|Window at Helgi's|
How far are you willing to go for a decent pint? If the answer is a few hundred miles and a ferry or two thrown in then you might want to check out Helgi's in Kirkwall, Orkney. (Unless you're Orcadian, of course, and then it may only be a short walk/bike/bus ride.) Or - if you've got to John o'Groats and spent 15 minutes there, you'll have had enough - so why not hop on the ferry and try Orkney instead?
It majors in food and I suppose you could call it a gastro-bar which I normally hate, but this one gets the balance right. I did try the food one evening - haggis lasagne which was interesting - and surprisingly good.
Helgi's has a Nordic feel to it, as does much of Orkney, not surprising really as for centuries Orkney was part of the Kingdom of Norway. In 2009 Alistair Carmichael, the MP for Orkney and Shetland, when asked to name his nearest mainline railway station on an expenses form allegedly wrote 'Oslo'.
Orkney is also packed with megalithic monuments including the awesome Ring of Brodgar.Orkneyjar is an excellent website on the Islands and their history if you're interested in finding out more.
Beer is supplied by Rob Hill's Highland Brewing Co. at Swannay Brewery. My favourite is Scapa Special, which is bloody gorgeous. It's a Pale Ale and at 4.2% is my ideal strength. It has a hoppy flavour, and was always lovely and fresh.
I believe Helgi's has made it into the CAMRA Good Beer Guide again in 2012, if you should find yourself that far north, it's well worth a visit.
|Ring of Brodgar|
|Standing Stone - Ring of Brodgar|