Glasgow Ale Festival
As Glasgow indulges in some serious beer drinking, Kenny Mathieson soaks in the atmosphere.
The 1994 Glasgow Ale Festival at The Arches is the city's first real beer festival since 1987. The area has been something of a backwater in the
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resurgence of interest in real ale — traditionally brewed beer with yeast left in the barrel —— but the organisers of the festival are adamant that things are changing.
The festival is organised by the (ilasgow 8; West of Scotland Branch of (‘AMRA ((‘ampaign for Real Ale). 1 met with Susan McMaster (who is also responsible for the beer in The Arches) Kenny Gillies and Bill Morris. all part of a much larger voluntary team charged with making sure the beers
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llow smoothly on the (layls).
"There are a huge variety of real beers out there. and we have over llX) different ales from around Britain and a foreign beer bar. including a number which have not been seen in Glasgow before.‘ says Susan. "The space here is ideal for a beer festival. and we hope to have an exhibition on the process of dispensing beer. and w ill be providing music each night as well.‘
The festiver has been brewing for around live months. but in reality has
been bubbling under ever since CAMRA‘s last event in the old Anderston centre. The branch has around 280 members now, and it is hoped this event will help raise awareness among the Glasgow drinking public. where the popularity of real ale still lags behind Edinburgh.
‘I think the perception within the industry is that Glasgow is five years behind,‘ Kenny Gillies confirmed. ‘Now. though. the perception is that Edinburgh is saturated, and the brewers are increasingly targeting Glasgow.‘
‘ln 1974. there was not a single pub in Glasgow serving real ale.‘ Bill Morris continued. ‘but in Edinburgh that was never the case —— real ale always had a foothold there, and the growth was much greater from that base. lt's changing here now. but the spread is still very uneven throughout the city.‘ The festival runs Thurs I 5. 3—1] pm; Fri I 6/Sat l7. [lam—11.30pm. with strictly no admission after [0.30pm. Admission of f 2.50 im'ludes a souvenir glass (oversize, and calibrated to ensure you get a full pint). and beer prir‘es will be pegged to the [1.30—[1 . 70 range. M usie eomes from folk duo Black liyed Biddy ( Thurs ). jazz group the Russell (‘owiesoti Quintet (Fri). and blues band Baby Isaac (Sat).
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The List 9—22 September I‘M-1 79