Beer tour of Glasgow pt. 1 - Brewdog and Drygate Brewery

Since Sunday my boyfriend Calum has had a week off of work, and since term is finished we have been having a bit of a holiday. Instead of packing up and heading somewhere costal as originally planned, we decided to stay put and actually spend some time exploring what Glasgow has to offer, before the studying has to seriously kick in. Probably a good move, considering how awful the weather has been.

We had a few things planned for our stay-cation. Today we ticked off a walk around the beautiful Culzean Castle in Ayr, lovely but very windswept; don't put much effort into your hair when you go, and wear sensible shoes.
Tip: Park in the village of Maidens just along from the castle and walk along the coast until you get to it. It's free (unlike the steep National Trust parking at the site) and the walk along the beach and cliffs is incredibly beautiful, giving a great view of Ailsa Craig, the volcanic plug lying just off the coast, even eerily visible on a day like today.

As well as exploring new areas, we wanted to tick off a few places in Glasgow. Namely, beer-type places. Calum is big into his craft beer. I like it, don't get me wrong, but am still an amateur for the most part and shamefully still find lager the nicest to drink, although I am slowly coming on to the Pale Ales. For the sake of my beer education we decided to pay a visit to one or two of the bars and breweries you can find in Glasgow. We chose the BrewDog bar, just opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the West End, and also the Drygate Brewery, right next to the Glasgow Necropolis.

For those of you who don't know, although I am sure you do because BrewDog is EVERYWHERE you go, it is one of the most successful British Craft Beer brands, which started in Aberdeenshire (wahey!) and has now spread worldwide, with bars as far flung as Helsinki and Sao Paulo. The Glaswegian equivalent is on Argyle Street and has a beautiful view of Kelvingrove Art Gallery. We ducked in out of the rain for a couple of pints on Monday and it was lovely. The bar has a great atmosphere, busy even on a Monday afternoon, and the staff really know their stuff. The beer menu was extensive but there were plenty of other drinks available if beer isn't your tipple. What really excited me (of course) was their food menu. Namely, the burgers. We didn't have food there, but will definitely be going back, as the burgers that were passing by our the table every now and then were enough to make my mouth water.

Stunning stained glass at Glasgow Cathedral
Yesterday, deciding to brave the spring showers, we wrapped up and went for a walk into town, to the Strathclyde University area. I will admit, it isn't a part of Glasgow I have spent much time in, not having much reason to visit outside of the main shopping areas, so this made a nice change. We started off in the Cathedral, which although it may look small from the outside by cathedral standards, is Tardis-like on the inside. Whilst I don't know a lot about the history behind these kinds of places, the architecture was breathtaking and it is definitely worth a visit if you haven't been before.  Right next to the Cathedral is the Necropolis. With 360 views of the city, the huge graveyard doesn't make nearly as morbid a walk as you would expect. The impressive stone tombs, carved angels and a 58ft high memorial to John Knox, make for interesting viewing.

One of the best (or most convenient) things about the Necropolis from our point of view was, however, not the architecture or the history, but the fact that nestled to the side of it is the Glaswegian brewery Drygate.
Drygate is another successful craft beer brand, and chances are if you're from Glasgow you will have seen their 'Gladeye IPA' or 'Bearface Lager' at some point in your local pub or beer-seller. When you visit Drygate there is a Beerhall, a restaurant and a shop. It looks puzzlingly industrial from the outside, but that's because in addition to selling their beer, they are brewing it on site.

We had been wanting to visit for some time, having sampled a couple of the beers out and about, but also on recommendation that the food was just as good as the booze. Sitting in the restaurant, the decor is minimal but just enough, and the small wood-burning stove keeps the sub-zero Glaswegian spring at bay. A glass wall on one side lets you look into the silvery goings on of the brewery whilst you sip on it's products. They have 24 beers on tap, both their own and visiting draughts, as well as over 200 bottles to choose from, which they change frequently. They also have a huge selection of gin and whisky. I was heavily tempted by the gin, but it felt too much like sacrilege so I went for a beer.

The staff are again completely in the know about what they are selling, and when clueless little me had to tell them, sheepishly, what I liked, I wasn't just given a Stella and told to sit in the corner but they were actually incredibly helpful, and with the help of Calum even took me out of my comfort zone to try new (and lovely) things.
Then there was the food menu. Small plates, tapas/streetfood inspired, we were advised to choose a couple and share. We went for the three mini burger sliders (beef with cheddar, lamb with harrisa and venison with blue cheese) and a cauliflower and paneer curry. Both dishes were incredible, the sliders were tender and the variation was lovely compared with committing to a whole burger, but the curry took the prize. Delicately spiced, the cauliflower was cooked to perfection and topped with creamy paneer it was just light enough to accompany what we were drinking perfectly. Paired with a side of their indescribably good twice-fried chips, it was the perfect amount. A couple more drinks in we then decided to get a cheeseboard. You choose three cheeses from their selection and they come served with grapes, oatcakes, a cider jelly and apple chutney. Delicious. Whoever is writing the menu obviously, almost cruelly, knows what people who are drinking beer will want to nibble on, and we left slightly tipsy but wholeheartedly satisfied.

Of the two, whilst BrewDog was a lovely bar and I will definitely be returning to try a burger, DryGate pipped them at the post. I don't know whether it was because we were eating too, or how lovely and helpful the staff were (or the three beers we had cough cough...) but the whole experience was wonderful and I will definitely be going back as soon as I can. They even do regular comedy nights, as well as an Urban Market down there on a Sunday which is very high on my to do list at the moment. Local produce, crafts and beer, what could be better? Whether you want a meal with a bit of a difference, want to treat a loved one, are a massive beer-head or even just fancy trying somewhere other than your local, both these bars were very reasonably priced for the high quality they delivered. Now that they have been tried and tested we will definitely be becoming regulars. When we can afford it, anyway. 

Next on the beer tour list is the WEST brewery, but I might need to give my liver a bit of time to recover before then...

Lindsay x


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