Alan Laidlaw found much to savour at a preview for September’s Craft Beer Rising event in Glasgow.
The love for craft beer is currently at fever pitch.
Just walk into any given bar in the city and you’ll find a selection of local and imported bottles to explore, sample and share.
But not everyone is completely sold on these tasty suds. To some it’s simply passed off as a newly sprouted fad: nothing more than a clever marketing scheme put into action to boost the prices of beer. It’s unfortunate that anyone could think this, as the people involved in craft beer are some of the most genuinely passionate and dedicated I’ve ever met.
Craft beer enthusiasts are part of an ever growing community – one that emerged many years prior to the soaring popularity of specialised micro-brewed ales on these shores. Mainly those making the beer back in those times were not running their own breweries, but sweating over a boiled brew in their very own kitchens, merging a love for great tasting beer with mad-scientist creativity.
That sense of community and enthusiasm was palpable at the media preview I attended at the Drygate bar and brewery for the upcoming Craft Beer Rising Glasgow event which is coming this September.
Picture the scene: a group of 40 journos and beer bloggers from all over the country packed into a room with the promise of craft beers specially selected and delivered by Scottish craft beer pioneer Scott Williams (founding brother of William’s Brothers) and sommelier and leading beer expert Melissa Cole. If the intention was to get people excited for Craft Beer Rising, then it certainly worked.
Cole believes that festivals like Craft Beer Rising are “essential in bringing the excitement and passion surrounding craft beers to a bigger audience”.
Last year was the first time the London based event had come to Scotland, and it couldn’t have been more successful: with a mix of music, food and beer it has a little something for everyone. Over 300 beers from over 50 breweries were on offer with a gut-swelling 18,500 pints poured, making it one of the largest beer festivals ever to make its way to Glasgow.
Each expert left something of themselves lingering beyond their speech or presence; their enthusiasm for working in an industry that they are completely in love with reverberating with myself and many others.
We were taken on a tour of the brewery by Scott Williams, who informed us of the many ways in which Drygate assured that the quality of their beer was maximized.
“It’s all in the personal touches of the smaller craft breweries,” he explained, as he guided us around the machinery involved.
As we hung on every word – dough-eyed and warmed slightly from the few beers we had already tasted – resident brewer Alessandra Confessore buzzed around us controlling the apparatus as if her life depended upon it. The efficiency and dedication of the whole operation is a sight to behold, ensuring that the end product is as good as it possibly can be.
As great as the knowledge imparted on us was, it was meeting these group of passionate and hardworking brewers and experts that will stay long after the facts about the importance of gravity on beer have taken flight from the mind. These guys are the silent heroes behind our 4am drunken conversations over a bottle of Caesar Augustus or Joker IPA; they have been around for quite some time now, and that is sure to continue long into the future.
There’s no doubts that not only is craft beer rising – but it’s certainly here to stay.
Craft Beer Rising Glasgow will take place at Drygate Brewery in September. Prices and specific dates to follow.
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