Skip to content

Tag: BrewDog

FyneFest Trip – Day 9

Back to London, on to Brussels

And just like that, it was time to head home again… After a bit of trouble getting my bag packed—adding a couple of T-shirts, a jumper, some whisky and beer glasses, and quite a few cans of beer will have that effect—I had my last breakfast and a coffee at the DogHouse, and I checked out.

I was in the station quite early, so I hung out in the LNER lounge for a bit, until the Azuma to London was ready to board.

In London, I had a couple of hours to kill, which I spent at BrewDog Camden, conveniently close to both King’s Cross and St Pancras International station. But eventually it was time to board the Eurostar, with which my FyneFest trip has come to an end…

FyneFest Trip – Day 8

Edinburgh

After a very good night in the DogHouse—just a tiny bit more comfortable and warm than the yurt—it was time for some waffles and chicken, to get ready for a full day in Edinburgh, starting with a coffee at The Milkman.

The National Museum of Scotland is always a pleasure to visit, even after having seen all the permanent exhibitions. An interesting free temporary exhibition this time was about The Typewriter Revolution, which I then visited, before enjoying the views from the rooftop terrace.

Then it was about beer o’clock again, starting at where it all started for me, BrewDog Cowgate, followed by a place new to me, the Salt Horse. In between I simply had to grab a tattie dog at The Piemaker, because, why not? To change things up a bit, I also had a wee dram at the Bow Bar, where I had a nice chat with some other patrons, who recognised me from FyneFest.

Another place I won’t skip whenever I’m in Edinburgh, is Wings. This time, I tried the Deep Spice Nine rub, and The Genghis Khan, Pyong Damn, and Schticky Wingsh sauces. Again very tasty, but apparently hotness level three is still quite mild for me, so the next time I’ll have to make sure I pick some of level four and higher!

After dinner I had a couple of bar stools booked in The Wee Vault, Vault City’s taproom. Since the place has more taps than seats, a booking was very much recommended! Enjoyed some great pastry sours there, and couldn’t resist the temptation to buy a glass. So add that to the FyneFest festival pint glass, and the whisky glasses received after the distillery tour…

While in the area, I also visited Monty’s—quite a classic bar, but with some great beers, even on cask—and BrewDog Lothian Road. To finish the evening—and basically my visit of Edinburgh—I had a couple of beers in the DogHouse Edinburgh, since it was basically already closed when I arrived late the night before.

FyneFest Trip – Day 7

Back to Glasgow to hash

After a last bacon and egg roll, it was time to say goodbye to the glen and the coos, and to get on the bus back to Glasgow.

After a pancake brunch at the Stack & Still, and staying at BrewDog Kelvingrove for a couple of hours, for some last beers at one of my favourite bars in Glasgow, and to get the festival blog updates online, I slowly made my way south.

The first stop was at Ride Brewing Co., which didn’t actually have their taproom open, but the brewer was happy to sell me some cold cans. Second stop was of course at the Koelschip Yard.

The final destination in Glasgow was at Eala Bhán. Not for the food or beer though, but to meet up and run with the Glasgow Hash House Harriers. They couldn’t believe I didn’t get my hash name yet, so they named me right then and there! Henceforth I’ll be known as “Out of Kilter”, although my home kennel might have to say a thing or two about that…

Then I caught the last train to Edinburgh, to finally check into my hotel for the next two nights: DogHouse Edinburgh. What a contrast with that yurt!

FyneFest Trip – Day 3

Motherwell & Pre-Festival

The last day in Glasgow was spent mostly out of the city. First up was a visit to BrewDog’s Hop Hub, their Scottish, refrigerated distribution centre, which of course also has a bar. It’s a bit in the middle of nowhere though, not particularly public transport user friendly… But I hadn’t visited it yet—it was still closed during my Flying Scotsman Trip—and they had a 2-4-1 pizza offer on, so I had to go!

Once back in Glasgow, after a way too tight connection, another Citylink bus brought us to the Fyne Ales brewery, where FyneFest was about to start for the early birds. A nice cold can as a welcome was very much appreciated! The brewery taproom was only open until six, but luckily the Brewers Lounge was serving some beers after that, already with some live music to kick off the fun.

Cell reception isn’t great, but expect a full report of the next three festival days on Monday! Off for some more beers now…

FyneFest Trip – Day 2

Glasgow

My second day in Glasgow started with a hearty breakfast—including haggis—at Euro Hostel, followed by a long overdue visit to the Gallery of Modern Art. But yes, de duke of Wellington in front of it is still wearing his traffic cone, in case you were wondering.

After a coffee and biscoff brownie at Gordon Street Coffee, and a long walk, it was time to discover a new place: the Clydeside distillery. New, but just old enough to already have their own whisky, which—as you probably know—has to be matured in oak in Scotland for at least three years, to earn that name.

A quick stop at the Riverside Museum, and a short ride on the Glasgow Subway, and is was time for a bit more CRM: the Mackintosh House in the Hunterian Art Gallery. There I learned that coincidentally, it was a MacLaren—professor of art history Andrew McLaren Young—who saved the interiors when Mackintosh’s house was demolished.

By then it was well past beer o’clock, so a couple of cups (sic) at Inn Deep soon followed. After a nice walk along the Kelvin, I inevitably ended up at my home away from home, BrewDog Kelvingrove, which since the closure of BrewDog Rome, must be the BrewDog bar with the best view again!

FyneFest Trip – Day 1

Helensburgh & Glasgow

After arriving in Glasgow and dropping off the luggage at Euro Hostel, I went straight back on the train again, to Helensburgh. As a Charles Rennie Mackintosh fan, I went there to visit the Hill House, of course.

Back in Glasgow, I had a donut with coffee at Tantrum Doughnuts, and then another coffee at Riverhill Coffee, since it was right next door. By then I thought it was already late enough for some beers, at the Drury Street Bar & Kitchen, and at The Raven.

After a pie for dinner at the Babbity Bowster—and a pint of Jarl—I wanted to go to Blackfriars bar, but unfortunately it seems it hasn’t survived the pandemic… The rest of the evening was then spent at BrewDog Merchant City, which had quite a few very interesting guest beers on draught.

St. Andrew’s Day 2021

Happy St. Andrew’s Day!
Slàinte Mhath!

Unfortunately I have to work tonight, so I can’t properly celebrate, but I made myself a haggis shepherd’s pie to enjoy at work. That way, I’ll at least have a dinner appropriate for this festive occasion.

Flying Scotsman Trip – Epilogue

Now some time has passed, the bags are completely unpacked and back on the attic, and I’ve reverted to a slightly healthier lifestyle again, I’m taking some time to look back on my epic Flying Scotsman Trip. In general, it went remarkably well!

Trains & Buses

All the trains I booked well in advance—notably Eurostar, the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness, and the LNER back to London—were on time, and fully functional. Only the catering side was still a bit sub-par, due to COVID measures, or other reasons: no full menu on the sleeper—which I only know about because of a text message sent to my Belgian phone number, since I only had charcuterie and whisky—and they ran out of bacon rolls on the LNER way too soon!

Most of my ScotRail train tickets were flexible, although most of the time, I took the train I planned on taking anyway. I used the offer to upgrade to first class for £3 a couple of times, mainly because I really prefer solo seats, especially when travelling in a kilt. On one train, the train conductor refused to sell me the upgrade, but let me sit in first class for free, because I was ‘not getting anything in return anyway’… It was nice being able to buy and save all my tickets in-app, an option that wasn’t available yet when I first started planning this trip.

To get to Culloden Battlefield, to Peterhead and Ellon, and to St Andrews, I used Stagecoach buses, usually with digital DayRider tickets. They were never scanned, by the way, I just had to show them to the driver. It’s really convenient to have USB charging ports available on those buses.

In Glasgow and Edinburgh I only used digital tickets as well for the local buses, and for the Glasgow Subway the smartcard I still had from years before. I didn’t buy a single paper transport ticket the whole trip!

Hotels

In northeastern Scotland (Aberdeen, Dundee, and Perth) I stayed in Travelodge hotels. It’s remarkable how different they can be! The first one had two extra single beds in the room, the second one just one, and the third one —just when you’re getting used to having an extra bed to put your stuff on—only had the double bed I actually booked. The last one, in Perth, still used actual keys, instead of keycards!

In Glasgow I stayed at easyHotel, as I had oft before. No surprised there, but I do think I’ve started to outgrow them, or at least their smallest rooms: when travelling for over a week—with a rather large bag and a kilt to air out every night—a bit of extra space is not just a luxury anymore.

In Edinburg and London I stayed at a hub by Premier Inn hotel, in virtually indistinguishable rooms. Even though they discontinued the room control app they used to have, the ease with which you can still control everything—light, temperature, DND sign…—and plethora of USB and power outlets, both UK and EU, to keep everything charged, make these my favourite rooms of the trip. A really nice bathroom helped too… To my surprise the London hub even had a breakfast buffet, which was really convenient on my last day.

Beers & Bars

This was a very beer-centric trip, to say the least… Apart from the BrewDog bars—discussed separately below—I also visited quite a few other bars and taprooms in the towns and cities I visited. Scotland sure has a lot to offer in that department! Unfortunately I missed out on a few, due to their often (still) limited opening hours, especially on Sundays and the first couple of days of the week. I’ll just have to go back another time!

I actually had about a third of my beers in London, and almost half of the bars I visited were there! Considering the only noteworthy hangovers I had this trip were after a day or evening in London, next time I might avoid cramming so many London bars in my schedule…

BrewDog Bars, Stamps & Badges

So the BrewDog bars I visited in Scotland were BrewDog Inverurie, BrewDog Castlegate, BrewDog Aberdeen, BrewDog Peterhead, Dogtap Ellon, BrewDog Union Square, BrewDog St Andrews, BrewDog Dundee, BrewDog Perth, BrewDog Stirling, BrewDog Merchant City, BrewDog Kelvingrove, BrewDog Cowgate, and BrewDog Lothian Road.

When people hear I visited all of them, they tend to ask “Which was your favourite?” Now that’s a very hard question to answer! Some of them will always remain special to me: Cowgate was my first BrewDog bar ever, and where I drank my first BrewDog beers. In Kelvingrove I spent many hours—and had over a hundred beers, according to Untappd—and it still feels like home there… To fully appreciate the other bars, I should really revisit them a couple of times. A hungover afternoon visit, or being the first customer in for lunch, or the last customer on a Monday night, it just doesn’t compare to a visit on a buzzing Saturday night, or when meeting a friend during quiz night…

That being said, I had a great time in all of them. I didn’t catch anyone on a ‘bad day’, and felt very welcome in every single BrewDog bar. And even though I already tried most of the BrewDog beers on tap—and it didn’t take long to try the remaining ones—the guest beers were sufficiently different and interesting to keep me occupied for quite a while, and without having to drink the same beer twice.

To keep myself from forgetting to get my Beer Visa stamp, I usually put the booklet in front of me on the table. More than once, a crew member would come to my table with the stamp when they noticed it. It was really nice to see how much pride some took in making sure the stamp was the nicely centred and the right way up, and rather funny to get warnings about other bars, because ‘they always put the stamp upside down’…

I tried to get a pin badge in all bars as well, but some didn’t have any: I seem to be missing the ones for Inverurie, Ellon, St Andrews, and Merchant City. Another reason to go back soon?

Even though they swiped my EFP card in about half the bars, none of the digital stamps appeared automatically. After reporting them online however, they soon showed up, and even the Homedog and coveted Flying Scotsman challenge now appear as completed!

Kilts & Compliments

From the moment I alighted the Caledonian Sleeper, until the day I went back to London, I was wearing my eight yard MacLaren kilt, and I loved every minute of it. Some of the time I wore it with brogues—not ghillies!—and with proper garter ties, especially in more formal settings, like museums and memorials. Most of the time though, I wore it more informally, with a T-shirt, hiking boots, and the hose scrunched down, showing off my calf tattoos… Since I hardly ever wear shorts, I don’t get to do that very often!

As I’ve experienced before, even when a kilt isn’t an everyday occurrence, even in Scotland, no-one blinks an eye. If there is any reaction at all, it usually is a smile. On a couple of occasions, I even got a “Nice kilt”, or “Love your kilt” shoutout—thank you Glaswegian girls! When in one museum I suddenly noticed being followed by a guard, it turned out he had recognised my tartan, because he used to be in the Clan MacLaren Society council.

Only once this time, I was asked “Is Scotland playing tonight?” Apparently for some, that, and getting married, are the only reasons to kilt up! I don’t really need a reason though, and next time when I’m going to Scotland, I will definitely do it kilted again!

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 10

Last Call in London

The last day of my trip was a bit calmer than originally planned. Instead of hitting the streets early in the morning, after breakfast in the hotel, I just went back in my room for a couple of hours. I prepared for the return trip—making sure I don’t have to dig too deep for my Belgian SIM, Brussels transport card, an house keys—and edited and uploaded the photos for the blogpost of the previous day. Those pull-out desks they have at hub Hotel really are perfect for this!

Then it was time to head out to Dalston for my vegan lunch… only to find out BrewDog Dalston doesn’t open until 16.00 on Mondays!

I briefly considered coming back then, but when I also found out that BrewDog Old Street wasn’t even open, I decided to take it very easy my last day, and save both those bars for another trip.

I did however go to BrewDog Chancery Lane, and had the blackened cajun chicken bowl for lunch there. That place is way bigger than I expected, by the way!

After that, I already I picked up my bag at the hotel, and walked over to BrewDog Camden. I spent my last hour and a half there, to meet up with its GM Ryan after all, and a last couple of beers.

From there it was not even a twenty minute walk to the Eurostar terminal in St. Pancras International train station.

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 9

LNER back to London

After putting on my trousers again—and that feels weird and uncomfortable after a week in a kilt—I boarded the LNER Azuma to London. Unfortunately, because of railroad works, it would take a different route, and take around six hours to get there, instead of the usual four. At least I would be well fed and hydrated, or so I thought… They already ran out of bacon rolls by the time the trolly arrived at my seat! A cheddar and pickle pickle roll for breakfast is was, then. A bit after noon I was lucky enough—yes, lucky, since they skipped the early boarders to feed all the newcomers first to see if anything would be left—to get a chicken and salad sandwich as well. Plenty of tea and cold drinks, though, and even their own ale!

The longer ride, also meant less time in London, so a lot of places to visit in a short time. A quick checkin in my hub Hotel—with a view on King’s Cross train station, highly recommended for trainspotters—and off I went!

I managed to get to the Bermondsey Beer Mile in time and have a drink—sometimes even more than one—in the Hawkes Taproom (yes, for a stamp), 73 Enid Street | Cloudwater London, new kid on the block Craft Beer Junction, and finally The Kernel Taproom Arch 7.

Then I went to that other set of arches in Hackney, where I visited Brew Club, Hackney Church Brew Co., and The Experiment.

To finish the night, I went to the OG London BrewDog bar: BrewDog Camden. Never seen it that calm, but it was a Sunday night, and already getting late. Still enjoyed my time there, some bars always feel a bit like coming home…