A lot of pubs seemed to have the standard line-up with Belhaven Best, Guinness, Stella Artois, Tennents Lager and Strongbow, and if you were lucky Caledonian ales. Only a small number of pubs had cask-ales beyond one or two from Caledonian, typically Caledonian 80/- and Deuchars IPA.
My favourite pubs were:
- Thompson's Bar
- Guildford Arms
- Halfway House
- Blue Blazer
- Bow Bar
Real ales typically have a soft mouthfeel, very little carbonation (condition), a subtle maltiness and a mellow hop aroma and bitterness. Some of them venture into more hop bitterness, but it never gets out of hand. The alcohol content of most of the beers I tried was in the 3.4 - 4.3% range. The various ales were surprisingly similar, which is a bit sad as I cannot see why brewers could not apply more creativity when making them. There is afterall a surging interest in craft ales. The only American influence I could see was the fact that a some of them used citrusy American hops.
Anyway, thanks to the half-pint, I managed to get through about 60 different real ales.