Long-time beer drinker and The Sip editor Ross Lewis casts his eye over the kegs from here and abroad. Here The Sip visits Scotland for a look around.
Toilets aren’t usually the gauge of a good brewer.
Yet the rest room at BrewDog Glasgow often distracts visitors for far longer than the usual pit stop.
Adorning the walls of the water closet – at least in the men’s section – are the labels of most of the beverages produced by the Scottish beer gurus.
It can leave the reader salivating, which is probably not a good thing considering the surroundings.
But BrewDog has always done things differently. Indeed, they thrive on being out of the square. And that is why they have not only become one of the UK’s most inspirational brewers, they have become a global sensation.
There is almost a passion to turn up the nose at tradition. And good beer consumers have been the winners.
Visits to the BrewDog bars in Glasgow and Edinburgh showcase the best of the Scottish-based company.
A raft of their own beer, ranging from a 3.8 per cent Dead Pony Club to the heavy kicked Clown King at 12.1 %, is on tap. So many more are in bottles.
However, the bars also delivers other good brews from the UK and the US, including plenty of Stone on tap. An English brewer, Siren, has been recently popular north of the border. And, of course, Mikkeller are also available.
One of the bonuses of Brewdog is that plenty of education is given to staff. All are encouraged to sit the Cicerone beer server exam so when punters come in asking about the drinks they can get accurate and prompt information.
And a small sample taster is on offer to those still sceptical about which beer to buy.
Sure, plenty of establishments have been doing similar.
BrewDog has a way of doing it differently. The wide range of good beer on tap made it a stand-out in Glasgow, which has a bar on every corner but most stock the standards, Tennents, Belhaven, Guinness, Carling or even, dare we say, Fosters.
The company is backed by 14,586 equity partners, who get discounts at their bars, and the recent AGM, its fourth, was more of a beer festival with brews, bands and information sessions on offer, than a stuffy, suit-packed meeting.
BrewDog has now expanded overseas into Gothenburg, Tokyo and Sao Paulo with plans for bars in Berlin, Rome and Helsinki. We can only wait until there is news on an Australian franchise.
Sitting in a BrewDog is an experience. Not only are their delightful flavours from a 5AM Saint or Punk IPA but the sharing of tips and titbits expands the appreciation of any good beer drinker.
BrewDog Glasgow offers a great cheese and beer-pairing hour that was outstanding. Who would have thought the Fake Lager, a Bohemian Pilsener, would have gone so well with a blue cheese?
It might have been expensive at £12 ($21.50) but the Mixtape 8 at 14.8% was also worth a tasting.
BrewDog varieties are available in Australia but can be a little tough to find. The company has also started re-disgning their labels so, again, there is a different feel to the brand.
However, they are worth sniffing out.
Just remember that a BrewDog isn’t a drink – it is a new experience. We can all say cheers to that.