The essential guide to Glasgow's best pubs and bars
Over the last few years it seems like there’s been a mini revolution happening in our national drinking habits. Where once Kronenbourg was considered an exotic brew and a choice of Tennents, Fosters or Miller constituted a varied selection, now almost every pub has at least one weird and wonderful beverage on tap.
There is an ever growing plethora of great Scottish microbrewers such as the William Brothers with their fantastic clean and sharp Joker Ale IPA, or Glasgow’s very own quality brewers – West with their velvety St Mungo Beer, and the slightly less micro Belhaven’s brand spanking new stout (launched in January 2012), the frighteningly drinkable Belhaven Black Scottish Stout.
The most weird and wonderful of all though has got to be Brew Dog, a micro brewers started in 2007 by James Watt (no relation) and Martin Dickie, two guys bored with the fusty old ales traditionally available, those with anti-climactic names, intended to be drank from a warm glass after a busy days trainspotting. Some of which have flavours like sucking Guinness through cardboard, many of which will put you to sleep with their sandal wearing blah-ness.
Not so Brew Dog though – they specialise in contemporary up to date beers with imaginative names and even more imaginative flavours with fantastic brews like Tactical Nuclear Penguin or Hops Kills Nazis. My personal favourite, Punk IPA is a beer so hoppy and tangy it’s like the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster company decided slices of lemon and gold bricks were old hat and took up brewing instead.
Some of the beers are of ludicrous strength; though as a rule of thumb, the stronger the beer, the smaller the measure it is served in. This is something that Brew Dog have actually campaigned for, doing so in typical Brew Dog fashion by hiring a dwarf to call for smaller measures in a protest outside 10 Downing Street. They were successful too, managing to get a new law passed in 2011 which altered the 300 year old licensing laws, allowing more varied measures, such as the two-thirds pint ‘schooner’. The whole idea being that the beer should be savoured – with Brew Dog it’s definitely quality, not quantity.
The pub itself is of a standard Brew Dog theme, they’re pretty much starting to become one per city: lots of stone, wood and stainless steel, with wall to wall frosted patterned windows which give an excellent view of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, making Brew Dog perfect for that post-museum pint. They have also cleverly retained the odd feature which came with the building, like the mosaic pattern on the floor from the original cafe which once stood here.
All in all a good pub, but it’s the beers on offer which turn it from good to great. They could stick some beer taps down a back alley and I’d still rate it highly if the beers were as interesting, fun, bizarre and downright adventurous as Brew Dog!