Taking duff beer back is NOT MY JOB !

The beer in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs (no such county) was no better or worse than in any other GBG chapter, and the Scottish trend to a lone handpump post-Covid largely paid dividends.

But it wall went to (plant) pot in Strathyre,

though the White Stag was rescued by some gorgeous views from the table out front,

and the absence of homebrew (for now).

I headed inside because a) it was raining and b) they were playing Paradise by Coldplay at 110db into the roadside benches, and no-one deserves that.

A smart little place with an odd notion about how you cover seats,

and some great staff who chatted about the confusion caused by having one beer called Amarillo Gold and another called Pale Armadillo. I mean, how does the average punter choose ?

Well, I guess they don’t, they have Tennents. Or Madri.

I only picked the Amarillo as it was the first one, and it was undrinkable.

It’s your duty as a CAMRA member to take it back” some will write.

Honestly, it’s really not my job. It’s the pub’s job to make sure the beer is OK, they’ve plenty of opportunity to test it.

If I did take it back, I’d embarrass the friendly young barperson, who’d know doubt have to look for a manager who’d come and say “It’s fine, I only put it on this morning” or “It’s real ale, it’s supposed to taste like that“. Those exact words are used regularly, and I can’t be bothered being a real ale twat anymore.

So I took it outside, where “Dancing in the Dark” (again !) was booming out, and found the pot plant that local CAMRA have provided a symbol for in the mobile GBG, and moved on.

30 thoughts on “Taking duff beer back is NOT MY JOB !

  1. I’m sorry you had some bad beer at the White Stag in Strathyre. I was there earlier this year and got talking to one of the owners, who is a brewer but has had problems with planning permission for the on-site brewery. (See my review on Pubs Galore: https://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/67773/)

    I wouldn’t want to argue that it’s your job to complain about the beer – and I’m generally reluctant to do it, too – but I know it’s a general customer service maxim that they want their customers to tell them when they’ve gone wrong, and tell all their friends when they enjoy something they’ve got right.


    1. Oh but you would want to argue, and you do it well.

      But sticking with the customer service clichés, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and once burned (taking a beer back), twice shy.

      I’d always take it back in Spoons, of course, they’ve a no quibble attitude.

      The beer was well past its useful life.


  2. I was in this situation recently, had to take my pint back, then tasted another, which was also off. Finally got an acceptable pint but it wasn’t great. Both times I was told “that’s what it’s supposed to be like, no-one else has complained”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All these reports of duff beer, does beg the question, what were the local CAMRA’s thinking of, when they selected these outlets for the Guide in the first place?

    I suspect the answer will have something to do with quotas, and branches being overstretched, but if so the entire raison d’etre for the GBG does need calling into question.

    Having allowed my CAMRA membership to lapse, several years ago, I can say without fear or favour, that the campaign continues with this increasingly irrelevant publication, because it is a “cash cow” which generates a nice revenue stream for the organisation.

    ps. No one enjoys complaining, but if you don’t let the bar staff know they are serving vinegar, the pub will carry on dishing it up. Also, seeing as you are a fully-paid up lifer, some would argue that it IS your duty, not just to return a duff pint, but to let CAMRA know – either via beer scores on What Pub, or by a message to the local branch – again, easy via What Pub.


    1. We all know that in Scotland the mere presence of real ale will often guarantee an entry in the GBG. And I doubt whether a pub gets many surveys in a place like Strathyre, especially given Scotland’s draconian drink-drive law. “We should put them in to encourage them” often seems to be the attitude.


  4. is this where asking for a small taster first is the better social awkwardness to get over & past than returning the beer ?

    I ask simply because I notice far more people, and they are far from simply CAMRA members trying to extract free beer, these days seem to be doing that, like even in Wetherspoons which seems the height of well not the done thing.

    but then you wonder if we are missing a trick, in an unfamiliar pub with unfamiliar beer, taste it first choose the least worst option.


    1. I don’t think you can really assess a beer properly from a taster. The purpose of tasters should be to get an idea of the flavour, not to judge the quality.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, tasters are very often more froth than liquid. Also I sometimes find that the first swig from a glass of beer doesn’t always show up a beer’s faults, and often it’s not until the second mouthful that I get a full impression – obviously this does not apply if it’s full on vinegar.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. but if its “bad” beer, beer thats only fit for chucking away in a plant pot, Id like to think based on the beer tasting session of off flavours I did with Fullers, a taster was plenty more than enough to judge them properly 🙂

    now if its beer thats just tired, lacking conditioning or some other just not a great pint quality reason, sure a taster wont be that enlightening, but then theyre still drinkable even if you probably wont enjoy drinking them that much, but the plants would be safe getting any of it, Id only be tipping stuff thats not drinkable.


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