Thursday, 12 August 2021

Rating Beer In Helensburgh

Our beloved Good Beer Guide Guy in our CAMRA Branch is always urging us to rate our beers for the National Beer Scoring System. I suppose, though almost certainly, less assiduous than our Andy, other branches have the same need, so I always try and rate my beers wherever I am, even if it is later. Alas, I don't always succeed, but while in Helensburgh, I had a 100% record. Not bad eh?  Of course that is made a lot easier if you only have one real ale in several days, but look, a 100% record is a 100% record.  Thus, on Sunday, I rated two very excellent pints of Fyne Ales Jarl in the Ashton Arms. A very good 3.5, or maybe even a 4.  It even inspired the lovely E to assert that the cask version was much better than the keg version we'd enjoyed in La Juppe on our day of arrival. Naturally I didn't contradict her, excellent though this had been - and so welcome after a two hundred and whatever mile drive. It was the sheer drinkability of the cask version that really swung it, though the keg version was actually pretty good - and clear. That always helps. Do remember this!

My other beery delights in Helensburgh were, in no particular order, Tennents Lager - taste best described as absent - and St Mungo  and West 4 lagers, from German brewers in Glasgow, who had perhaps, taken too big a leaf out of the Tennents book, erring on the Scottish side, rather than the German, in the taste profile of the beers.

A word too about Scottish pubs in the dog days of Covid-19 restrictions. Enforcement of mask wearing was universal and seemingly accepted by all. Table service was almost always astonishingly quick and always very friendly and engaging - even in the Henry Bell - a Wetherspoons pub, where we sipped pre-prandial gins and tonic. To be honest, taking into account the number of coffee and breakfast places, it was notable that service was invariably chatty and cheerful, but I suppose that's a small town for you.

Being Scotland, they have their own NHS app there. It includes all in your party. It wasn't known to us, though, that you have to sign out too. That took a couple of days to discover, though it seems a subsequent sign in assumes the sign-out in the previous one, and it also supposes that you don't stay in the venue overnight. Wonder then why they bother? Or do they? Certainly, while the sign in QR Code was pointed out to us, nobody seemed to ensure you actually used it.

I'll mention our Glasgow experience in a later piece, but frankly, it was just as good. It really is pleasant where excellent service is the rule rather than the exception. It makes a difference.

I did lose most of a large Gin and Tonic in the Henry Bell, when I knocked mine over, leaping up to try and stop a frail looking elderly woman who had tripped, falling over. I didn't manage to, but it turned out she and her companions were completely pissed and were all then ejected by the manager. Failure in detecting drunks is maybe a downside of table service?

 

6 comments:

Langbard said...

Table service is fine, as you say it's the standing up at end that causes problems

retiredmartin said...

Always good to read of pleasant service and excellent beer in pubs, which is more frequent than some think.

I've got to get to Helensburgh (and Dumbarton) for some GBG ticks; have stayed in Helensburgh a decade ago but don't recall the Ashton, so will look forward to that. Lovely town, of course.

Tandleman said...

It is a lovely town and a lot of money has been spent on it and is being spent.

Ashton has been there forever. I remember drinking in it in 1974.

Alistair Reece said...

Grand looking pints of Tennents there.

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