Don’t cast your cloot til May is oot
I love beer gardens, I really do, but it’s tough beer gardening in Glasgow at the best of times. We are not blessed with the climate of Bavaria and so each spring, when I optimistically head to West on the Green for my first open-air lager of the season, I have grown used to drinking it with gloves and a scarf on.
It was good training for this year, when the Scottish Government’s plan for re-opening hospitality included a three-week purgatory stage, when pubs can serve alcoholic drinks, but only outside.
I had four layers on and after an hour I was shivering despite eating a hot meal. I resolved that I would wear long johns the next time I ventured out. The brewery’s dark lager, now renamed DRK because nobody in Glasgow knows what a Dunkel is, is suitably caramelly and toasty.
In the nation that of necessity thinks taking a blanket and a thermos of soup to the beach is a perfectly normal precaution, I had confidence that Glaswegians would return to pubs even if they had to sit outside, and come the weekend they did.
They sat outside, they sat in the rain, they queued up in order to sit outside in the rain.
They drank and laughed and chatted and joked and seemed to relish being a part of this particular moment in history. Do you remember 2021, when we had to sit outside pubs in the rain?
Probably the novelty of this will wear off quite soon, but for now any pub in the city centre can have as much custom as it can legally cope with, at least at the weekends.
A further trip to West during the following week enjoyed much better weather and we switched the DRK for a lighter beer, Feierabend. It’s 4.2% and roughly in the Pilsener style with a nice smack of aromatic noble hops, and in that moment at least it seemed to be West’s best beer. Feierabend means “knocking-off time” and it was only – I was concentrating on the beer – as I looked around the beer garden that I realised having an after-work beer in the sun was precisely what we were all doing. Normality is slowly returning. May there be more Feierabend beers as summer approaches.