Fort William appears to have about six pubs and only two of them appear to do real ale. The first is the Nevisport Bar, which has three handpumps, with two ales from Isle Of Skye brewery (yum) and one from Tetley (oh well). Tucked under a shop at the northern end of the High Street, it's a cosy little bar with basic food.
The second pub is called the Grog and Gruel and is owned by the same people who run the Clachaig Inn (see later). The Grog is a bare floored pub specialising in Scottish ales. While we were there they had on brews from Atlas, An Teallach and Fraoch. All the beers were in excellent condition and good, basic food was also available. There is a restaurant upstairs, but best to book as this is always busy.
The following day saw us tackling Ben Nevis the hard way via the Comte Arrett. After walking up and down the biggest mountain in the UK, we were about ready for a beer (or 10 !). We had noticed a building just after starting on the initial path. On the way down this turned out to be a pub called the Ben Nevis Inn. Although not in the GBG, a quick "do you fancy a beer" saw us heading into this pub, expecting only keg beer. Imagine our delight when hiding on the bar was a solitary handpump dispensing a very well kept Atlas Latitude. Barman "here look like a couple of thirsty guys", Lambic monster "never mind a pint, pass the barrel....". Anyway, this seemed like a very nice place to stop, a cosy beamed building doing what looked and smelt like good food, very quickly filled up with tired thirsty hill walkers . It was back to Fort William, although I'm sure the Ben Nevis Inn has a halo over it....
The following day saw us in a place called Kinlocheven, which just happens to house a very good climbing centre with an ice wall and ... yup, a brewery. Atlas Brewery looks like a fabulous little place and peering through the window you can see the fermenting vessels etc. Unfortunately the front door was locked and we couldn't see anyone, so we headed out to make a quick stop at the Clachaig Inn just outside of Glencoe. This is an almost must stop for people after tackling the Anon Cegach set of ridges. Multi roomed, it does live music, good food and cracking ale. Again it appears to specialise in Scottish beers. Its worth finding for the location alone !
My next two trips have been abroad again. August saw me back in Bamberg, having organised a trip for some friends. I won't go into this in any detail as this can be found in my previous jottings. I didn't actually get anywhere new in Bamberg except for a new brew pub, almost next door to Schlenkerla, whose beers need a bit of work as they were rather bland, Bamberg hasn't changed. Look, just go there OK, you don't know what you're missing ! However, it was my happy duty to present the owner/brewer of Schlenkerla with an award of Joint Winner of the Best Foreign Beer at this years summer festival.
To be continued again