Visiting my old Mum involves going though Glasgow en route to the Clyde coast and Dumbarton. Shaking off the effects of the journey usually has me nipping in for a quick pint before catching the train from Queen St, a five minute walk from Central Station. I used to always go to the Drum and Monkey, but for a while it has been reduced to the ubiquitous Deuchar's IPA and the ridiculous Caley 80 bob, so I by-passed it for the cavernous Counting House and its many handpumps. There was a lot of unappealing dark stuff on, but my eye alighted on a Nelson Sauvin pumpclip. Such was the crush at the bar, I couldn't get to see much more, but it was from Tryst brewery and a fine and distinctive quaffer, which hit the spot after my journey.
A quick visit to the nearby - well just over the road - Camperdown Place, saw a poor choice. I plumped for Goff's Jouster after a taste, but it was one of those beers that fools you. The more you had of it, the more unpleasant it became. I ditched it and had a half of Abbot, my first in years and you know, I quite enjoyed it.
The next day saw me window shopping in Glasgow prior to taking Mum for a curry. Back to the Counting House, with Mum remarking that she misses her odd outing to them, as "a pub is a much better to have a drink in than home". Indeed Mum. Jaipur was a touch green and not clear, as often it seems to be. My twitter enquiries about other folks' experiences with this beer fell on deaf ears however. Is it just me then? Our curry house was two doors up from BrewDog Glasgow. We were between buses, so went in. I liked the place a lot and though they were probably bemused by both me and Mum, they treated us well. All keg of course and my half of 77 lager was unappealingly watery - that again - and the Zeitgeist had somehow mislaid its mojo on the long journey from Fraserburgh to Glasgow. Still, it had to be done and it was.
I'll draw a line under our late lunch the next day and my pints of Draught Guinness and Tennents Lager. Both awful, but suffice to say, Guinness particularly seems in rapid decline taste wise, with its over-cooked, stale cardboard flavour and its thinness. The Tennents just tasted watery and watered down, which it is. A couple of days later, on the way back to Manchester, I had a quick pint of Harviestoun Natural Blonde which was pretty good, with a snappy, refreshing hop taste and a slight spicy wheatiness. The pumpclip may well offend some though. Time for one more before my journey. I popped into the Drum and Monkey and five beers were on. I opted for a half of Ilkley Lotus IPA. I had to ask for a sparkler, which caused the very personable East Coaster behind the bar to grimace, confiding in me that he disliked them. We agreed to differ and chatted amiably. He now looks after the beer and is a stickler for both choice and quality. He berated the previous regime, as is customary, but I surmised instantly that he'll be an asset to the pub. As always in pubs, get the staffing and beer right and you are on a winner. The Lotus was splendid, so much so, that I had another quick half, before hot footing it round the corner to Trans Pennine Express and the railway line southwards.
So a mixed bag in very limiting circumstances in Glasgow, but overall, not so bad.
If you ever want a very decent curry, tapas style, Mother India Cafe can be combined with BrewDog Glasgow, right opposite the Kelvin Hall.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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