Last week I found myself with a free day in Glasgow, and with a list of recommendations I hoped to cover as much of the city as I could. Despite my best intentions of having a day-long trek from the West End to Merchant City, two things had slightly curbed my enthusiasm. Firstly, it was Leap Day, and Brewdog had inconveniently decided to give all their staff a day off from serving customers, so that was two venues crossed off the list. Damn them, and their being nice to their employees philosophy.
Secondly, I had a 6/10 level hangover and needed a bit of peace, so rather than traipse the busy streets I went for a look around Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art until I could summon some desire for Beer. Eventually, I ended up at Drygate, the Microbrewery/Beer Hall/Restaurant that opened in 2014 as a result of a joint endeavour between Williams Brewery and Tennents Caledonian. Seeming like an odd match at the time, the behemoth Wellpark Brewery casts a long shadow and there was, and is, a fair bit of scepticism about the motivation behind the idea of a larger Brewery ‘muscling in’ on the Craft scene and also why Williams decided to get involved. Regardless of that debate, I’ve generally heard that its a nice place to visit, but that the Beer hasn’t generally made much of an impression. I hadn’t had a chance to try any of their Beers previously, and although I was a bit disappointed to see the upstairs Beer Hall was closed, it was understandable on a Monday lunchtime. The ground floor restaurant looked welcoming though, and the menu looked like it would satisfy my cravings.
Starving, I was immediately drawn to the Ox cheek and cheddar sandwich when I scanned the menu. Presented with a board with the ingredients laid out fastidiously rather than preassembled I had severe mental eye roll, but once I got down to construction I was more than happy. Crumbly buttery cheddar, peppery pulled cheek and chippy chips that didn’t require soss enhancement.
Alongside the food menu, there was a limited draft list of Drygate/Tennents products offered but clearly plenty of other beers on behind the bar. I came for the Drygate beers, so ordered Gladeye IPA and Ax Man Rye IPA, but got Gladeye and the Bearface pils. Maybe I just look like a lager lover, or maybe my bear face planted the thought in the waiter’s mind, either way I wasn’t in the mood to correct him.
Bearface is what I would term as a medium quality craft lager. Superior to your standard pils, and if you’d told me this was Tennents I’d be pleasantly surprised, as it isn’t, I’m slightly underwhelmed. Crisp of course, but without significant bite. In contrast, my half of Gladeye IPA powered through the salty sheen of the cheek n chips admirably. Caramalt and Cascade are the main combo here, with a bit of Vienna Malt that adds to a sweet, sticky finish. Pointed but not piney, it’s a solid enjoyable beer and had I more time I’d have ordered another. As well as the Restaurant and Beer Hall, there is also a small bottleshop with a good range of Scottish and UK bottles, and so I managed to pick up the Ax Man Rye for later tasting, along with a couple of others.
Drygate is a pleasant, swish place to spend a lunchtime and although the look is familiar to anyone who’s visited a modern beer bar, it’s done well and is more welcoming that many of its peers. It even comes complete with the de rigeur display diagrams explaining the brewing process, although I think they could have left out the definition of water. Even beer drinkers are familiar with it.