Glasgow is one of my favourite cities. Not only is it culturally rich – from art and design to football and fashion – but it's also one of the best places in Europe for a night out, although until recently you couldn't afford to be too picky about the beer. You needed a taste for Tennent's lager, Glasgow's very own golden fizz.
But Glasgow's beer is beginning to match its first-class pubs. Two weeks ago, one of the city's best bottle shops, Hippo Beers, laid on an excellent beer festival, the Great Scottish Beer Celebration, in the Barras, east-end Glasgow's famous market. The event demonstrated the city's thirst for flavoursome beer (and hops; as elsewhere, hoppy pale ales are hugely popular here). There were 17 breweries from around Scotland, including a new one from the city itself, Jaw Brew, and a crowd more diverse than you'll find at most beer festivals.
There's plenty more going on. Not too far from the Barras is West, a Bavarian-style operation based in a breathtakingly elegant former carpet factory. Their progress over the past few years demonstrates how things are moving on: St Mungo, their pale lager, is increasingly easy to find in the best pubs and bars around the city.
I spotted it on the bar at The Gannet on the other side of town, along with another fine beer, Williams Brothers' Joker IPA. A short stroll from there took me to Brewdog's Glasgow bar, where I picked a seat with a view of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Culture can wait, I thought, as I sipped a delicious white IPA.
Three to try
Alechemy Ritual Pale Ale
Pale, blonde, moderately bitter, extremely drinkable.
4.1% ABV, £2.45 for 500ml, scottishbeershop.co.uk
Tempest Long White Cloud
One of the best New Zealand-hopped beers made in the UK. Richly fruity.
5.6%, £2.99 for 500ml, scottishbeershop.co.uk
Cromarty Happy Chappy
Biscuity malt supports a hugely moreish wave of lemon-and-lime hop character. Superb, too, on cask.
5.2%, £2.75 for 500ml, scottishbeershop.co.ukReuse content