The Great Outdoors?

Pubs reopened in Scotland last week. If you count reopening as only being able to drink alcohol outside that is, though you can have soft and hot drinks inside if the pub is open indoors. There is also the matter of a supposed maximum two hour permitted stay. It’s a bonkers rule that encourages the very things it seeks to prevent, as groups mingle and drink informally between bookings.

And that’s before we factor in the weather. Brian and I sat stoically quaffing as an icy wind cut its way through our feeble defences, akin to Messi playing against Brechin City. Our first stop was Jaw Brewery, now located in Milngavie, better known for being the start of the 96 mile West Highland Way.

Brian: West Highland Way veteran

Jaw was set up by Mark Hazell in 2014, named after a geographical feature near his home. The logo uses the image of a whale’s jawbone.

The brewery moved from an industrial estate to the present site over the a year ago, but obviously hasn’t been open to the public much since then.

Not Mark but cakes

Mark told us he was brewing about a third as much as at pre-pandemic levels, and was focusing on the new taproom and the Bardowie gin side of the business. He had one on cask – Drop, styled as a 4.2% session IPA – and four on keg, including the welcome, warming 7.1% spiced winter beer Laga Maris.

There are three tables at the front, with more planned at the sheltered back. Only two other people, gamely sipping gin, were daft enough to share the artic air. Who needs ice when there’s hailstones?

We decided to heat ourselves up with a walk to the Burnbrae, a Good Beer Guide regular at various times, and a large food-oriented pub. Neither of us would normally give much gullet space to Old Speckled Hen or Greene King IPA, but in these strange times both were sampled and found to be in good condition.

There was time for a couple more beers, disembarking at Patrick as the Lismore was open and doing a brisk trade despite the chill. It’s a fine old bar with some pleasing glass work.

And toilets with long memories.

They normally put a Kelburn beer on here but today it was only Deuchars, served in good form. We were positioned on a table with three men of Clydebank, Brian making a fourth. Talk centred around the Bankies, brilliant former players (Davie Cooper, Gerry McCabe) and famous matches. Colin showed us what he’s made of.

While Des and Campbell kept us entertained, oblique and not so oblique references being made to the latter’s enthusiasm for women. Sure enough, he disappeared and returned twenty minutes later with a woman. Being 68 and totally blitzed was clearly no impediment to his methods.

It seemed like the right time to leave for the train home.

11 thoughts on “The Great Outdoors?

  1. I remember the Burnbrae from about 20 years ago. If it wasn’t for Greene King, and Marston, and Spoons, those most hated of pub titans, there wouldn’t be much cask up your way, would there ?

    I’m always disappointed in the IPA. 20-30 years ago there were a few landlords in Cambridge (the Free Press and Champion especially) who treasured it, but nowadays it’s the first beer to leave the line-up when someone buys out their Greene King pub. It WAS good in that Little Mester in North Anston though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “It’s a bonkers rule that encourages the very things it seeks to prevent, as groups mingle and drink informally between bookings.”

    There’s never any rhymer or reason to these rules at the best of times. I mean, limiting store hours just means more people shopping at any one time. And don’t get me started on wearing a mask inside a restaurant if you stand up!
    (my wife won’t go to restaurants with me as I try to crab-walk to the loo so I can stay at seated height, thus not needing to wear my mask) 😉

    “akin to Messi playing against Brechin City.”

    I fear BBM (or LAF) has started to rub off on you, Martin and Si! 🙂

    “better known for being the start of the 96 mile West Highland Way.”

    The US (of course) has at least one that is MUCH longer:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_Trail

    Up here in Canada, Vancouver Island has one that is shorter but not for the faint of heart:

    https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/activ/SCO-WCT

    (my very fit youngest tried the West Coast one a few years ago. I had to go get him halfway in as he twisted his ankle and wrenched a knee quite badly!)

    “The brewery moved from an industrial estate to the present site over the a year ago, but obviously hasn’t been open to the public much since then.”

    (sigh)

    “Not Mark but cakes”

    (the judges gave it some thought and decided… slow golf clap) 🙂

    – You were going for a play on cask mark I take it? 😉

    “including the welcome, warming 7.1% spiced winter beer Laga Maris.”

    Perfect for the weather that day!

    “Who needs ice when there’s hailstones?”

    You definitely need a mug with a lid on it!

    “Neither of us would normally give much gullet space to Old Speckled Hen or Greene King IPA, but in these strange times both were sampled and found to be in good condition.”

    There’s a lot of that lately. 😉
    (and I had 500ml cans of Old Speckled Hen in my fridge just last week)

    “It’s a fine old bar with some pleasing glass work.”

    On the window, shouldn’t they be covering up the bit on the bottom left that says ‘please go inside to be seated’?

    “And toilets with long memories.”

    LOL, and (slow golf clap) to them!

    “Talk centred around the Bankies, brilliant former players (Davie Cooper, Gerry McCabe) and famous matches.”

    Blimey. It’s all footy lately with you lot. 😉

    “Being 68 and totally blitzed was clearly no impediment to his methods.”

    In other words, he’d lost his sense of fear! 🙂

    “It seemed like the right time to leave for the train home.”

    Agreed!

    Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 2,200 miles claims the prize. That West Coast trail looks hard going. Didn’t deserve the cake mark clap- should have captioned it Cask Mark (but it wasn’t Mark). Must try harder….

      Like

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