Things were getting desperate. May looked like being only the second single figure return of Good Beer Guide pubs of the decade.
Other well known bloggers were travelling the country notching tick after tick, flaunting their successes like jackdaws adorned with paste jewellery. Meanwhile I was trailing behind like an arthritic badger. All doom, no bar.
It was time to take action before the burning shame became unbearable and head to north-east Scotland, getting off the mark with a single at the Queen Vic in Aberdeen.
Dark wood; traditional gantry; a young barman with a cloth cap and beard; and four cask ales: this pub was really rather good. I had the Redcastle Crusader from Arbroath. a pleasant 4% Pale. Brian, a veteran of Aberdeen quaffing, stuck to the Landlord (the beer that is, I wouldn’t want you to think he self-adhered to the bloke behind the bar).
Heading north we skirted the village of Blackdog on the way to Brewdog. Not (yet) in the Good Beer Guide, the brewery has two bars. The Dog Tap had a single ‘live’ beer alongside the other offerings.
The 5AM Saint (5%) tasted well though was served on the cold side. The term ‘live’ seems more accessible than ‘cask’ to the unconverted even if Brewdog only use it to distance themselves from CAMRA.
The very Brewdog interior was doing a good trade.
The Overworks Tap on the same (large) complex featured Brewdog’s experimental sour beers. Five on keg, ranging from £8-£10.60 a pint.
My Punnet provided a huge, sharp fruit hit. Brian’s Pinyin used jasmine tea to create a more mellow flavour.
This is not us.
On an otherwise glorious day Banff was shrouded in haar. The Market Arms was packed but no one else seemed to be drinking the ice cold Landlord or playing purple pool.
In keeping with the canine theme of the day we finished at the Copper Dog in Craigellachie, a small village with two GBG entries, where the Windswept Session IPA (4.5%) was on very good form.
Double figures for May belatedly achieved and a smidgeon of honour was restored. All of which leaves 47 to go.