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?