Bare with me; only one more post till we get on to the BrewDog bars.

Next up on the never-ending schedule of remote Scottish towns with a population of 10k and a GBG entry (OK, not remote if you live there) is Inverurie, penultimate stop on the homeward leg into Aberdeen and an emotional reunion with Mrs RM.

Next stop Dyce, recently booted out of the GBG

I struggled with Inverurie, I really did. An agricultural town (i.e. flat) I assumed it was quite affluent but couldn’t see why.

It really is the Bourne of the (very) North; dull but with added delis.


The drizzle wasn’t really bring out the best in the granite for me,


To be fair, it looks a lot more interesting looking at the OS extract now.


And the Butchers looks a great place for a Tennents Carlsberg.


But the inevitable Spoons is a letdown, despite the grime exterior and Hi-Vis man approaching.

Handy AED
Fantastic carpet

A quick look at Trip Advisor would have prepared me better.

“Unexpected rashes”

The Smoochers are too interested in their hen do (just like Duncan) to tell me about the cask beer range.


Which was apparently impressive.


JHB, Brain’s and Brewsters complimenting the proper beers. Goodness knows why I went for the Butterkin, which accurately described the taste (NBSS 1.5, just above the level you consider taking it back, even in Spoons).

Folk staring at me wondering why I’m drinking cask when the Punk is £2.99

I was in there 10 minutes. I never saw another pint of cask pulled. Folk seemed happy with their reliable Tennents and Punk IPAs and Flat Whites.

And if you can’t sell cask at £1.99 a pint, you’re stuffed.


  1. Inverurie far north? Pah!
    Actually it does look a bit dull. At least the Spoons appears to have had Azure from the very wonderful Lerwick Brewery on cask, which is a rarity, mostly available in the evil keg variety only.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “it looks a lot more interesting looking at the OS extract now.”

    Why does the name Elphinstone ring a bell?

    “Handy AED”

    LOL, was thinking similar. Maybe to help bring it back to life?

    “A quick look at Trip Advisor would have prepared me better.”


    “Goodness knows why I went for the Butterkin, which accurately described the taste”

    Ugh. Clearly a few too many to choose from.

    “Folk staring at me wondering why I’m drinking cask when the Punk is £2.99”

    Reminds me of the Slaughtered Lamb. 😉

    “And if you can’t sell cask at £1.99 a pint, you’re stuffed.”

    Sigh, no argument here.



  3. At least Tim listens to his customers..
    Now there’s a bouncer on the door to keep out those “guys watching us like they had never seen a woman before”


  4. All going well on the beer front this trip then. I have noticed a steady decline in cask quality in some Spoons (mostly, but not always, in the lower cask turnover ones) though their latest magazine says Cask Marque have given them high ratings. The hen party sounds most interesting though perhaps not up to South Shields or Isle of Man standard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Speak truth unto power; even if it does upset Tim Martin. I’m a Spoons fan, of course, and I’ll have positive reports on their new “Miners Benedict” (black pudding).

      The 3 Spoons in Grampian were all disappointing, but I had fantastic beer in Dalkeith and Musselburgh in 2017 and (of course) Galashiels last year.

      I wouldn’t even have said the beer was served at the ideal temperatures that Cask Marque require; perhaps CM just sample the Punk IPA, which is always in good nick.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The very worst beer I have had this year was in the (non GBG) Streatham Spoons. Another on which I am about to post in London not far behind. There are parts of Scotland where the development of craft beer is squeezing out cask in my opinion. Few new openings in west of Scotland are selling cask. All your posts building up nicely to Krakatoa.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, you’re spot on about craft. I was dubious about the take-off of Punk IPA but when they’re selling it for £2.99 in Aberdeen Spoons (and in better condition than in some of Brew Dog’s own bars) it’s got to hit cask in some way. There’s rarely a stand-out cask on the bar, Doom Bar isn’t as much a staple beer as down south, and Deuchars IPA has lost its market. Fascinating stuff for those of us who care.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Good point (and about Cask Marque temperature which I personally consider a bit low). This is starting to sound like a serious beer blog- sooner you reach Krakatoa the better!


      4. “There are parts of Scotland where the development of craft beer is squeezing out cask in my opinion”.
        Yes, and that’s more likely to happen with there not having been much of a tradition of Real Ale north of the border in living memory. it’s over seventy years since there was much unpressurised beer in Scotland.
        The 1947 ‘The Renaissance of the English Public House’ book ( kindly lent to me by t’other Mudgie ) mentions the “two principal ways” “to raise beer from a basement cellar (1) by means of the so-called ‘old-fashioned’ beer pump, which is in general use to the south of the Tweed, and (2) by Air-Pressure which is much favoured in Scotland.”


      5. The Streatham ‘Spoons is reportedly no longer a ‘Spoons, Paul. It all happened very quickly and quietly, apparently.

        But that’s what happens maybe, when you antagonise a large share of your customer base.


      6. Etu,
        Splashing your politics all over the venue is one way of antagonising very nearly half of your customer base.


      7. Indeed, Paul, and I’d say that in that “vibrant” part of London, it might have been far more than half of them.


    2. “their latest magazine says Cask Marque have given them high ratings” – well, yes, and it’s a bit like their magazine saying about Tim’s venue openings but not a word about his venues closing.
      And of course Wetherspoons is a ‘customer’ of Cask Marque so it’s unlikely that CM would say their beer was c**p if that’s how they found it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I assume each outlet/chain that seeks CM accreditation pays for doing so but eventually few would do so if it’s reputation counted for little. And presumably CAMRA would also question whether they should continue to sponsor the GBG. Nonetheless my recent experience of a number of Spoons suggests they must surely fall well below CM’s required standards. The new openings are now a trickle so much so that that bit of the magazine is now called ‘new look’. And whatever your views I don’t think the magazine has been remotely enhanced by the numerous pages devoted to a certain subject.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Leaving the EU will undoubtedly affect Wetherspoons and the pub sector so I’ve no problem in Tim putting his viewpoint. Shame other businesses, as well as the BBC, so poor at putting the counterargument.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, Cask Marque must maintain both their income and their reputation.
        A CM inspector was served a too warm half, the first one of the day, in a pub two miles from me and it was not that but one after some beer had been drawn off that was assessed as acceptable. If that started to become a regular occurrence CM’s reputation might start to be questioned.
        Cask Marque was originally about individual pubs. Chains, which will inevitably include a few venues below standard, having accreditation is a bit more dubious.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. “Cask Marque temperature which I personally consider a bit low” – yes indeed, and I think I noticed a “Cool reception” letter about that in the latest What’s Brewing.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. “My memory of real ale in Scottish cities 15- 20 years ago was almost entirely positive. Great Pints of Deuchars and Arran abounded” – yes, Martin, but real ale in Scottish cities, if not in many towns or villages, during the eighties, nineties and noughties was perhaps more of a trend than, as south of the border, shunning the ‘evil’ keg invasion of the sixties and seventies.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. “I can’t believe Russ missed the “Bear/bare” homophone at the start of this post!”

      To be honest I thought Martin was asking asking us to strip off along with him. So I thought I’d just politely ignore that. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You just narrowly missed the Brewdog opening, I can’t fathom where they will get enough trade in somewhere of that population size, in quite a large building, to justify it. I can see every other bar getting squeezed from both sides between them and Spoons. The money in town generally comes from Oil Industry commuters on the newer housing estates.

    The Butchers is a decent old school boozer, used to do an acceptable pint of cask PS (pre-Spoons). The Spoons is usually OK; as the beer range hints, the manager is very keen on his cask.


    1. Yes. Could gave been unlucky in Spoons. Would never say “How is that one in the Beer Guide” on the basis of a fleeting half when local branch has a whole year’s surveys.

      Forgot the Brew Fog in Inverurie. As you say.bit of a test of their long term roll-out there.


  6. For me, a pub or beer can only be ‘counted’ if I’ve had a pint – the effect of it warming up in the room over 20/25 minutes must be taken into account,

    I think your comment on branches having a whole year’s surveys might be a bit of an exaggeration, although that is the ‘spin’. I haven’t been to a CAMRA branch meeting for a good 25 years but understand that the number attending has not changed very much in that time despite the massive rise in total membership. Many pubs are hardly ever visited by the people who actually go to meetings and vote on the GBG listing; we did have a rule that a pub had to have at least four votes to go in at the final selection meeting. Usually there was a first meeting to create a shortlist and give members a month to try some recommended pubs that they did not know. Of course, the four votes could all be by people who visited at the same time on the same crawl. I don’t know the procedure nowadays but suspect that it is still an issue – plus, I wonder to what extent CAMRA discounts influence selection?


    1. Ian,
      My experience is that the number attending has gradually declined over the past 45 years.
      NBSS beer scores are now taken into account but for most pubs there aren’t enough of them to be useful.


      1. I do not understand why RM pours bad beer into the plant pots.
        First off, this scenario can easily be avoided by asking for a “taste”. I am never phased by doing this.
        I always “pretend” (when in a new, to me, pub) that I am a novice drinker. So, even with a beer I know, I still need to taste it on that particular day in that particular pub. A thimble in Spoons gives me a chance to smell it and taste it. Some pubs give as much as a generous tenth of a pint !
        Why pay £4 for a drink you may end up pouring away.
        Secondly, return the crap product to the bar. And tell them why. I won’t slink away having watered the plants. You haven’t “got one over them” by doing that. You have simply lost £4 and potentially gained gutrot
        This is as important to me as asking for a top up.


      2. “Some pubs give as much as a generous tenth of a pint” and that’s why you “pay £4 for a drink” instead of £3.60 and why some of us can now only afford to use Humphrey’s pubs.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I wonder if we should actually employ an official (unpaid) Taster, Paul, to be sent into pubs ahead of us to sup a pint and ensure we’re getting decent beer.

        I feel there would be many takers for such a position.



  7. Regarding Streatham spoons, possibly some confusion? The Holland Tringham in Streatham High Rd is definitely still a JDW
    The closure is the Crown & Sceptre on Streatham Hill – which is actually in south Brixton. The closure is not really sudden, it’s been rumoured to be for sale for several years. It is part of a JDW trend to close London outlets in secondary locations or if they have two fairly close together.
    It’s not clear which one Paul visited but the Holland Tringham has been variable for as long as it has insisted and the Crown & Sceptre I think you can understand if a pub in the process of closing is perhaps not at the top of it’s game.


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