Another big day dawned on the Sunday, as I finally made an emotional return to St Andrews for the first time since 1998.

No ticks then as I was driving Mrs RM on a flying visit from Aberdour, but three (yes, 3) new pubs today.  Beeching has a lot to answer for, but you knew that.

If only the Stagecoach 99 bus wasn’t so bumpy.

St Andrews
Approximate route

I got off the 99 early, so I could take the key tourist shot of the Roman bridge over the 3rd green on the Old Course.

Tourists !

Yes, golf dominates.  How pointless a sport is that ?

Typical St Andrews shop

Size notwithstanding, it’s more Stratford-on-Avon than Oxford in terms of tourism.

Specialist shops, a few nice buildings in an unexceptional main street, and a general feeling that you’ve only been brought here because it’s old. So is Carluke, and you never see tourists there.

Typical building
And another one
Very Cambridge

In ten minutes I’d walked the town and St Andrews Brewing was ready to open.

Immediately I was reminded of the Brecon Brewing place, one long modernish room (and an upstairs with board games).

Barrels for tables

An American family were the other early starters.  Dad kept “shushing” his well-behaved children loudly, while asking for tasters of ALL the beers.

Loads of taps for their own keg. But, I reckoned, not much call for the cask guests.

Never worked out the riddle

I reckoned Stewart’s 80/- was a bellwether beer to try.

Nice pump clip

A dull, watery NBSS 2, mysteriously served only in thirds (£1.40) and schooners.

But that was fine as I couldn’t even finish the third.  I’m getting fussy in my old age.

Quite like the glass, mind

It was a bit cruel to take a photo of the two (count ’em) bottles of Sarson’s on my table. It really wasn’t that bad.

Not that bad

But I’m afraid I had to resurrect the urinal pour in the absence of pot plants.

Sorry, Pauline

Better was to come for St Andrews Brewing, but worse for St Andrews.



  1. Talking of toilets I’m not straying too far from one today.
    Whether it was a dodgy shrimp in my dinner last night or the early onset of IBS from all the tequila I’ve been horsing down there have been ominous rumblings and eruptions since dawn this morning.
    One thing I won’t be short of is medicine –
    Puerto Vallarta is awash with chemists all selling a remarkable range of stuff we’d normally only see on prescription.
    Antibiotics,growth hormones,enough opioids to keep a major American city’s addicts happy for years,statins,steroids,Prednisone and many others all cheap and OTC.
    While perusing one pharmacy’s offerings yesterday I was offered a 2-4-1 deal on Viagra.
    Mrs PP-T, who is 16 years younger than me,was most put out.
    ” Does he look like he needs help in that department ” she asked.
    And on that note I must dash.
    The Immodium doesn’t seem to be working just yet
    The Prof.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bisto update.
        Relatively quiet for a while so testing the waters with a Diane Abbott for lunch.
        Pre-mix JD&Ginger for me as Mrs PP-T reckons ginger is good for the trots.
        Herself has found Strongbow cider gathering dust in a local supermarket.
        Contemplating smoked marlin tail tacos for grub although as it’s off a street stall I might be tempting fate.
        Foul news from Sri Lanka – we have made good friends there on several cricket tours and stayed at one of the bombed hotels.
        It will devastate the slowly recovering tourist industry.
        Great people,fabulous place.

        The Prof

        Liked by 1 person

      1. In early 1980s, I was staying in Didsbury, with some folks who were acquaintances of Anthony Wilson and of John Walters. Nico was in Manchester at that time. Interesting people were always dropping in, but I don’t recall her being amongst them.

        I doubt if she’d have wanted to talk about real ale anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Yes, golf dominates. How pointless a sport is that ?” I couldn’t agree more, Martin. May I add Mark Twain’s observation that it’s also a good walk spoiled.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With those prices, I am not surprised that cask struggles. Whilst my local ‘Spoons will never make the GBG as it is a converted underground car park, it does sell excellent guest ales at £1.99 per pint. I might be a miserable tight bugger, but I simply refuse to go above about £3.20 per pint – and I only go upwards of £2.70 with reluctance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I share your reluctance to pay those prices for dull beer (and it is dull when it sells so slowly), though it’s almost certainly the cheapest option on the bar. Even at £1.99 (pre-voucher) Spoons seem to be struggling to sell cask these days.

      And it pains me to see this. I’ve had quite brilliant cask this year, as the Southworth families will know.


      1. Some ‘Spoons branches sell excellent cask at a fantastic price. I accept that ale quality in some of the branches is variable. Unfortunately, I do not visit enough different branches to opine as to whether good, average or indifferent cask is the norm.

        However, a problem is that many ‘Spoons branches have lost their GBG places to micropubs, which in turn has diminished their profile as real ale outlets. A vicious circle effect then ensues.

        The branches in which real ale is constantly excellent tend to rely on one or two undermanagers who are ale enthusiasts. This is then a problem when someone leaves, is on holiday or is sick. And it only takes a couple of duff pints to permanently shift some ale drinkers onto keg or bottled beers.


      2. I’d say that’s spot on. Lower profile with real ale drinkers as new outlets open is a big factor, though there’s still a good proportion of Spoons in the Beer Guide this year.

        There aren’t many new Spoons in England in the Guide these days; openings have almost dried up recently. So the ones I’m visiting and being disappointed with tend to be Scottish ones with low ale turnover.


  4. Always sad to see you get a pint so awful it has to go down the drain. It seems in some cases the GBG is in fact the “Mostly Good But Occasionally Bad Beer But Still It’s Cask and There’s No Other Places with Cask in this Particular Area” guide. 😉

    “it’s more Stratford-on-Avon than Oxford in terms of tourism” –Sorry to request further info on this one, but I’m curious what is the difference is between those two cities, tourism-wise?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is VERY occasional, Mark, and sometimes it’s just beer that’s too dull to finish. There wouldn’t be so much fuss if I left a half-drunk can of coke or cup of tea !

      Oxford (and Cambridge) are gems of ancient architecture that should be on every visitors list. Oxford has a world -class museum, Cambridge uses the river behind the universities better. Both have great pubs.

      Stratford has Shakespeare’s house. Everyone knows Shakespeare, so the Spanish language students and Japanese tour groups pile in on their way from Windsor to the Cotswolds and probably leave wondering what the fuss is all about.

      The Southworths will agree. Or disagree. ;-0

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Did you encounter long lines in the US when people were asking for tasters? Very common over here. It can be absolutely interminable as you wait for one taster after another. You really get the impression people think it is the last beer they will ever taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did notice that but was lucky. Asking for tasters at the brewery in the Las Vegas casino may not be wise move.

      At the Wetherspoons on the Mall (you’ll know it) last week I saw a Young Russian ask for tasters of Doom Bar, Greene King IPA and London Pride before settling on a half of IPA. Took 5 minutes. Would you ask for samples of whisky.

      But then I realised. The signs all say “ask for a taster”.


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