Friday, 25 January 2013

Allanwater Brewhouse to Stirling: 19th January 2013

It's always interesting to take a trip out to the Allanwater Brewhouse & TinPot Brewery in Bridge of Allan and although I'd stopped by a couple of times recently when driving to/from Dundee I hadn't been in for a few beers since this time last year. A visit today meant that I could walk back into Stirling via a couple of pubs and also play a bit more of the tourist than normal and head to the Wallace Monument.

View Wallace in a larger map

Outward travel was as follows:-
  Train: Glasgow Queen St to Bridge of Allan (48 on hour)

For once there was no snow in West-Central Scotland compared to rest of UK, though I could certainly see it on the hills around Bridge of Allan. This allowed the direct train to Bridge of Allan to get me into the town before the Brewhouse was open so I decided to take a walk down the main Henderson Street. I was quite taken by the Paterson Clock outside the Westerton Arms, named after the town's first Medical Officer of Health and redecorated recently, but why it was 40 minutes fast I don't know!

On the outskirts of Bridge of Allan, just before the turning up to the Stirling University campus is the Meadowpark Hotel (I assume the meadow refers to the flat grasslands stretching out to the River Forth). This used to be known as 'The Med' to generations of University students but is now a Mitchells & Butlers establishment, having been extensively renovated and then re-opened in August last year (the 'infamous' nightclub is also no more).

And you can see that some money has been spent - it's definitely a step up from their 'normal' Vintage Inns such as The Commodore in Helensburgh or Balloch House. A large, more formal restaurant on the right of the building (with lots of Valentine's Day promos)...

...a bar leading to a conservatory area overlooking the main road and the meadows (with access to a large beer garden), with the bar itself having a raised seating area at the back, a small number of tables at the front near the windows and a large bar-top in the centre of the room with a set of huge chunky brass downlighters.

There were 3 hand-pulls at the bar - Deuchars IPA, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted and also their fantastic Old Engine Oil and as a nice surprise, there was the possibility of having all 3 on a flight tray of 3 1/3rds. As the young barman made this up for me he mentioned that they keep the Deuchars IPA & Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted on as permanent and offer a changing guest ale, with recent offerings from Adnams & Bridge of Allan Brewery (their Pumpkin Ale at Halloween) and there was also Schiehallion available as one of the many kegged beers. I also ordered the soup (parsnip) and a bowl of chunky chips (with mayo), but decided not to take one of the impressive high-backed balloon/throne chairs since they were a bit close to the fire. Instead I took a small table near the window, grabbed a paper and looked around at the large mirrors, exposed brickwork, abstract wood pictures & hanging china crockery around the rest of the bar. My food arrived arrived promptly, with the soup being OK (I'm not a big parsnip fan), but the chunky chips were fabulous, crispy & with a sprinkling of salt flakes, and boy were they hot!

Never having been to the old 'Med' I can't really say how different it is, but I really enjoyed my visit today, the staff were great and it was good to see the 1/3rds flight tray. So full of chunky chips I walked back to the centre of Bridge of Allan and to the Allanwater Brewhouse and Visitor Centre on the far side of the Adamo Hotel. Not much seemed to have changed from the outside from my last visit.

At the back of the brewery I found owner & brewer Douglas Ross and a young assistant filling up 18-pint polycasks and also about to brew their Gluten-free Honey Beer today. This uses sorghum liquid extract made from sorghum grass & is shipped in from Africa (even rice can supposedly have some gluten). Fermentation seems to take 2-3 weeks compared to well under a week for their normal beers, so it's quite a commitment on their part.

Douglas seems to be taking a lot more of a hands-on role nowadays since his involvement with TSA has ended and he was quite happy to chat away about some of the projects he's been involved with - the 1BBL Balmaha Brewery at the Oak Tree Inn (hopefully to be expanded in a combined smokehouse/brewery across the road from the Oak Tree), Eden Brewery St Andrews where he was involved with the oak aged beers, and also the proposed brewery in Dunfermline by the Wine StoRe people (I believe premises are still being finalised for this).
Inside the Brewhouse & Visitor Centre was still the same mass of old & new brewing paraphernalia, posters, tables, brewing barrels and bottles, lots of bottles - I just like being surrounded by all that 'clutter'. There weren't too many new bottles today (the majority had gone over Christmas & New Year when they had people queuing out of the door for the Hogmanay evening celebrations), but I did manage to get a bottle of the Hogmanay 2012 beer and also a Real Scottish Ginger Beer.

As normal there were some 'traditional' and some more 'unusual' beers on offer on cask served by the lovely Jules. On today that I tried were BananaPot (masses of ripe sweet bananas in the aroma & taste), MangoPot (a bit too bitter for me, not fruity enough), Chocolate Orange (very similar to the Ayr Dr Blacklock No.5, but I'd still like a bit more chocolate & a bit more orange), 75/- (strangely enough a light beer, almost like an astringent golden bitter), and with the stand-out being the Christmas Pudding Pot - a winter warmer full of raisins, currants, sultanas & spices all of which had been soaked in a serious hit of brandy - pretty lethal at 7%.

Hopefully I'll catch their beers at the Larbert & Paisley Beer Festivals later on in the year (Douglas has not thought about beers for these as yet), so I left the guys to the sparging of the Gluten-free Honey Beer and headed back towards Stirling. After re-tracing my steps past the Meadowpark Hotel I took the steep turning up Hillfoots Road towards the towering Wallace Monument & Visitor Centre.

I've been up to the top of the Monument before and was only planning on going up to the base and then walking along the length of Abbey Craig, but since it was still a clear day I decided to pay my £8.25 and walk up those 246 steps to the top. It's even a fairly decent hike up to the base of the Monument (although you can catch a mini-bus), but as you start to climb the steep, very narrow (almost claustrophobic) sets of staircases the breath definitely catches (especially after a few beers). Thankfully there are a number of resting chambers where historical artefacts and multimedia presentations of various aspects of Scottish history have been put on, but it's still a good work-out getting to the top and you have to be really carefully meeting people coming the other way. And then once at the top the views are fantastic. Over the meandering Forth and Stirling to the south, the Forth Valley and out to the Trossachs to the west, Stirling University and the tips of the Southern Highlands to the north, and the Ochil Hills & the Hillfoots towns to the east (probably my favourite).

Thankfully coming down is far easier on the lungs (but harder on the knees) and when out there was another great viewpoint to take in on the most southern edge of Abbey Craig. From here it was a fairly gentle descent along some good paths down the full length of the Craig - in fact I was able to half-run & jump most of it, slowing down using the odd branch & clump of leaves, actually really good fun! Once down at the foot of the Craig I joined Alloa Road and went looking for a way across the new Stirling-Alloa railway line. I found this at the Ladysneuk Road level crossing.

It was then a short walk along Ladysneuk Road to Cambuskenneth. There's a ruined Abbey here but since it had just started to sleet I was far more interested to find the warmth of the Abbey Inn.

The place was deserted when I first came in, and there wasn't anything too interesting to drink but I was happy enough to take a bottle of Fürstenberg and have a chat to the landlord about the weather, football & tourists. Surprisingly enough even with the Abbey almost next door they don't get too much in the way of the passing tourist trade (so that's why he doesn't stock, for example, Harviestoun beer - hmmm...) but there's also not too much trade from the village itself and most of his customers come across the bridge from Stirling. It's a nice enough place with lots of space at the bar and seating areas aplenty and I was glad to see it fill up a bit as the afternoon shoppers came in and the Saturday afternoon football matches started to finish.

On leaving the pub I took a sharp right turn until the footbridge over Forth which leads back into the centre of Stirling (there was previously a passenger ferry here until 1935 when the footbridge was built).

Full of fizzy Fürstenberg I didn't really fancy another beer (I would probably have chosen Morrisons) but instead headed into the Italian deli/restaurant (La Ciociara) across the road for a take-away coffee for the train journey back. There's also an ice cream parlour in here with some of the most cholesterol inducing flavours I've seen - look at that Scottish Tablet flavour! I must come back in the summertime after a 10 mile walk.

But to pander to my sweet tooth I did buy some home-made nougat. I don't think I'd tried any for more than 20 years, but it's amazing how you still remember the feeling of one of your fillings being ripped out! Thankfully when the nougat warmed up it went quite gooey, but it still took me most of the train journey back to Glasgow to finish it.

Return transport:-
  Train: Stirling to Glasgow Queen St (23, 53 on hour + others)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Kilmaurs to Kilmarnock: 12th January 2013

During the winter months it can be somewhat more difficult to get out-and-about due to the weather and the shortened daylight hours, so I normally try to minimise travelling time and walk about around pubs which are closer to home. Today I decided to travel to Kilmaurs & Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire, both well served by a frequent train service to Glasgow, and also visit an historical piece of industrial infrastructure.

View Kilmarnock in a larger map

Outward travel was as follows:-
  Train: Glasgow Central to Kilmaurs (12, 42 on hour)

It had turned out to be a lovely bright, crisp winter's day when I took the short walk up the hill from Kilmaurs train station to the small selection of shops on the High Street and Kilmaurs Cross. At this junction of the two main roads in & out of the village are the old Toll Booth (now a Chinese Restaurant/Take-away!) and the Town Jail (or 'Jouggs'), complete with sets of 'irons' on the walls.

Adjacent to these buildings is the Weston Tavern, which was originally the Kilmaurs Manse (so, basically church, jail & toll-booth all in close proximity !).

At the front is the bar area, effectively split into two - a long modern grey/granite bar-top & standing area on the left and a more traditional sitting area on the right, complete with lots of bare brick-work, a wood burning fire and musical instruments hanging on the wall. I could only see one hand-pull on the bar with Sulwath Brewery's Burn's Night beer, The Grace, available - very sweet, with lots of toffee & caramel flavours and just a slight citrus bitterness, but I've actually started to like these a lot more recently so I was happy to take a pint of this. Looking around the bar area it was most definitely a 'beer and crisps only' environment so I headed through to the back of the building to the restaurant for some lunch. Here a very polite young lad showed me to a table, took my coat and let me order the soup of the day (Tomato & Basil). It's a classy restaurant, with a number of Jack Vettriano prints, more exposed brickwork, another fire, lots of Daily Specials and it also doubles as a Coffee Shop early in the morning (lots of diet-breaking scones & cakes were on display which I managed to resist).

The soup was more than fine and after paying the bill (how much do you tip for a £3.25 soup ?) I headed outside. A couple of years ago another pub selling real ale opened (or was re-opened) across the road from the Weston Tavern, The Wheatsheaf. This started off really well (I remember 3 or 4 hand-pulls available on a Saturday afternoon), but with a long-established pub so close-by I think The Wheatsheaf only lasted 18 months or so and is now most certainly closed & boarded-up - a definite shame.

My plan was now to walk along the path of the main road to Crosshouse. This involved walking over the Irvine to Kilmarnock cycle-path and into the village of Knockentiber where a fairly sizeable crowd were watching the local football team play in a cup match. In the centre of the Knockentiber I came across an interesting pair of conjoined premises - the Tiber Tavern and Tiber Store

The building has had a bit of a chequered past, but today it's been redeveloped with new signage, seats at the front & side and a nice modern look. The Tiber Store is part village convenience store, part hot & cold food take-away (selling bacon rolls, sandwiches etc... at decent prices) whilst the Tiber Tavern is most definitely the village local. I headed in without too much expectation and was quite pleasantly surprised. A nice comfy seating area at the front with a couple of sofas & magazines on hand to read, a couple of TVs, a decent juke-box, a long sweeping (albeit sparsely populated) bar-top and some tables and chairs at the back along with an area for live music or karaoke.

Even more surprisingly, in addition to the standard Tennents, Guinness, John Smiths & McEwans fonts were bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale & Deuchars IPA - not too bad at all (there was also Amstel on tap, but at £2/pint I assume it wasn't going to be around for too much longer). I took a bottle of Nookie Broon, got chatting to friendly landlady and found out that she & her family also run the Tiber Store, and that they hope to start offering bar lunches later on this year now that the front and sides of the building have been completed. It seems to be a really great community local and there was a nice moment when one of the more elderly gents at the bar was given his 'Joker' - i.e. a free entry or two into the raffle.

I next walked down to the slightly larger village of Crosshouse, where the huge expanse of Crosshouse Hospital can be glimpsed at various places. I did go past a pub in the centre of the village, Bridges Bar...

...but decided to give this a miss and instead took the back road out of Crosshouse under the A71 dual carriageway linking Irvine & Kilmarnock. Soon I came to a sign for the Laigh Milton Viaduct, opened in 1812 and which crosses the River Irvine. It may not be the highest, or the most spectacular, but that 1812 date means that it is the oldest surviving public railway viaduct on the planet.

There's a path from the road to the viaduct but at the end of the path, as it rises to the viaduct level, this was extremely muddy & slippery with only a wooden fence to hang onto in some places. The viaduct is in a bit of a nowhere spot today, it leads to a farm road and that's about it, but it's certainly well enough maintained to wander across to the other side. I do like all the old industrial heritage & architecture that's still around in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.

I could have walked back the way I came but decided to follow a boundary fence up to & through a working farm for a short distance until coming to Gatehead and The Cochrane Inn, a really pretty Country Pub and Restuarant - look at all that ivy!

This is a venture by the Ayrshire-based Costley group, and is most definitely food orientated, in fact that horrific label of 'Gastropub' immediately springs to springs here. The main restaurant is on the larger left side of the building, with a smaller bar (basically an overflow for the main restaurant) on the right. The bar does have a few seats, low beams, a gleaming grey/granite bar-top, some hanging tankards, glass cabinets and a lot of brass farm stuff, but there's nothing remotely interesting to drink and why I decided to take that bottle of Birra Moretti I don't know. It's a more than acceptable place for something to eat with the staff really polite & courteous, but I don't think I would ever contemplate going back just for something to drink and for a chat, whereas I would do so for the Tiber Tavern.

It is possible to walk into Kilmarnock from Gatehead but I decided to catch the hourly bus and get off before the main bus station in John Finnie St. This meant it was only a short distance along Portland Road to Grange St and the Brass & Granite, one of a surprisingly large number of pubs in the street (I think there's four).

This is large, interesting place that I've always quite liked - part American diner complete with TVs & pool table at the back, part pub with a nice long bar, and part almost Dutch Café with lots of sofas, tables, bookcases and bric-a-brac at the front.

There are also lots of faded olde-fashioned food, drink & household signs & prints for such diverse products as Frys Chocolate, Swifts Borax Soap and a number advertising Jack Daniels, but I really liked the sign warning 'No Drugs or Nuclear Weapons' (probably stolen from a Hard Rock Café)! Normally they have 3 hand-pulls available with a decent selection, but today there was only Houston Killellan (a decent citrusy bitter in good condition) or Greene King IPA, although I could have taken the Bacchus Fromboise if I had noticed it earlier.

I was going to head back to Glasgow but decided to see what was happening to the Diaego complex on Hill St, and the founding home of Johnnie Walker blended whisky. This closed in March 2012 and meant that there was no Johnnie Walker presence left in the town of Kilmarnock. Some of the land will be used used by Kilmarnock College, but most of the site is still owned by Diageo, although the buildings do look for the most part set for full demolition (the striding Johnnie Walker logo can still just about be made out).

By now I had just missed my train so I popped into the Kilmarnock JD Wetherspoon's, The Wheatsheaf Inn

This was packed, almost oppressively so, and with only Cotleigh Snowy as an interesting choice of beer I decided to head to the railway station. The large gardens on the approach to the station do have a prominent and colourful feature - a large scale floral clock.

Whilst trying work out the time from the clock (about 3:15) I noticed a pub across the road, Fanny By Gaslight, which was proclaiming itself as a Victorian Saloon Bar dating back to 1846.

It's recently been re-developed as part of the Kilmarnock Townscape Heritage Initiative and really does have a fantastic island bar (albeit somewhat covered in drinks promotion fliers), some great high pillars, an outside balustrade and walls covered in old pictures, Singer sewing machines and other bric-a-brac. There wasn't anything interesting to drink, but I was happy to sit at the long table/bench which runs the complete length of the front windows and drink my Irn Bru whilst waiting for the train to come in.

Return travel:-
  Bus: Gatehead to Kilmarnock (10 Stagecoach, 41 on hour)
  Train: Kilmarnock to Glasgow Central (27, 57 on hour)

Friday, 4 January 2013

Guardbridge & the Eden Brewery to St Andrews: 31st December 2012

Being back in Dundee to visit family for Hogmanay gave me the chance to head across the 'Silvery Tay' to the Eden Brewery St Andrews. They began 'beery' operations in the springtime initially 'cuckoo-brewing' at Williams Brothers in Alloa before having their own 6bbl plant installed and configured in late August/early September in part of the disused Guardbridge Paper Mill (see The Beercast for more details). I'd met their head of brewing John Reade at the Abbot House in Dunfermline earlier in December where I'd tried their lovely 1882 St Andreas Lager and this had whetted my appetite (or thirst) to see their own brewing setup. In addition a trip across the Tay always gives me an excuse to visit St Andrews, probably one of my favourite places in the whole-wide-world.

View St Andrews in a larger map

Outward travel was as follows:-
  Bus: Dundee Seagate Bus Station to Guardbridge (99 Stagecoach, every 10 minutes during the day)

The old Guardbridge Paper Mill complex closed in 2008 but the site still extends over a huge area, although this is obviously now derelict in the most part. Situated on the banks of the River Eden it employed 620 people at its height, and having had one of the last Mill Chief Engineers in my family, it was quite a nostalgia trip to be back.

The main entrance to Eden Brewery is to the south side of the Mill (I didn't see any guard dogs), but there's also a pedestrian entrance from further up on the road to Leuchars.

Walking into the brewery I found Paul Miller (Owner) in the brewery office/shop as well as Scott Gowans (Head Brewer), Scott Ferguson (Brewing Assistant), and Cameron, an Australian Vet graduate planning to radically change careers and brew back home in Australia - a very diverse, friendly and passionate bunch of people. Paul went through a brief history of his extensive drinks-industry related career (he was the man who brought Carling Lager into Scotland!) and of some of the trials & tribulations of getting Eden St Andrews up and running (see the website for descriptions of their core range of beers). Paul's a smart & canny guy and Eden St Andrews' cask beers are now in a significant number of pubs/hotels in the East of Scotland, they have already changed their bottles from clear to brown, dropped the IPA term from the 19th Brew and are selling at Farmer's Markets in Dundee, Stockbridge & Partick as well as attending 'Foodie' type events in Edinburgh, Glasgow & the St Andrews Old Course Hotel. He plans to expand the office area with a full-blown shop and tasting area and also re-organise the the brewing area (they have at least the same amount of space available further back into the Mill). Part way through this we got pleasantly diverted by the opening of a couple of new barrels - a rum cask (full of sweet, dark molasses aromas) and a bourbon cask (with a definite strong alcohol spirit aroma, but still some underlying vanilla and rye sweetness) into which Eden St Andrews plan to brew 2 different base beers and then leave for a couple of months.

Because the Paper Mill is now owned by St Andrews University they have a good relationship with the both the Governing Body & the Students Association and have brewed the punningly titled Raisin d'Etre beer for the traditional Raisin Monday celebrations. Scott G also plans to brew a Shipwreck IPA full of New World hops for The Gaudie torch-lit procession and MayDip on 30th April/1st May which commemorates student John Honey who rescued five sailors from a wrecked ship during a storm in 1800 - it's a nice local community tie-up and gives some great publicity.

Paul was then good enough to crack open the 3 Edradour Oak Wood Finish beers for sampling - oh well, at least it was (just) past midday. These used the same base beer but were matured in 3 different types of casks previously used by the Edradour Distillery in Perthshire. I wouldn't normally try to describe these but the fact that they were all quite different probably makes the attempt worthwhile.

First was the No. 3, matured for 55 days in Château d'Yquem Sauternes barrels. This initially tasted almost like a medium white wine with some green apple sharpness - it was certainly quite bizarre and initially didn't really taste like a beer at all! However I did actually grow to quite like this.
Next was the No. 1, matured for 50 days in Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux Claret barrels. This was still slightly hazy and had an initial tart, almost sour lambic flavour before the peaty/smoky whisky after-taste kicked in. Not really my type of thing but the whisky drinkers should love it.
And finally the No. 2, matured for 83 days in Olorosso Sherry butts. This was a more traditional whisky beer, as per Tullibardine 1488, but still had quite a lot of toffee sweetness which almost threatened to overcome the whisky taste - it perhaps needed just a bit more whisky ooomph.

Scott G (another Heriot-Watt Graduate who had previously worked at Fuller's, Adnams & Fyne Ales) then showed me round the brewing equipment. It's a 6bbl plant (Canadian-built) with Mash Tun, Copper and Hot Liquor Tank.

There are 4 Fermenting Vessels, 2 of which were full of the lovely 1882 St Andreas Lager (and had been that way for quite a few weeks).

And 5 Conditioning Tanks were in use in the cold store (I couldn't get all 5 of them in shot).

They bottle in-house with about half their output going into cask and half into bottles. Their bottling equipment is fairly sophisticated with 2 people needed to operate it and it can also keg the beers as well (although they don't have the key-kegs at the moment). There was a Quality Control cask of Eden Blonde available and this was lovely - a full-on citrus aroma and lovely grapefruit, melon and passion-fruit taste. This is a Galaxy single-hop beer and is the first really hop-forward beer that Scott has managed to persuade Paul & John to let him brew - here's hoping there are a few more like this.

As always I was amazed at the amount of time that the Eden guys let me monopolise and I left after buying the 3 bottle set of the Edradour beers and also a one-off special, John(Reade)'s Winter Warmer. I was also pretty hungry after this so thankfully it was only a short walk from the brewery through Guardbridge village and across the Old Bridge over the Eden to the recently renovated Guardbridge Inn.

It only re-opened on December 13th so there's definitely still a 'new look' sheen to the place. There's a fairly large modern (and busy) restaurant at the rear of the building, with a bar area, some seats and a small number of tables at the front, complete with a lot of old photographs of Guardbridge. There wasn't any cask ale available (as yet) but all the core Eden Brewery St Andrews bottled beers were available and being well promoted by the friendly staff.

They also use Eden Brewery beers in a couple of items on the menu, a Beer Battered Fish-and-Chips and a Steak-and-Seggie Ale Pie - nice to see, but I only had time for the Soup-of-the-Day, Cream of Cauliflower with croutons. I ordered this with some trepidation but I have to say that the addition of Pesto oil & Italian spices in the soup really raised it well above what I was expecting, and it contrasted nicely with the chocolate/coffee & spicy malts from the Seggie Porter.

From the Guardbridge Inn it was a bit of a trek along the A91 main road into St Andrews, but there were decent views across the River Eden to the RAF Leuchars Airbase (no fighter jets today) & Tentsmuir Forest before I reached the new St Andrews Strathtyrum Golf Course & the Golf Academy. Slightly further on is the extensive 5-Star St Andrews Old Course Hotel & Spa...

...which includes the more traditional Jigger Inn, just to the side of the 17th hole of the Old Course, the (in)famous Road Hole.

The Jigger Inn really must have one of the best views about - across the fairways to St Andrews Bay & the North Sea and down the 17th and 18th fairways to the town of St Andrews and the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse.

I popped my head into the Jigger and it was stowed - full of families having a late afternoon meal and groups of visitors about to start their Hogmanay pub-crawl. There are lots of nooks-and-crannies in the Inn and it's (not surprisingly) jam-packed full of golf pictures & memorabilia. The bar is tiny, but there's a good selection of whiskies and a single hand-pull for the malty Belhaven Jigger Ale - although this was on the cool side today it was still far superior to the Belhaven Best.

I think I was only in the Jigger for about 15 minutes before I decided to get in front of the crowds and head into St Andrews proper. There are lots of more than adequate drinking establishments in St Andrews - the Central Bar, The Criterion & Aikman's Cellar Bar (to name but a few), but I decided to walk to bustling South Street through the West Port, one of the few remaining Medieval City Gates left in full use in Scotland.

In South Street I found The Rule Diner, where Scott G had indicated that there was the possibility of finding the Eden St Andrews Blonde on cask.

I assume it's named after St Rule’s Tower in the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral (which is well worth a climb), but The Rule Diner is very much a modern US-style diner/pub, owned by Maclays, with lots of bench seats, a number of split level areas (including a swish balcony) and cocktails-a-plenty, but at least there were 2 hand-pulls on the long bar with Deuchars IPA and Eden St Andrews Blonde (hooray!) available.

They were closing at 4:30pm to prepare and then re-open later for the Hogmanay festivities but I had enough time to savour my Eden St Andrews Blonde - perhaps with the aroma slightly muted compared to the QC cask, but just as tasty. On finishing this I decided that the best idea was to save myself (and my liver) from any more beer consumption that afternoon so instead, as a last port of call, I walked up Church Street & into Market Street to end up at one of the better bottle shops in Scotland, Luvians (not to be confused with Luvians Ice Cream Parlour further along Market Street, although this too is well worth a visit, especially on a sunny day).

As well as wine, spirits & cigars they have an outstanding selection of more interesting local, Scottish, UK, European and US beer. They normally have the latest Luckie Ales bottles and I was more than happy to procure the last bottle of Luckie 56/- Resurrection as well as a Durham Brewery Tripel, the Bristol Beer Factory/Dark Star collaboration and a Mikkeller Christmas Ale (all that I could carry along with my Eden St Andrews beers). The staff were more than helpful (as usual) and we got talking about the Bristol Beer Factory 12 Stouts of Christmas - there were definitely some envious glances when I mentioned that Crème Brûlée Stout.

Return travel:-
  Bus: St Andrews Bus Station to Dundee (99 Stagecoach)