Beer Warriors – Blod’s plod aroond Aberdeen
It was on a Thursday Morning the gasman came to call… no thats not right! – I boarded the 07:35 train up to Edinburgh and three and half hours later arrived at the Waverley station. Unfortunately I only had 40 minutes before the Aberdeen train, so I didn’t have time to seek out a real ale establishment.
The east coast route to Aberdeen is a scenic route which takes you over the Firth of Forth, in site of the road bridge, past St. Andrews and Carnoustie golf courses onto Dundee and Montrose. I arrived in Aberdeen two and half hours after departure and immediately rang my friend Angus, and my main beef was he was out.
After a walk down from the station I found the main street called Union St. which most of the GBG pubs are dotted around. My first evening was spent tracking down the locations of the majority of the GBG pubs and thankfully, since I was on Shanks’, they were all relatively close together.
Under the Hammer
This is a wine bar styled pub close to the theatre. Dropping down from street level to enter a newly decorated tiled floored pub upon which small pine tables adorned with chequered table cloths and candles reside, I approached the bar that faced me. Three hand pumps displayed Ossian Ale, Deuchars IPA and Butcombe Bitter and torn between all three I decided on the Butcombe which was fine, and listened to the background music of Pink Floyd, very pleasant.
Just down the road was a little gem. A small pub with a traditional oak panelled bar area, which has some interesting ink drawings mounted on the wall had Belhaven St. Andrews and Deuchars IPA on offer. I tried the Belhaven which was fine at first but as I continued my pint I felt it was borderline, shame really because it was a pleasant pub.
This pub is en route to Old Aberdeen and is a basic students type pub and can be spotted by, funnily enough, a big blue lamp hanging outside. I entered towards the smokey bar to be greeted by a myriad of keg fonts, but amongst the advertisers glory I spied two handpulls bearing the names of Timothy Taylors Best and Deuchars IPA. I tried a pint of the TTs, which was excellent, and went to sit down in the cosy area away from the bar.
What a mistaka to a maka! I was accosted by a guy who was an engineer from the oil rigs and his Canadian rally driver girl friend who was out celebrating. As well as supping pints, they were on double Canadian Club and Southern Comfort (in one glass) chasers… I will say no more.
The following day I continued my tour, pulling in:
The Prince of Wales
I don’t know what he was doing there, he obviously forgot to turn left on his way from Cornwall! Anyway, this was quite an impressive pub with a bar about 6m long. A traditional type pub with oak panelling and glazing and what was quite amazing was, at 6pm in the evening it was absolutely packed.
Archibald Simpson (Wetherspoons)
Well, what can I say? I decided to have a cheap bite to eat so I went into this impressive pub, created, I believe from an ex-bank. It really does need to be viewed from across the road, (no, not because it’s that bad) in order to appreciate the ornate columns.
As for the beer, well as all to often found in Wetherspoons pubs, most of the beers were not on but we did have London Pride, Directors, Theakstons Best and Deuchars IPA. I thought I would go for the IPA – I had been in Scotland for two days and not tried this excellent brew. What an error of judgement. It was cloudy, not bad enough to return but definitely not at its best.
The Old School House (Hogshead)
This, as the name might suggest, was previously a school and has been rather tastefully converted to a pub. It has all the usual plastic type books, wood panelling and ornaments of the usual conversions but they have not made a bad job really.
As for the beer, I was asked if I wished to try my selection, without any prompting, which was nice. The beer I selected was Inveralmond Thrappledouser which was fine. Also on offer was Inveralmond – Independence, Pedigree, 6X, Deuchars IPA, Speckled Hen and London Pride.
For the cider drinkers, there was Inches Stonehouse Cider on handpull. Unfortunately, I missed the beerfest, which was in early April.
The following day, before heading for the station, I managed to pull in:
The Tilted Wig
This is sited almost across the road from Wetherspoons and is a lively refurbished pub complete with the panelled walls and nicotine paint job. It has a long bar and many tables which cater for the numerous people going in for food. The beer on offer was Caledonian 80/- and Isle of Skye Dark. I went for one of each well, it was my last chance before leaving Scotland. The Isle of Skye was superb, almost like a stout, which it may well have been (I must look that up!). Anyway, back to the station for my 7.5 hr ride back to Newark.
Generally the beer and pubs are very good but would question Wetherspoons being in the GBG (far too many bad pints dispensed around the country, but getting better).
Old Aberdeen – This is the focal point of the university and is very interesting.A Art Gallery – Excellent
Shops – Plenty to keep the little women happy!
City – busy centre with plenty of attractions but the planners must be is a mixture of industrial units with amusement arcades and Virgin cinema and within a stones throw you have an ‘olde worlde’ Scottish fishing hamlet. They really must take more water with it.
They call it the Granite City and they have some weird gothic architecture but everything is bloody grey and even the new buildings are made of grey synthetic granite, still I think I will be going back soon and I will paint the town red.
Beer Warrior in Aberdeen was Blod