I salute them, even if they were all drinking Peroni.

I was aiming for Babbity Bowsters, to see how the Deuchars was holding up in the heat.

Oooh, Brew Dog” said Mrs RM. Actually, it’s “DogHouse“, but let’s not quibble.

Brew Dog Blokes

Shall we go in ?“. She’d already gone in. Yes, readers, it was now TOO HOT to sit outside in Glasgow.

Compared to some branches I’ve seen midday in Leicester, Brum, Norwich and Nottingham, this Dog was doing good business, nearly all of it meat washed down with a couple of pints. Perhaps the Dogs only really work where’s there’s a bit of tourist trade to prop up the custom from the suits.


Frankly, I was feeling like a day off the booze, but nothing derails Mrs RM. So it was Elvis Juice and Raspberry Popsicle Parade, Ellon’s latest attempt at a low-alcohol beer.

The Usual

I would have had the “live” beer, being a Twamra type, but that misleading pump is clearly there to wind up local CAMRA.

All zombeers here

Now the only thing that would improve Brew Dog for me would be if they sold up to a proper company like Wetherspoons or Marston’s to improve access to their excellent beers like Popsicle and End of History (or perhaps a mix of the two).

Mrs RM hated my sour beer, but was rather staggered to learn it was 0.5%. Fresh, tasty, refreshing, I couldn’t fault it. Makes the Nanny State redundant, as it were.

The burger and sweet potato fries are still the best anywhere, and Mrs RM’s weird salad was really weird.

Nduja Calabrese salad

A stunningly good lunch. And unlike most bloggers, I’m NOT an equity Punk.

I made Mrs RM walk off the chips with a trip to the Necropolis. We got as far as the Spitfire Café, which matched To Øl with the world’s best brownies. Gourmands all.

Better craft beer menu than 95% of Glasgow pubs


  1. It’s the next post I’m worried about! Your previous point about Ayr’s 60% inclusion in the GBG is a good one. I don’t know what formula CAMRA use but clearly weighting applies as it has to, otherwise large areas would have few or any entries. It’s harsh on areas where there is a proliferation of more than eligible candidates though.


    1. Completely varies by branch. GBG areas don’t always overlap very well with branches, so you can get strange variations.
      Some branches will just put in the most popular outlets, others will set a geographical spread or used weighted voting to try and cover all their branch area and be at least a bit tourist friendly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Originally it was whatever pubs a branch submitted, no limit, but it was soon based on population with weightings for tourism and land area and that has scarcely changed for well over thirty years although there is occasionally the intention for it all to be reviewed but that’s not easily done as the overall number of entries won’t increase and no branch will admit to having more entries that it can properly use. .

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It’s OK. I moan a bit but the number of duff pints I have in GBG pubs is less than 1 in 10. Sure, Derby/Stockport/Sheffield could justify doubling the number of entries but local branches can publicise their good pubs outside the Guide, and I’d miss my trips to Glenrothes for a warm half of Doom Bar if Scotland lost allocation.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Yes, there was some weird allocation criteria based on tourist nights or some such thing. But that only gave allocations per county, not to branches.
        How individual branches decide to split their allocations is entirely up to them.
        I was involved with changing the Scottish areas for the GBG about 15 years ago, that was a right kerfuffle all of it’s own. One idea would have had an area that stretched from the far north down to about Stirling, a daft idea from a tourist point of view. At least the islands got split off.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. If you have a far-flung branch area, you’re doing users of the Guide a disservice if all you do is put in the most popular pubs in your two or three biggest towns.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Yes, and I imagine most branches that cover a large area try and put entries in from as wide an area as possible. Not always possible if you lack outlets.
        There are currently 2 outlets on Shetland. I’d doubt if either are really going to be particularly great, but should either go in as a tourist guide to some cask? Or does it matter as much now if Whatpub and branch websites can list all outlets and then just caveat emptor?

        Liked by 3 people

      6. Tricky. If you send me into a pub in Stranraer or Elgin selling vinegar (albeit from a microbrewer) does it do any good for the perception of this “real ale” we rave about. Dick and Dave are wise to know you take the rough with the smooth, but your average US or Italian tourist will soon learn to stick to Peroni or Amstel.

        Liked by 3 people

      7. “you’re doing users of the Guide a disservice if all you do is put in the most popular pubs in your two or three biggest towns”.
        Yes, my branch had beer quality first, then it was narrowed down by spread across the branch area giving the less visited rural pubs a chance and then by brewery such that a Wem pub had a better chance than a Bass Charrington one.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Look at that “LIVE” cowl from the wrong side and surely it reads “EVIL”.
    Yes, “clearly there to wind up local CAMRA”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Very few of the newer Scottish craft bars have anything to do with cask. I’ve only been in Raven once, it struck me as a very mainstream attempt to cash in on the craft market. Would expect it to be rebranded in the next couple of years as the next passing fad appears.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Re Shetland, the two pubs are (or were) Captain Flint’s in Lerwick and the Scalloway Hotel in, er, Scalloway. Flint’s has a couple of handpumps but more often than not no cask, although there is some half decent craft at a price. The Scalloway does have cask but it was indifferent (NBSS 2) last time I was there. Both are really for hardcore completists. (See you there RM and BRAPA) Written white enjoying a cool pint of Tennents in the Maryfield Hotel, Bressay.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The very wonderful Fort Cafe in Lerwick will do you deep-fried haggis with excellent chips. They will also do you deep-fried sassermaet which is a Shetland delicacy, a bit like Lorne sausage but with more spice. Best eaten with a bit of brown sauce. As for Noss, it might be worth a pre-emptive in a couple of years’ time. Mind you, it’s only accessible by inflatable boat except on Mondays and Thursdays when it;s closed. On reflection, that’s perfect for a micro.

        Two breweries in Shetland, Lerwick Brewery, mostly evil craft keg but make the Tushkar stout you enjoyed the other day in Glasgow and Valhalla brewery who do cask and bottled although you see more of the cask in mainland Scotland, oddly enough.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe those cones have been there for many many years, on that statue outside the Modern Art Gallery. You didn’t have a riotous night in Glasgow after an Anglo-Scottish Cup tie against St Mirren, then ?


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