Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Festive Williams Brew

This weekend at The Grog and Gruel we will be featuring a great winter brew from The Williams Brothers Brewery. "Yule Smile" at 4.5 % has become available over the past couple of weeks to tie in with the festive period. With a great evening of music from Sandra MacBeth on Friday night, we thought there would be no better time to try it out.

So if you are out and about over the weekend and fancy a nice beer, awesome music in great surroundings then The Grog and Gruel is the place to be. Only a limited supply of this great ale is available so try it while you can.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Hot Festive drinks.

So finally I put up the decorations in the bar. Before folk started calling us "Bar Humbug". Now full of festive cheer its time to unveil the Grog and Gruel Hot Winter drinks selection, made from the very best quality ingredients to old Grog and Gruel recipes.

You can choose between either our hot mulled wine or our warming hot toddy. Both guaranteed to keep you warm on the coldest of days. Both are available in the bar and the restaurant and will be available until the warm weather returns. Well worth popping in for.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Stuck for a present at Christmas??

Only a few weeks till Christmas, I bet there are still folk rushing about looking for those last minute stocking fillers. Some people can be so hard to buy gifts for. Here at The Grog and Gruel we can help with our limited edition "Champagne Heather Ale" made to celebrate 20 years of Williams Brothers Brewing Scotland's wonderful Heather Ale

We have only managed to get our hands on a very small number of these bottles, which are individually numbered, and there is already interest in them. At 11% and matured in ex-sherry casks used to mature single Speyside malt, these unique bottles of ale will prove to be a memorable gift for any ale enthusiast. At only £9.95 per 75cl bottle, you won't want to miss out on this rare opportunity to taste part of Heather Ale history.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Piggy Gifts

On trips to The Grog and Gruel you may notice the many pigs and pig related items around. Since before we opened Horace the Hog was planned as the mascot for The Grog and Gruel. Customers seem to really identify with our piggy friend and most of the pig gifts and items around the bar have been given to us by customers and friends. You may notice The Mighty Boar head of Sven above The Grog and Gruel bar, a gift from our local boar farm upon Sven's "retirement".

So just a note of thanks to one of our regulars who gave us this amusing salt and pepper set in the style of an amusing "piggy back" ride. Yes, that's what I said, "piggy back" ride. We are not an adult only blog. They will join the ranks of other piggy collectibles in the bar helping us pay homage to Horace The Hog !!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Over my dead body...

Don't you get it? We're a Traditional Alehouse. We do traditional things. We don't do new. We don't do different. We don't do modern. We've got nicotine stained walls and we certainly don't do silly things like online social networks. Over my dead body...

Oh bugger! That's me out voted again!

Become a fan of The Grog & Gruel on Facebook. Whatever that means!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Winter opening

As usual Winter is creeping up on us. The nights are getting darker. The mornings are getting colder and you can already see crazy people putting up Christmas Decorations. Another Summer has passed us by in a flash and the time to hibernate is upon us. Although you may think that this means it is time for The Grog and Gruel to completely switch off you'd be wrong. It's time for all the maintenance jobs, staff training, menu reviewing and planning for next year to take place.

As a lot of this cannot take place during trade we will be closing on quieter trading nights. So from Nov 8th till Dec 17th we will be closed all together on Sundays. This is great for staff morale as we now can all watch antiques roadshow together. From November 8th till Dec 17th the restaurant will only be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Unless we have prior knowledge of a Christmas booking. Food will be available as usual from Noon till Nine in our Alehouse and closing time in our alehouse will be dependant on trade. So the more customers we have the later we will open (nudge, nudge).

This should not have a dramatic affect on our customers as the changes have been made after analysis of trade and after we have a few very quiet nights playing "Win, Lose or Draw" with customers. To view our opening hours for The Christmas/festive period click here.

Friday, 9 October 2009

October is Cider Month

We at the Grog and Gruel not only like to supply you with very best local produce but also seasonal produce as well. This can sometimes mean going a bit further a field than we would like for products. Sometimes even venturing South of Glen Coe. One harvest that is in full production at the moment is cooking apples for cider. This is why CAMRA have nominated October to be Cider month.

So for the whole of October we will be selling Traditional Cask Conditioned hand pulled Thatcher's Cider. Although in England Cask Cider is in abundance it very rarely travels North of the border. This is something that is changing and with a 13% increase in cider sales in Scotland this year it seems that it maybe something customers are looking for also. At 6% Thatcher's Heritage Cider has been produced in Somerset for over 100 years on a family farm. Originally made to top up workers wages on the farm and now 100 years later it is available in most Supermarkets and now at the Grog and Gruel.

Again I had a small taste (hic!) of the cider once it had settled in the cellar and can say it is very drinkable. It has also proven a great ingredient in the kitchen featuring in our own "Pork and Cider Pie" which sold out the first lunch service it was on sale. Well worth dragging yourself out the house for on a cold October night.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Blaeberry Ale At The Grog

As you know we here at The Grog and Gruel are always trying to find new and exciting beers to tempt our customers. Over the years we have seen many different ingredients added to the brewing process to add interesting flavours. We have seen wheat beer, nut beer, oatmeal beer, seaweed beer and heather beer and these are only in the last couple of years.

As hops were not a traditional Scottish crop we see some great beer recipes coming from old Scots recipes and the Picts. These include heather ale, seaweed and blaeberry ale and many more. If you venture into the Grog this week you will be able to sample two great cask ales from old pictish recipes, Fraoch Heather Ale and Isle of Skye "Cuillingorm" a Blaeberry ale.

I have already tried the Cuillingorm can say it is very drinkable. A smooth tawny ale with a deep fruity flavour. This is a seasonal brew and will only be available for a short time so well worth trying while the blaeberries are in season. As always in The Grog and Gruel we would encourage you to ask for a small sample of the beer as we are sure you will find it hard to resist a full pint to truly taste this great ale.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Going, going, gone...

Having seen the race conditions on Saturday we're surprised that the runners didn't come into the Alehouse all asking for warming cups of tea and hot chocolate. It was a bit wild up there!

But no, the bar was packed with plenty of tales of 30 mph winds, lashing rain and perhaps one of the stormier days on Ben Nevis this year. And rather than tea, it was our special Ben Nevis Race Ale that was the tipple of choice. Made exclusively for The Grog & Gruel by those talented folk at the Isle of Skye Brewery, we quickly sold 3 barrels of the stuff. And if you fancy a taste then you'd better be quick as its likely to be completely sold out by the end of the day.

So, another year over for the Ben Nevis Race. Nice to see so many familiar faces, including that of a certain victorious runner from Yorkshire who may well have been first across the line, but was the last to leave the pub!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Ben Nevis Race Weekend

Are you ready for it? Well, chances are that if you're not ready now then you won't ever be ready for the annual Ben Nevis Race this Saturday.

Half way! The Red Burn with the dreaded 'grassy bank' on the right hand side.

We're expecting to see a fair few Ben runners through the doors over the weekend so there'll be plenty of pasta available on Friday night and plenty of our special Ben Race Ale on Saturday night.

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Yes!! We have no pizzas !!

At the heart of the Grog and Gruel kitchen lies our trusty old reliable pizza oven. It has stood in place since the day we opened back all the way in 1994, when Blur were in the charts with "Parklife" and "Forest Gump" was in the cinema, good times. Over the past 15 years it has never let us down.

Picture the scene..Its mid summer in the Grog and Gruel. We are at peak trading with a full restaurant and bar with lots of hungry mouths to feed. Suddenly there is a loud bang and a bright flash and suddenly the Pizza oven fails to respond. After a lot of poking and tampering we realise there is nothing we can do. We now have to let customers know there will be a lot of disappointment.

We immediately get on the case of trying to find someone to fix our problem. Sounds easy? Well, no. After speaking to numerous catering technicians and electricians we finally get someone to look at it and find the parts we need to replace. We try to source the parts only to find not only has the original company vanished but also the company who took over from them has also vanished. Finally after days of phone calls and pulling hair out, we find a company that will custom make the parts we need. This will take over a week.

So, now we are waiting for our hand crafted parts to be sent to us. All this just to make a simple pizza. So for the next week to ten days we will have no pizza, or quesadilla's. The rest of our alehouse and restaurant menu is still in operation. Our chefs get a break from endless kneading of dough and spinning of pizza bases. Maybe next time you sit down to enjoy an authentic freshly made pizza you will think of the hassle a simple meal can be.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Trial by internet

Its taken a while, but finally we've got a review on TripAdvisor. In fact, we've got 2 reviews, although you'll have to look carefully as we've also got 2 entries!

Not sure how this happened, but it appears that if you'd like to add a review of The Grog & Gruel on TripAdvisor then you've got to choose between The Grog & Gruel or The Grog AND Gruel.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

World Trial Championship 2010

Hot on the heels of the Mountain Bike World Cup comes the news that the web site for the 2010 SPEA FIM World Trial Championship due to take place at Nevis Range in late June 2010 has now gone live.

Ok, so its a bit of a way off just yet, but given the antics of bikes without engines last weekend, I reckon its going to be worth seeing what a little petrol power can do. Try visiting the web site and signing up for the news updates.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Mountain Bike World Cup

As expected, another busy weekend in Fort William, as the Mountain Bike World Cup came to town. The weather gods smiled upon us, keeping it dry and midge free for the weekend. Great to see another huge crowd at the event, and great to see the High Street busy, busy...

The atmosphere at The Grog & Gruel was great. Live music provided by Sandra MacBeth and the Shoogle Sisters on both Friday and Sunday nights helped. As did a dazzling array of beers, with the rarely seen William Bros. Grozet (Gooseberry ale) selling faster than hot cakes (and the Venison & Grozet Pie on sale in the restaurant).

The highlight of the weekend was again the men's downhill, but mention should be made of the British Trials Championship too. Whilst that pic above of the chap about to commit cycle suicide by jumping off the log is impressive, spare a thought for the juniors tackling the slightly easier course along side. Big respect!

Great weekend!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Party in the Fort

In case you've been living under a rock recently, its World Cup Mountain Biking weekend in Fort William. We expect another busy weekend at The Grog & Gruel and were ready for it.

On the off chance that you can be drawn away from the town's favourite watering hole, there is a bit of entertainment going on this Saturday. Here's the blurb... (click on it to make it grow bigger!)I bet their burgers aren't as good as ours!

We'll be up at Nevis Range on Sunday, cheering on Downhill Champ Steve Peat. Hot on the heels of his most recent win in Andorra, here's hoping that he can turn on the magic for the home crowd in Fort William.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Any old iron...

Ok, so they're not made from iron, but aluminium. But that doesn't really make a good subject line does it? Any old aluminium. No. Anyway, we've got lots and lots of them. And try as we might, its a bit of a struggle getting rid of them.

Speak to any brewer about their operating costs and right up there along with the cost of distribution and the upward pressure on hops and other raw materials will be the cost of kegs. And quite likely the difficulty of acquiring them. So you'd think that most brewers would want them back again pretty sharpish, would you?

G&G: We've got 25 of your kegs in our garden and we can't get the delivery guys to uplift them. Can you arrange for an uplift? There's also 25 at Clachaig too; similar problems.

Caledonian: Right we'll request an uplift of all 50.

Carrier arrives with an uplift line for 1 keg and won't take any more.

Week 2.
G&G: We've still got 24 of your kegs in our garden and we can't get the delivery guys to uplift them. Can you arrange for an uplift? There's also still 25 at Clachaig too.

Caledonian: Right, sorry about that. We'll arrange for an uplift.

Carrier arrives with an uplift line for 1 keg. Neil sneaks round the back and stuffs as many as he can fit into the truck. But there's still a heap of them in the garden.

Week 3.
G&G: Does anyone want some beer kegs?!

And its not just Caledonian Brewery that we're struggling with. At times the stock pile of kegs reaches well over a hundred, with similar numbers at Clachaig. And each time we think we're going to get rid of them, we (Neil) has to carry them all down the steps, through the Alehouse and onto the High Street, only to be disappointed and carry them back again when it all goes t*ts up.

Carlsberg did exactly this last week. Leave them out and we'll be back at 4pm they said. Which day, we're wondering as they were still here a week later.

God, its annoying. Time spent chasing getting rid of empties when it should be spent chasing the customers. Grrrrr....!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Fort William Wheelchair Curling

And there was I thinking that the town had got its act together and not only was there a rink where you could try some Curling, but that it also had disabled facilities too...

D'oh! Wrong country.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Three Sheets to the Wind

We're that dedicated and that passionate about our beer at The Grog & Gruel that even when we're not slaving away, striving to serve you the perfect pint, we're reading books about beer. Either that or we're really boring and haven't got any mates. Regardless, here we bring you the debut of The Grog Book Club.

Ok, so I'm not really that into writing about why I found this book interesting or otherwise. Far too traumatic as it reminds me too much of English Literature classes at school. What the hell was that Shakespeare bloke on about? And why couldn't he write in proper english like wot I do.

Anyway, a fairly interesting read and some interesting observations about beer and the world today. Particularly interesting are the comparisons of the liberal attitudes to licensing elswhere in the world and the lack of problems with more British traits such as late night post-pub trouble and binge drinking. Sobering thoughts (see what I did there!) in these times where Licensing in Scotland is going through huge changes.

Back your copy from your local book shop, check out Amazon, or get in touch and you can have mine if it hasn't been scooped up on Read It Swap It already.

Monday, 11 May 2009

On yer bike

Another busy week at The Grog & Gruel. Well it should be really, as its the week that the show comes to town. The trials show that is. The Scottish Six Day Trial takes over the West End car park for week, the hotel car parks on the golden mile are full of Mercedes Sprinters and Vitos all covered in cool graphics, and men in big boots ride motor bikes with no saddles out into the wilds of Lochaber.

Typically, the weather couldn't have been much worse. Come Monday the tropical downpours began. By Saturday things had improved little, but the winter snows had returned. But oddly enough, when the show packed up on Sunday the sun came out and the temperatures had climbed back into the high teens. However, chances are these guys don't really mind the weather. After all, they do ride those things up streams even when its not raining.

Its always a great week. Lots of really appreciative customers through the bar and the restaurant. Take a peak at some of the photos of the High Street show on the Outdoor Capital blog.

Next year Fort William plays host to the Trial World Championship over the weekend of 26th an 27th June. You can register for more information as it comes available on the dedicated web site.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Swine Flu Fever !!

As swine flu seems to be spreading across the globe and many folk are taking to avoiding Pork, Flying over seas, and Mexican food, we would like to re assure our customers that here at the Grog and Gruel we are swine flu free. None of the wild boar from Beauly we use has ever visited Mexico, If they had I'm sure they'd be 'cured'. Earlier in the day I was concerned so I phoned the emergency swine flu hot line...unfortunately all I got was 'crackling'.

A customer told me they were suffering from snuffling, coughing and sweating and that they must have swine flu however I think they are telling 'porkies'. On a serious note, with all the global recession business and now a pandemic approaching, now is the best time to go to the Grog and relax with a nice pint of cask ale...the perfect 'oinkment'.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Good bye Easter !!

So Easter is well and truly over. Everyone is back to school or work and all the chocolate is gone. Fort William saw a very busy time in Fort William with a great spell of good weather, even some Ben Nevis sunburn victims were recorded. Easter also saw a record number of pints and pies sold at our "Pint and a Pie" Festival. The pies proved so popular we found ourselves having to place emergency pastry orders.
Down to business tho, and the big question is "who is the winner of the best ale of the festival?". As always we allow customers to vote for the beer they enjoy the most over the two weeks. As always the results were surprising especially when the quality and range of ales were the best we've seen here at the Grog. The winner was Kelpie Seaweed ale made by those clever Williams Brothers, with Ben Nevis 80/- coming in a close second. Great to see customers at the Grog are brave enough to try a taste of Seaweed ale. But the end of the beer festival ain't the end of the world and we will be show casing another 9 local cask ales this weekend to wash away your thirst. So pop in and see what we've got to tempt you with.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Chinese Whispers on the web

Right then, what's this a picture of? If you guessed "Mario is fixing the roof of a house", then you'd be spot on. Chances are you'd also either have cheated, or be clearly quite mad. What am I on about?
Visit Broken Picture Telephone and all will be revealed. The name itself means nothing to me. But if you called it Chinese Whispers, then I'd have a better idea as to what this was. Maybe its a regional thing, or perhaps an age thing? Or maybe Chinese Whispers is just plain racist and morally offensive in the 21st century.

So, basically, someone comes up with a written description and someone else then draws a picture of it. The next person then writes what he sees in the picture. And on it goes, with (as they say on TV) hilarious consequences. Here's a couple of games to have a look at. Try the rest of the Mario one, or perhaps the pen is mightier than the sword.

So, when next bored silly in The Grog & Gruel, simply fire up your lap top, make use of our free wireless internet connection and have yourself a quick game of Broken Picture Telephone.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Oh my god! It's Acousticrat.

One of the better advertising posters for live music at The Grog & Gruel.

See them play live at The Grog & Gruel on Wednesday 27th May, or take a peak at their MySpace page.

For more details of live music at Fort William's favourite pub, keep an eye on our Diary Page.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Say aye tae a pork pie

So, the Easter Beer Festival has been and gone, and with it all those wonderful pies you've been enjoying over the last fortnight. More on the festival to follow soon, but for those of you who've had pie withdrawal symptoms, here's the ideal solution.

Pies by post!

The Rowan Cottage Kitchen is a small business based way out west at Newton of Ardtoe (that's just beyond Acharacle and the beach nearby is reason enough to go and visit). They came across to Clachaig last night to meet some of the local B&B businesses at the informal 'gathering' of the trade. Great to meet such enthusiasm for doing business.

They say that pies inspired them to start their little business, and pie fans everywhere can certainly appreciate why. And fear not, for you don't need to wait for a sunny day and a trip to the beach to go and buy one of their pies. No, they'll post one to you.

Thing is, I can't work out how much Piccalilli I need to go with a 2 kilogram Pork Pie!

Visit the Rowan Cottage Kitchen web site.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Cask Marque Accreditation

Our Easter Ale & Pie festival is well under way and we have already got through a fair number of casks and munched through a large number of pies. With 9 local beers for customers to taste it was a great time for us to be visited by our cask marque inspector. For those of you who are not in the trade Cask Marque is an independent check of the temperature, appearance, aroma and taste of the cask ale being served. As always the Grog & Gruel got top marks for all the ale being served at the time of the random, twice yearly inspection. This is no surprise as we are consistently checking the ales for consistent high quality in-house. Why not pop in for a pint and put us to the test yourself??

Monday, 30 March 2009

Festival starting line up !

Only 3 days to go to the Easter Ale festival and we can now release which ales will be included in the opening line up. All your favourite breweries will be included like Isle of Skye, An teallach, Atlas and Williams Brothers. Ten hand pumps will be on the bar and beers to be included Caledonian 80/-, Black Cuillin, Latitude Pilsner, Williams Red and more.

An Teallach has been in particularly good form of late and has been getting rave reviews in the bar. Remarkable what a man with a keen interest in cask ale can brew up in his barn. I think An teallach is a favourite to win the title of "Best Ale of the Festival" voted for by our customers.

My own personal favourite is also included in the line up. Kelpie Seaweed ale from Williams Brothers is also making an appearance. In addition to the seaweed (Bladder rack) harvested on the Argyll coast, they have also used organically grown malt. Kelpie is a rich chocolate ale which has an aroma of fresh seabreeze and a distinctive malty texture. How many of you will be brave enough to try a Seaweed Ale??Rememer..we'll even let you taste the ale before you buy a pint. It all starts on Thursday so don't be late or risk missing some of these great ales.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Tail of Sven

The countdown to our Easter Ale and Pie Festival has begun, only 5 days to go and we are very excited. The ale is settling in the cellar, The final touches are being made to our pie recipes and the staff are undergoing long tasting sessions. With all this hullabaloo going on it's not surprising that some folk have missed the new 'face' at the Grog.

Let me introduce to you Sven the wild boar. Isn't he beautiful? Sven is a gift from our local supplier of wild boar which we use for our sausages, Burgers and Chilli. He was raised on a farm in Beauly, home of Boars of Beauly. In fact The Grog and Gruel and Clachaig Inn buy all the boar meat Beauly has to offer. Sven had a harem of 9 female sows he serviced. He is a reliable 'producer' of large baby boys,the record holder weighing in at 96.4kg at 14 months. Sven's estimated weight was in the region of 250-300kg during the rutting season when they can put on up to 25% extra weight.

We feel very proud to be the home of Sven now that his working life is over. It's nice to be able to show our customers exactly where their Boar Burgers, and Chilli have come from. It's also very nice to receive such a nice gift from one of our local suppliers, another great reason to keep things local. So next time you pop in for a pint in the Grog raise a glass to Sven as he peacefully he enjoys his retirement.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Corny Caption Contest

Plans for our Easter "Pie & a Pint" Beer Festival continue to develop. The flyer is now designed and will hit general distribution later this week through a variety of email and snail channels. Here's a copy if you've not signed up to our mailing lists.

Note that we're running a 'corny caption contest' based on our general pie theme. Our graphics chap has set the bar with his stunningly bad 'somewhere over the rainbow wae a pie..." (think about it a little). So if you fancy wining some Grog & Gruel goodies, including a slap up meal for 2, then let us have your (truly terrible) pie slogan. The pie's the limit!

Monday, 16 March 2009

And the award goes to ....

Things seem so bleak just now, global recession, costs rising, and a dwindling Fort William High Street dwindling. Good news items are few and far between. Imagine my delight when I received word that The Grog and Gruel had become "CAMRA pub of the year Fort William and Lochaber 2009". The award is voted for by CAMRA members for pubs who are dedicated to the highest quality cask conditioned ale sold in the best quality surroundings. As this years has seen more entries to the competition and a lot more votes it really is something to be proud of.

So how did we manage to win such a prestigious award? Well, we rely on the top quality Highland ales from our local suppliers. An alehouse can only be as good as the ale it sells. Luckily we are surrounded by great brewers working hard to provide great ales for our cellar. We work closely with the local breweries giving feedback and taking suggestions so a good partnership is created and the ale being sold is in the top notch quality. We have also been graced with good staff working hard to keep and serve ale in the best possible condition.

Finding new ways of selling cask ale is also something which we work tirelessly on. This April will see our first Easter 'Pint & a Pie' festival. We take the finest local cask ales, add some great music and entertainment, and create a great selection of tasty and imaginative pies and from this a festival is born. This is just one of the ways we hope to tempt customers to go for a pint in Lochaber newly crowned "Pub of the year 2009"... woot !!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Drink Local

Word is that whilst Gordon Brown is taxing us to death and the Scottish Executive appear hell bent on controlling alcohol abuse by putting lots of small businesses out of business and letting the supermarkets off the hook, small independent breweries are actually doing ok.
SIBA, the society of independent brewers, had their annual gathering recently (p*** up, breweries, etc.....?!) and announced that their volumes are up 10%. Very much against the trend of the drinks industry as a whole in the current climate.

For the last 15 years, The Grog & Gruel has been showcasing local beers from breweries in the Highlands & Islands. And we've long since realised that staying local and avoiding national fads, often driven by large advertising budgets, is the best policy. Good news stories are a bit thin on the ground at the moment so this is very welcome news.

Join us with our celebrations at our Easter Beer Festival, which just happens to coincide with National Cask Ale Week.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Easter Festival Headlining Act !!

After a lot of missed phone calls, and diary planning, we are pleased to announce "Sandra MacBeth and the Shoogle Sisters" as our "Pie n a Pint"festival opener on April 2nd 2009. Sandra is one of Scotland's hardest working and prolific Singer/Song writers and has been a popular favourite in The Grog for many years. She is always in the company of some of Scotland's best musicians too.

To sample her work check out her myspace site or check out her song "Moon Eyes" on youtube, the full video was too big to upload here. She is the favoured artist on my ipod at the moment. So if you wanna have an exceptional evening of great ale, a hearty pie and some of the best music around you know where to be on the 2nd of April.

Internet Networking Communities

As our website increases in popularity and the number of contacts from our website increases we decided to look for new ways to try and reach new customers through the net. As most people now seem to be busy typing away on various Internet networking sites this seems to be the way folk would like to be kept informed on whats going on at the Grog and Gruel.

At the moment we are building our friends list and we need more folk to add us. To see our myspace site go to To access our Bebo site go to Both will be updated along with the website and blog by our e-marketing department. We hope this will mean a lot more folk will be able to keep in touch with us in the way they prefer, and remember to keep in contact with your friends while on the move why not stop at the Grog for a pint and use of our free unlimited WIFI?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Quiz Night Announced !!

Yes indeed !! We have finally confirmed our quiz nights for the weeks over Easter,during our "pie n a pint" Ale festival. On Tuesday April 7th and on Tuesday April 14th we will be featuring quiz nights as part of our Easter celebrations. Probing questions are being stolen from various sources as I type on a whole range of topics.

We have even found knowledgeable and fully qualified local celebrities to host the evenings In exchange for a few pints and a good feed. Folk will do some crazy things for a pint of ale and a good Grog n Gruel pie.

We have so many amazing prizes, yet to be confirmed, we couldn't list them all here. We can however guarantee that it is well worth popping along.

As always these are evenings in the Grog and Gruel are not to be missed. A great selection of cask ales, top notch food, and great company.... But will any of you be able to beat the local yacht club quiz team. The local "egg heads" start revising now.

Monster ceilidh band cancelled !!

Bad news indeed folks !! Just as I finished dusting off my dancing shoes I got a call to say that "The Monster Ceilidh Band" would be cancelling their gig on Thursday. They had a full week of Scottish dates planned with 3 gigs in one venue in Inverness over the week. Unfortunately this Inverness venue has pulled out last minute. As The Monsters are based in Newcastle a trip up north is only viable with a full list of dates.

Although the band were happy to travel up to keep the gig they had with us it would be a huge expense to them for a small gig. I tried to chat to other venues to fill the empty dates but few folk will get involved in such last minute bookings, especially in this economic climate. Well at least my dancing shoes are ready for the next time they are needed.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Monster Ceilidh Band

Our first Live music date of 2009 is approaching. Thursday 26th of February will see 'The Monster Ceilidh Band" raising the roof in The Grog and Gruel. This will be the first time 'The Monsters' have been to Fort William and it's a date not to be missed.

Although they will be returning later in the year, this will be the first time to listen to their new material as they start off on their Highland tour on their way into the North. A great night of music and ale guaranteed and as always "the best show in town!"

Thursday, 12 February 2009

A Pie & a Pint

Coming soon..., news of our Easter Beer Festival which, building on the success of SausageFest 2008, will this year will follow the theme of the traditional pub staple, the Pie & the Pint!

The beer festival kicks off on Thursday 2nd April and will run over the Easter fortnight, finally winding down, or it that going out with a bang, on Saturday 18th April. Expect some good food, some excellent beer, and the odd bit of entertainment too.

More on the Blog and The Grog & Gruel web site diary page as we firm up plans. In the meantime we need to continue the painstaking research to ensure that we taste the pies and ales to ensure that they are worthy of inclusion. Hic, burp... etc.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

'Open Mic' for Valentines

On Saturday the 14th of February The Grog and Gruel will be teaming up with Oxjam to host an open mic night. The aim of Oxjam is to raise money to help end poverty by way of music. Most of us have seen the efforts of our local Oxjam group in the High Street over the last few months, if you have wondered what it's all about or how to help this initiative then Saturday night will be a great opportunity.

Our past open mic nights have been a great success and we have always been 'surprised' by the talents hidden away in Lochaber. We've had everything from beat boxing, guitars, singing and (everyone's favourite) the German poetry. The German poetry was the only act to clear the pub. So don't be shy and come show us what you can do this weekend. Or just pop along for a listen and a pint.

Friday, 30 January 2009

New Ale for February

The first month of 2009 has been and gone. I'm starting to notice it getting a bit lighter in the mornings. However there are still some nice winter ales to be had to keep out the cold. During February we will be featuring Williams Brothers Midnight Sun. A dark spicy porter with and ABV of 5.8%.
Although not a new ale to The Grog and Gruel, it will be new to most folk. We cannot guarantee it will be on all the time in February due to the unreliability of trade at the moment being balanced with keeping top quality ales. Just another reason to keep popping into the Grog to see what ales are on offer today.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Now open 7 days a week!! (again)

Finally the darkest part of the winter is drawing to an end. All the major work has been done in preparation for "the green shoots" of recovery of the economy to be grasped. This means will be returning to our usual 7 days a week opening for both The Grog and Gruel bar and restaurant. The coming year seems to be shaping up well. Some good music booked, exciting ales coming from our local breweries, and lots of e mail enquiries.
If we were to listen to local and national reports we wouldn't be so optimistic however it has never been our way to follow trends but to set them. If the credit crunch is getting you down then there has never been a better time to raise your spirits with a pint of cask ale and a nachos. Maybe some of our optimism will rub off !

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Mr Lover Lover

For all you romantics out there, we're now taking bookings for Valentine's Day, with the rather catchy and unique tag line of '... avoid a row with the missus.'

Not my idea, but it makes sense to me. So, come on, you know it makes sense too!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Tommy's Turnips Continued..

Here is chef Tommy again, this time with his Burn's Night celebration feast. MacSween's haggis, neeps and mashed tatty. Simple but delicious. The perfect way to celebrate the life of Scotland's most famous bard. As well as the traditional haggis Tommy also spent time 'brewing' a tasty spiced turnip soup, perfect for the cold winter nights.

With all the great things going on that The Grog & Gruel this week, mainly with turnips. It's a great place to celebrate Burns Night 2009.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Tommy's Turnips

My, that's a fine pair of turnips you have there, Tommy!

January midweeks are very quiet here on the High Street, and having sorted out the kitchen and got on top of all the cleaning and maintenance, now's the time to have a bit of fun getting all creative. Well, time to have a bit of fun anyway.

With Burn's Night just round the corner, Tommy's got himself a fine pair of neeps and will be ensuring that there's plenty of MacSween's Haggis in too. This week you can expect to see some Haggis Neeps and Tatties and a' that.

Some hae meat and cannot eat.
Some cannot eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Mission accomplished

How long does it take to do a job? Twice as long as you allow. Simple. Anyway, after a slightly longer than expected absence, our chefs are back with their brand new kitchen floor, ready to cater (see what I did there!) to your every need.

The new altro floor and a very shiney kitchen.

And all that clutter that we'd piled in the restaurant while we sorted out the kitchen, and also laid a new hard wearing and resistant floor in the food store, is now back in its rightful place. With a couple more weeks of restricted opening as is usual through January, we're ready for everything the coming has to throw at us. Bring it on!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

So Long George Dubya

Quick quiz. What's rule number one when it comes to running a pub? Anyone? Yes, that's right. No football, no religion, no politics.

So, we're not about to break rule number one and get all political. Far from it. We just want to take this opportunity to wish George Dubya a fond farewell and thanks very much for all the entertainment that you've provided us with over the last 8 years. How much fun we've had with your 'Bushisms' and the odd game of 'Bush or Chimp'.

Please, support our favourite web site and buy a t-shirt today. And join us in wishing ol' Dubya well on his way - don't go misunderestimating him.

Hope that new guy is just as much fun!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

What? No Food!

Happy New Year!

Another Hogmanay week over and done with. Good to see the place busy again. Lots of happy faces around, thirsty and hungry and somewhat red-cheeked after some stunning days out on the hills. Thick fog lying on the head of Loch Linnhe made the town a bit gloomy on a few mornings, and with a heavy haw frost and sub zero temperatures it looked like something off an atmospheric film set. However, head a few hundred feet up the hills and above the sea of clouds you'd find some stunning sunny weather (and a degree or 2 warmer).

So, doom, gloom recession, lack of Woolies on the High Street and all that, but we seem to have bucked the trend and had our own little oasis of prosperity at The Grog & Gruel. For one week at least!

A different story if you turn up hungry this week though! What? No food!

The kitchen is closed for a few days so that we can replace the floor covering and give it a bit of a makeover. Its now nearly 13 years since we last gave it a complete overhaul and, despite being an incredibly hard worked area, it has stood the test of time well. This essential work is sound investment and will undoubtedly help to keep our already high standards high. Unfortunately, as we need access to the entire floor area in the kitchen and wash-up areas, the sink is now in the restaurant, the griddle is on table 7 and no one has seen the fridge since Sunday. Normal service will be resumed shortly!