pubs real ale

Deuchar's now synonymous with boring pubs?

Deuchar's IPA pump clip
Deuchar's IPA pump clip

Last week, I walked past a nice looking pub in an old Victorian building and thought: “This looks interesting.” Then I looked through the window and saw the pumps on the bar:

  • Fuller’s London Pride
  • Deuchars IPA
  • Wells and Young’s Bombardier.

My heart sank. “This is a boring pub,” I thought. “Those beers will probably also be in really bad condition.” I walked on.

All three of those beers were real ales, and all three have their fans (we’re partial to Pride ourselves). This pub would qualify for CAMRA’s pub guide, too.

So why the instinct to pass on my part? I guess I’ve been to too many pubs offering that particular line-up and been disappointed. It’s a learned response.

Deuchars, in particular, is a sad case. It used to be a beer I enjoyed, but it’s so often poorly kept and stale that I don’t bother anymore.

I suspect this is a result of pub company policy — “we serve real ale in our pubs because, but we don’t really care about it, or expect our managers and staff to”.  It’s bad because it can really tarnish some good brands. Timothy Taylor’s Landlord is getting dangerously close to being included in this list, which would be a pity as it is fabulous.

We had a half-decent pint of Deuchar’ IPA in the Speaker in Westminster a few weeks ago. Any other suggestions as to where we can find it on good form? Or is it just a terrible beer these days?


16 replies on “Deuchar's now synonymous with boring pubs?”

I kind of know where you are coming from – but I actually quite like it, I’d rather drink it than some of the other bog standard ales you get in london – eg pride in a none fullers pub is normally pretty dire.

Deuchars is normally cracking in ye olde mitre on holborn – thats your neck of the woods isn’t it ?

Have you been to the princess victoria in shepherds bush ?

I’ve been in their a couple of times for beers – and the landlord and summer lightning have both been absolutely cracking.

Actually – this is a nomination for your beer map – can’t say I’ve tried the food – but the beers are in very good condition, which is nice in a part of London there aren’t many decent pubs that aren’t fullers pubs.



I quite like all three beers, as long as they are in good nick. Trouble is when given lots of choice it’s only natural to go for something a bit more ‘exotic’. I had a pint of Deuchars IPA about two weeks ago, it had been a while since last having it for the reasons you give, it was still a pleasant pint.

We’ve no problem with the actual beers themselves (well, I’m not that into Bombardier, and I haven’t had a pint of Deuchars I’ve loved for ages)

It’s just that that particular combo usually indicates a place that can’t quite be arsed.

Alex – welcome, and thanks for the suggestions. I agree about Pride in non-Fuller’s pubs, although at least it hasn’t travelled too far, so may have a chance of being in decent nick.

Are you confusing us with Stonch? We don’t have a beer map…

Had plenty of Deuchars when I went up to Edinburgh recently for the festival. I find it a very boring beer and very acid tasting for my palette and that’s from close to the brewing source. I think the problem I find is that in a lot of pubs, particularly the more gastro-ey ones, the beer selection is deeply boring and conservative. I don’t have any problem with Pride, Bombadier, Adnams etc. but I want to be able to see and try something that I haven’t before. Have to say that The Royal Albert in New Cross, which I fairly often frequent, have started doing a guest beer alongside Landlord and is a better pub for it. They also do the Grolsch Wiezen which, coming from the makers of Grlosch lager, is surprisingly lovely and one of the best wheat beers I have had, even given some of the many German ones I’ve had. Anyway, I digress…

I like Grolsch Weizen a lot, but Boak’s not so keen. Seems to have more zing to it than bloody Erdinger, at any rate.

I used to live in New Cross but never went to the Royal Albert. Back then, it was Fosters in the Goldsmith’s Tavern for me. Shudder.

I’m half tempted to order a cask now to see what it’s like when well kept. I did the same with Adnams Bitter and fell in love with it, ditto Adnams Explorer.

Jeff — you clearly know what you’re doing with your Landlord, so I’m sure if anyone can coax some flavour out of a cask of Deuchar’s IPA, it’ll be you. Thinking about it, the specific problems I note with it in most London pubs are (a) flatness — a thin film of scum where the head should be — and (b) sugariness where there should be some malt flavour and hop bitterness.

I haven’t drunk much of it before but I did have a pint the other day at Chequers on Old St – as I said I haven’t drunk much of it before but I can’t say I was that impressed.

Deuchar’s has the potential to be a great pint, but it does not respond to poor cellar keeping or low levels of turnover.

These pubs and bars are just serving poorly conditioned beer by staff who wouldn’t know a good pint under any circumstances. I used to be a landlord of a very working class pub which relied on the quality of the beer to drag people through the door. without that it would have closed down.

As some of the people here have suggested in blogs etc, we should point out to staff and landlords when the beer isn’t up to par. My customers were very very critical, but also very full of praise too.

I supped a few pints of Deuchars in Fanny’s in Saltaire, West Yorkshire last Saturday and it was amongst the finest beer that I have ever drunk.

The reason that it was so good is because it was properly conditioned, properly served and they were selling a lot of it. The other beer which they do well with is Skipton Brewery’s Copper dragon. Great stuff.


I love deuchars though ive not had a pint of it in ages, i just remember having it a while ago and finding it a really distinctive and unique taste. not sure what pubs have it in london though. (esp west london)

Unfortunately, Deuchars doesn’t seem to be one of those beers that travels well – unless the Publican keeps it well!!! Drink it in Edinburgh, not far from Caledonian Brewery and it’s almost magical!!! I love it’s refreshing taste! Normally I appreciate darker bitters such as Adnams Broadside or Wychwood’s Hobgoblin, but Deuchars IPA goes down as one of my favourite beers!! As others have said, if you can find a pub that has a Landlord/lady that cares about “keeping” the beer well, then you are onto a winner – failure to do this results in an awful pint! The Metropolitan, in Didsbury, Manchester always has Deuchars on tap and they know how to keep it!

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