Even if we hadn’t had the Giants Causeway on the Belfast To Do list, we’d have needed to hit the northern coast as Coleraine was home to my final Northern Irish tick.

Look carefully at the GBG map and you’ll see more breweries than Guide entries outside Belfast. The withdrawal of Spoons from the North has left cask fans bereft, but still needing to fill out a GBG allocation, of course.

We didn’t do Coleraine justice, sorry folks.

Mrs RM and Emma browsed the little market, promising to catch us up, while Matt joined me at Fairlies to see what makes an NI Guide entry.

Well, keg fonts, I guess. I resisted the temptation to tell a 20 year old he must join CAMRA to enter into arcane and pointless discussions about the merit of Key Keg.

They would have been very pointless as they weren’t on anyway, so it was Guinness or bust.

Good Guinness too (NGSS 4).

The lad explained we could bring some interesting beer in from their office and drink it for a corkage charge, but that’s just daft.

Mrs RM and Emma caught up with us, bemused that our GBG pub WASN’T the one with the Bass sign.

“What’s in the offie?” said Mrs RM.

Well, an astonishing collection of spirits, dessert wines and microbreweries. I had two cans of Lacada, both gorgeous.

If, as Tim Webb writes eloquently on Discourse, CAMRA should be about GOOD beer, then perhaps the offie in Coleraine should be in the GBG after all.

Note the matching of the Lacada Stout with the Jammy Joeys and crisps. A masterstroke.


  1. I’m very intrigued by this “corkage fee” idea and bringing beers In from their office. What does that even mean?

    Congratulations on completing Northern Ireland; I’m guessing that involved many years and many trips. When you evaluate a Guinness (and I fear you won’t be able to bring yourself to answer this question seriously!) are you ranking it against all the different beers you love, or only against the best Guinness you’ve ever had? (The best Guinness can be, etc)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Corkage fee” is quite common in the small bars that also sell beers to take away; drink at home for, say, £3 or here for £4.

      Quite a few Indian restaurants that don’t serve alcohol let you bring your own beer, sometimes for a small “corkage fee” of a few pounds. The term implies a few for taking the top off the bottle !

      Northern Ireland is quite easy, only 3 visits over 24 years and perhaps 24 pubs with not much change and few new pubs bar some Wetherspoons.

      I can only compare Guinness to Guinness. Mark !. Have you had it on draught ?


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