Monday, 21 November 2011
Beer at Whole Foods
A relatively small area is given over to beer — one large chiller and a couple of shelves. This is not as stingy as it sounds because only premium products are stocked. Peroni and other “world beers” are about as downmarket as it gets.
There is very little that you can't get elsewhere in Glasgow, which is a bit disappointing, but it’s a solid selection with the complete range of bottled beers from Fyne, Inveralmond, Black Isle, Colonsay etc. For imports there are a few Belgian specialities, the mighty Schlenkerla Märzen, a few dull wheat beers and sixpacks of Anchor and Flying Dog.
Whole Foods is also surely the first supermarket in Scotland to sell draught beer. I wondered whether they would transplant this practice over from the US, and they have. You can buy a 1 litre flagon and get it partly filled from one of three draught beers — two keg and one cask. Partly filled? Yes, because (and readers with a knowledge of UK licensing laws will know what’s coming) 1.5 pints is the largest legal amount of draught beer that can be filled into a litre bottle. Two pints is just a bit too much to fit. One and a half pints leaves you with a large amount of headspace, which is bad news for the beer. Agitate the bottle on your way home and you've got a lot of foam and flat beer.
Good on them for trying to sell cask-conditioned beer too, but I wouldn't like to speculate what sort of shape your cask ale will be in by the time you get to drink it. If you’re thinking of indulging in one of these flagons, probably best to drink the contents as soon as possible, rather than wait out the three days they claim it’ll last. In view of the poor keeping quality and probability of wastage, a lot of mugs like me will probably get a fill once and then go back to buying packaged beer.