Beer Makes Glasgow

Though I remain embarrassed that it took me so long, I am ecstatic to say that I have just attended my first beer festival! Due to excessive working hours I’ve never previously managed to attend an event; however, my partner kindly bought me tickets to this local festival, which was hosted at Drygate Brewery in Glasgow. The admission money was going to a worthy cause: Drumchapel food bank. Tickets for the event were £5, plus a booking fee, though some tickets were available on the door.

On the Saturday afternoon, we got parked and headed towards the main entrance. I’d never been to Drygate Brewery before, but I found out that they have a fantastic beer garden, which I am determined to return to on a summer’s day! We proceeded through the beer garden and into the ‘Main Beer Hall’; we handed our tickets over, received our “Beer Makes Glasgow” pint glasses and headed in to the festival.

 

This was a great introduction to beer festivals for the following reasons:

  1. I personally knew a few of the vendors at the event
  2. It was small enough that I could spend time acquainting myself with each brewery
  3. It was big enough that there were some breweries that were new to me

I loved the fact that I was able to hand my new “Beer Makes Glasgow” glass over to different breweries and get a tasting sample of each. You then had the option to buy a half or full pint of your favourites! Given this, I was willing to test my palate on flavour combinations that I might usually shy away from!

I first spoke to the two shop vendors at the event: these were from Grunting Growler and Wee Beer Shop. It’s always great to catch up with the owners and talk about all things beer. The first stall I noticed as I entered the venue was actually the signage of Grunting Growler; having lived across the road from the store when it initially opened, the owner knows exactly what myself and my fiancée look for in a beer. Without our input, he poured a plastic shot glass for each of us, gave us a big smile and said, “these are for you!”. My partner had a Mango sour 5% ABV by Vault City. It was so enjoyable that this beer was finished before I even thought about asking for a sip! In fairness, I downed the beer below, so I can’t criticise – I didn’t give her an opportunity either!

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All beers sampled at the venue were draught.

Here are the breweries that were present at the event.

Beer makes glasgow

Mandatory “Voodoo Headbanger” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.99 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Amunsden x Northern Monk collaboration
  • ABV: 9.0%
  • Style: Double Dry Hopped DIPA (NEIPA)
  • Serving: Taster, 10ml

Despite the dim lighting and small tasting portion, it was clearly a hazy-looking brew (hardly surprising when Northern Monk are involved in the brewing process)! I can’t go into too much detail with respect to flavours, but it had the characteristic hoppy, rich, juicy NEIPA feel. It’s my go-to variety in beers these days, so this, in combination with a dank bitter conclusion, was the perfect way to wake my palate, which began eagerly awaiting other beers from the heart of Glasgow’s beer community.

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Diagnosis: 3.75/5. “Voodoo Headbanger” is juicy, bitter and hoppy. Yes please!

 

Mandatory “Kiwi & Lime” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.53 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Merchant City Brewing
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • IBU: 9
  • Style: Saison
  • Serving: Taster, 20 ml

I had recently come across this brewery through social media. Named after one of the best eating and drinking regions in Glasgow, they had a lot to live up to. First up from this brewery was their “Kiwi & Lime” saison. I’m not a huge saison fan, as I find these fermented beers can be too “funky” and become off-putting. This beer though, with a fresh hit of kiwi and a punch of zesty lime lime, made this a really enjoyable tasting. It was fresh and light, with an undertone of saison “funk” in the background.

Diagnosis: 3.0/5. “Kiwi & Lime” could probably only be enjoyed ½ a pint at a time, but I’d enjoy it nonetheless.

 

Mandatory “Rhubarb & Ginger” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: No formal rating (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Merchant City Brewing
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Style: Pale Ale
  • Serving: Taster, 20ml

Ginger in beer can be difficult to control: too much and it’s a harsh burning sensation overpowering other flavours, but too little and then “why bother?”. The rhubarb used in this beer was grown by a sister to one of the brewers. This gave it a special ‘homely’ feel. A beautiful sweetness was gained from the fruit and the ginger sensation was just right, giving a slight warmth at the back of the throat. Bitterness rounded off the drink, making it a great beer.

Diagnosis: 3.75/5. “Rhubarb & Ginger” sets a bar – if this is what I can come to expect from Merchant City Brewing, then I’m certainly going to be keeping a close eye on this team!

 

 

Mandatory “American Pale Ale” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.46 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Merchant City Brewing
  • ABV: 4.7
  • IBU: 37
  • Style: Pale Ale
  • Serving: Half Pint, 250 ml

Having had a few tastings from this team, I had to actually buy some beer at this point! I got a half-measure of their “American Pale Ale”: a staple in any good beer bar these days. An unfiltered, slightly hazy beer was poured, with a moderate white foam head. This beer, like the remaining line-up, had a great complexity. Fruity, citrusy and slightly spicy notes all occurred within each mouthful, none dominating and all complimenting one another.

Diagnosis: 3.75/5. “American Pale Ale” is another brilliant beer from this brewery, who are only in their first year of trading. I expect great things and I’m looking forward to watching the brewery and line-up go from strength-to-strength!

 

Mandatory “IPA” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 4.05 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Gallus Brewing
  • ABV: 7%
  • IBU: 60
  • Style: IPA
  • Serving: Taster, 20ml

This was by far the most intimate of the stands: it was a board, a couple of kegs and the owner. This is exactly what these festivals are about! This gypsy brewer, currently brewing in his spare time around his 9-5 job, had one of the freshest beers of all those at the venue. This IPA was kegged 24 hours ago right on the current premises – you couldn’t get any fresher than this!

I was handed a vibrant, hazy yellow beer with a slim foam head. The word “dank” came to mind. Galaxy and Citra hops loaded this beer and the result was a wonderful juicy, fruity brew. Orange, passionfruit and peach were the main flavours, with a bitter-sweet finish accompanying the alcohol warmth.

 

Diagnosis: 4.25/5. “IPA” is definitely the best beer that I sampled. Whilst drinking this, I could have easily been convinced that I was sampling a new brew by Verdant. That is one hell of an achievement by this one-man brewing machine!

 

Mandatory “NEIPA Citra and Mosaic” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.70 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Overtone
  • ABV: 4.9%
  • Style: NEIPA
  • Serving: Taster, 20 ml

I continued my journey around the event. It was conveniently laid out with an outer and inner ring of breweries. In spite of this, I was acting like a hyperactive puppy – jumping from brewer to brewer with no obvious path. If you took a pen and piece of paper, then shut your eyes and scribbled, that is probably what my route would have looked like from an aerial perspective!

Tangent aside, we began speaking to the owner of Overtone. Based in Yoker, just outside of Glasgow, the brewer was previously a chef before he changed his career. He previously matched flavours on the plate but is now mixing flavours in kegs and glasses!

This beer was very similar to the last beer sampled by Gallus Brewing: hazy, with a touch of bitterness and a nice tropical and citrus hit. Mouthfeel didn’t match up to that of the Gallus brew, so I can’t score it just as high, but the flavour combinations certainly hit Dr Beer’s desires.

 

Diagnosis: 3.0/5. “NEIPA Mosaic and Citra” is certainly going in the right direction and I look forward to seeing this brewery evolve!

 

Mandatory “Death III” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.90 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Dead End Brew Machine
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • IBU: 40
  • Style: NEIPA
  • Serving: Taster, 20 ml

Back to a familiar brewery. I first got to know this team when they were involved in the “Terrible Twos” beer produced for Grunting Growler’s second birthday earlier this year. I’ve also spoken to the brewer for ‘Meet the Makers’. It was great to finally meet the brewer in person! His ‘Death’ series continues to evolve, so I had high hopes for this “Death III” edition. It smelled wonderful. A light, moderately hazy gold liquid burst with flavours of passionfruit and peach, creating a brilliant, delicious blend of sweetness and bitterness.

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Diagnosis: 4.0/5. “Death III” made me realise that I was going to have to pace myself with all of these tastings. If I wasn’t going to be trying any other beer, I would have happily sat down with a wonderful full pint of this.

 

Mandatory “Bretted Death III” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.93 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Dead End Brew Machine
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • Style: Saison NEIPA
  • Serving: 20ml, Taster

This was a festival-special. Knowing this brewery’s interest in Brett brews (Brettanomyces – a genus of yeast), I was not surprised that he squeezed this yeast into the beer produced specifically for the event – it’s his favourite! Despite having a similar base to “Death III”, this beer tasted completely different. The funky aromas flooded through, giving that typical saison smell. As such, an incredibly complex beer was produced: it continued where the sweetness let off on “Death III”, but this was followed through by an incredibly dry fruitiness.

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Diagnosis: 3.5/5. “Bretted Death III” is interesting… Personally, I’d have “Death III” over this version, but for a saison, the funk isn’t over the top. Nonetheless, I could only have 1/3 of a pint given the dryness – I’d need another beer to wash it down!

 

Mandatory “Secret Citra” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.56 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Alechemy
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • Style: IPA
  • Serving: 20ml, Taster

This was definitely my kind of IPA – loaded with Citra and Vic hops, resulting in a wonderfully hoppy beer. The citrus flavour dominated, but there was a complex malt undertone and it was rounded-off with a bittersweet caramel flavour.

Diagnosis: 3.5/5. “Secret Citra” is one that I will definitely pick a few bottles up of when I see it in stores.

 

 

Mandatory “Halfwit Gose” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.55 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Alechemy and Fallen
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • Style: Gose
  • Serving: 20ml, Taster

Fallen were actually at this event too, but I didn’t visit their stall (I had previously sampled all their available beers). I’ve had a few blood orange brews over the last couple of years, though never a Gose version. This beer was really light but packed a great tang as the sourness of the blood orange clashed with a big salt hit. The salt wasn’t overwhelming and whilst there were apparently coriander notes throughout, I didn’t pick it up from this small tasting sample.

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Diagnosis: 3.0/5. “Halfwit Gose” is a complex gose, but a taster probably doesn’t do this beer justice. Like “Secret Citra”, I’d certainly pick up a can of this.

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Mandatory “Ishmael IPA” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.79 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Up Front Brewing
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • IBU: 60
  • Style: IPA
  • Serving: 20ml, Taster

I’d seen these cans in some of my local beer stores, though had never tried them! The brewer of Up Front was great to speak to –conversation flowed smoothly and for the first time, it wasn’t just about beer! Background stories were exchanged about beer successes, failures and our individual science careers. A sneak preview regarding the can design was shown to us, but I’ll let Up Front boast about this soon enough! “Ishamel IPA” gave off a wonderfully fruity aroma and was packed full of hops. Fruity, crisp, floral and piney flavours merged to create a well-rounded American-inspired IPA.

 

Diagnosis: 3.5/5. “Ishmael IPA” is simple and easy drinking with great flavours. It is certainly one that I would enjoy glass after glass of if I were to have a few pints: it’s complex enough to keep me interested, but not overwhelming or off-putting!

 

Mandatory “Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: no formal rating (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Ride Brew Co
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Style: Rye IPA
  • Serving: Pint

It was great to catch up with the brewer of Ride Brew Co: we spoke about all things beer, including the future of Ride Brew Co! This beer is named based upon an insider brewery joke following a national beer awards ceremony. The name is actually going to travel the festival (quite literally): just like the Olympic torch, it will be passed around the different breweries and each will make their own version of “Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride”! Ride Brew Co interpreted it as a Rye IPA, which poured a gorgeous oaky colour. Before I had even finished my tasting sample, I was given a complimentary pint – thanks! Rye beers can be a ‘hit or miss’ with me, but thankfully, this one was the latter. A thin white foam head sat aloft the brew. It was the deep, bittersweet caramel notes that really lifted this beer. A huge malt base collided with these and there was a touch of fruitiness that came through on further sips.

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Diagnosis: 4.25/5. “Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride” is full of flavour! The fact it was complimentary and came with great conversation made this beer go down just as smooth as it’s silky texture.

Mandatory “Boomtang IPA” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.54 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Late Night Hype Brewing Co
  • ABV: 6.7%
  • Style: IPA
  • Serving: Taster, 20 ml

Having discussed the future of both Ride Brew Co and Late Night Hype Brewing Co, including talks about up-and-coming crowdfunding projects, I was obliged to try their IPA! “Boomtang” is certainly a name that stood out and sounded like it should be a flavour-bomb! With only a tasting sample, I noted a hazy (almost murky) IPA was poured with a slim white foam head. The pineapple in this beer really came through, offering a sweet note, before the characteristic bitter conclusion of an IPA rounded the drink off. The mouthfeel of this beer was beautifully cold and crisp.

Diagnosis: 3.25/5. “Boomtang IPA” has a great mouthfeel, some sweetness and a light bitterness.

Mandatory “Hops not Hate” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.54 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: Gypsy Hill
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Style: Sour
  • Serving: Taster, 20ml

I was recommended this beer by the brewer from Ride Brew Co. His words were – it tastes great, just don’t breathe it in! Was he right? Hell yes. This was a juicy, sour beer, with the citrus flavours really dominating. The mango and orange really pushed my palate to the limit like sour candy, before it was reigned in with a light, refreshing finish. Then I smelled it – it was awful!

Diagnosis: 3.0/5. “Hops not Hate” is a really enjoyable sour based on taste alone, but it’s annoying to have to control your breathing upon sampling – hence it loses marks here.

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Mandatory “Monos Terion” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.55 (at time of writing)
  • Brewery: The Gypsy Hill Brewing Co
  • ABV: 9.5%
  • Style: Belgian Ale
  • Serving: Taster, 20 ml

My last beer of the session. A big Belgian ale – nearly hitting double figures in its ABV. In spite of this, thankfully the strength wasn’t overwhelming – I don’t mind the alcohol warmth in a stronger beer, I just don’t want it to be the only flavour. This beer was surprisingly light, with a typical Belgian funk flavour. Appearances of the beer were characteristic of Belgian ales – mid-orange topped with a slim white head.

Diagnosis: 3.75/5. “Monos Terion” was 9.5%. How would I drink a pint of this? Surprisingly easily I’m sure!

Beer makes Glasgow logo

Overall, ‘Beer Makes Glasgow’ was a brilliant event and a great opportunity to put faces to breweries. I also got to meet up with a few friends and drink some (okay – tonnes of) great beer. I’ll certainly keep my eye out and get to more beer festivals in the future! Well done to beer Makes Glasgow who raised over £4000 for Drumchapel foodbank.

Diagnosis: 5.0/5, Beer Makes Glasgow was a fantastic charity event, great beer and great company and another pint glass to add to my collection!

 

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