New pub focuses on the beer necessities

Photo: George Flickinger
Photo: George Flickinger
Photo: George Flickinger

Last week St Andrews welcomed a new pub to its list of drinking establishments. Bob Phaff, owner of the St Andrews Brewing Company, has teamed up with The Seafood Restaurant’s owner Tim Butler to renovate and rejuvenate 177 SouthStreet.

The premises, which were formerly the home of Chillies Indian Restaurant, opened to customers last Wednesday 20 November.

The opening of the pub serves as a natural expansion of the St Andrews Brewing Company, a local business based in Glenrothes since January 2012.

Mr Phaff, originally from Sheffield, will use the pub to sell the eight different beers he brews himself. These range from his ‘Gold Ale’ to his stout and include his ‘Regional Great British Beer Hunt’ winning ‘Crail Ale’. The company’s beers will only account for a fraction of the 20 casks and kegs on offer at any one time, however.

Mr Phaff says these ales will comprise beers that “aren’t available at other places in St Andrews,” including niche microbrewery Scottish ales. The types of beers vary widely, from pale and wheat ales to darker porters characterised by fruity hops. The alcoholic content of the cask and keg beers range from 3 per cent to just over 7.5 per cent.

All cask and keg beer will be sold in ‘schooners’, smaller glasses approximately two-thirds the size of a regular pint. This unusual move is to encourage customers to purchase and try a wider variety of beer that the pub have on offer. ‘Schooners’ range from £2.10 to £4. There is also the option to drink in smaller glasses at one-third of a pint. There are a variety of payment choices available for this size. Three ales with alcoholic content under 7 per cent costs £5, and five such drinks cost £7.50.

Alongside ‘schooners’, customers will have a choice to purchase from over 70 different bottled beers. The selection, which will rise to over 100 beers by the start of 2014, are all handpicked by Mr Phaff. They are to be sold in conjunction with the bottled versions of St Andrews Brewing Company beers already sold locally across Fife and nationally across Scotland.

The pub offers a wide choice of drinks besides beer. Over 40 different whiskies and gins are available alongside an extensive wine list. Soft drinks are available too and these include ‘chilli and hibiscus sodas’, ‘fermented iced teas’ as well as tea and coffee.

The company and the pub have also maintained their links with artist Susan McGill. Ms McGill is responsible for the colourful designs of the labels of the company’s beers. Her designs also appear on the staff t-shirts.

The premises have undergone renovation to create the brewpub. Mr Phaff has transformed the modern decor of Chillies into a rustic, homely brewpub, reminiscent of the Idaho brewpubs where Mr Phaff honed his trade.

The pub is still under the process of change too. It is waiting on licenses to serve food and play live music.

Mr Phaff hopes to offer “simple” food with an emphasis on “local produce” combined with bands playing upstairs in the “Oktoberfest-style beer hall”.

It is also hoped to that the St Andrews Brewing Company will begin to brew on-site at the pub, with a small ‘show brewery’ at the front of the establishment. This will be small, brewing one barrel a week and showcasing Mr Phaff’s own beer making abilities. But he admits this latter aim will be “in the long run” and that in the foreseeable future the front of the pub will remain a seating area.

This comes in conjunction with the decision to move all production from Glenrothes to St Andrews. The increased sales from the pub and the success of the beers are forcing the company to relocate brewing from their “ridiculously tiny” Southfield Industrial Estate base in Glenrothes to Bassaguard Industrial Estate in St Andrews. The St Andrews headquarters are double the size and will allow easier production of the 3000 bottles per week. This move will bring manufacturing and the pub within a mile of one another; although this will only be finalised in February.

The pub will be open from 11am-11pm.


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