Sunday, 5 June 2011

Pop Up Pints at #gbw11


Where to start? I've been out drinking every night since last Thursday and it's been a blast. Now to get it all blogged. Just dive in, I suppose.

Pop Up Pints is an event that nearly drove me mad. It was conceived to be a key event of Beer Week, where homebrewers could present their beers to the general public. The brewers get feedback, the punters get to taste (hopefully) interesting beers and learn that you don't need to be a professional to make good beer.

As a venue, brand new indie bar Heavenly stepped in. I think they saw a connection between the DIY music scene they come from and what Beer Week was trying to do. The bar manager is also keen on interesting beer, so it could develop into a café with a serious beer offering too, which is a nice prospect.

Brewers were able to set up in the DJ booth, which was great because it was like being behind the bar … without actually being behind the bar, so not getting in the way of the people working behind the bar.

Quite unexpectedly, there was a mad rush for free beer.

The first half hour was pretty hectic as everyone wanted to try different beers, but as we were doing our best to avoid sediment by decanting the bottle-conditioned beers into pint glasses, then into halves, it was more a case of filling glasses from whichever bottle had just been opened.

Six beers were being served: Zombie Creeping Pale, Crocodile Fat Tail, Porter, Mint Beer, Bobcade and Caledonian Dark Ale.



The name of the last is of course a riff on the Cascadian Dark Ale, reflected in the label:



Since Beer Week grew out of Portland artist Eric Steen’s Glasgow Beer and Pub Project last year, it was nice to have a beer there with a Portland connection – especially since Eric designed the label for it. All the other beers had custom labels specially designed by volunteer graphic artists and illustrators too.

I’m envious of Portland. It’s unfair to measure Glasgow against the capital of American craft beer, but I like to think there is potential to close the gap a little. Portland, around the same size as Glasgow, has twenty-six breweries. We have just three in Glasgow proper … but encouragingly, people who work at all three came to taste the beer made by the amateurs!





Everyone seemed to have a good time and we gave out around 45 litres of beer.

I would have liked to hear more feedback on the beers, but I was just too busy on the night. What I did manage to hear was very positive, sometimes overwhelmingly so.

One comment I never, ever, get tired of hearing, though, is: “I don’t usually like beer, but I like this!” It makes all the effort worthwhile.

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