If you've been a regular visitor to the site since we started it in 2017... well, first off, you're a legend. No, really. There doesn't appear to be many of you around these days, so a big thank you. The cheque is in the post. No, really. I posted it last week. It must've been delayed or something. Honest.
Anyway, if you've been around the site at any point over the last few months, you'll have noticed a dearth of content since about September last year, until we learned the art of necromancy and resurrected its corpse to create the monster you currently see before you. We are absolutely trying to correct this RIGHT NOW - but, for me anyway, it felt a bit like I was going around in circles. I mean, I'm obviously nowhere near the point where I've drank every single beer on the planet, but it did feel like we'd reached a point where every beer was starting to taste the same and every review was almost a cut n paste job of the last.
I don't want to sound jaded. I still enjoy beer. It just seemed to become ever more difficult to try to sound interesting and witty, whilst drinking the 50th IPA that month and failing to find anything interesting or witty to say about it. I genuinely had two bottles of pale ale a week or so ago, from completely different breweries, that could've been from the same batch. That's not to say they were particularly bad - on the contrary, the first bottle was quite enjoyable. But by the time I got to the 2nd, bigger bottle, I was beginning to feel bloated and just a little ...bored? So much so that I ended up pouring it out and going to bed early. I can hear the UN Peacekeepers at the door now, ready to whisk me away to the gulag...
"I ended up pouring out the rest of the beer and going to bed. I can hear the UN Peacekeepers at the door now..."
I'm also - and I dunno if anyone has noticed it in my writing recently - trying to be less negative when it comes to my beer reviews. This is a conscious effort on my part and is down to some stuff that I'm doing in Real Life. I won't go into the details here, as I imagine some people may see it as a massive conflict of interest with my duties to run this here website. Suffice to say, I now understand the stress and pain people can go through from reading some less than savoury words written about something you've poured your heart into.
All that being said - holy shitballs motherfuckers. What a weekend of beer I just had. I mean a genuinely eye-opening, head-exploding, ball-bursting weekend. Just... I... it... muh...
Deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
So, look - despite the previous 4 or 5 paragraphs, it does seem to be the case that you can find some really special beers out there if you go off the beaten track. Yes, we've previously raved about the improvements that supermarkets - Tesco, in particular - are making these days, but they still lag behind the specialist shops out there. Scott's mentioned some of the gems he finds at his secret shop in Bellshill, but I also have an ace in my sleeve; the Grunting Growler (stop laughing) on Dumbarton Road, Partick(ish). It also has the added benefit of being 3 or 4 doors down from a handmade doughnut shop as well. If the Doritos factory was around the corner, I'd probably just live outside on the street somewhere and never move.
GG is a small, specialty craft beer shop and tap room, which boasts a supremely awesome collection of ales to choose from. It also has, in its proprietor, a man who lives and breathes craft beer and who is only too happy to take the time to talk about the different delights that fill the fridges of his establishment. And what delights. "Kid in a candy store" is a cliché that's thrown about a lot, but it's the only appropriate phrase for my visit on Saturday. Awe, would probably be another good word to use here. I could've spent a lot of time there, picking and choosing till my heart was content, but I doubt my bank balance would've thanked me afterwards.
"Kid in a candy store is a cliché that's thrown about a lot - but it's appropriate here."
I ended up choosing four beers and I think it's safe to say, that I can see at least three reviews on the horizon as a result (I still have one beer to drink). I think it was the shot in the arm that I needed, to drag me out of my rut.
"Save the best till last" is another well-used cliché. And I would usually find myself trying to keep the best beer till later in the week, to keep you all on tenterhooks. Except, this time, all of the three beers I tried were stunning. I can't choose the best from them. It's impossible. And, this far into this "review", I genuinely haven't decided which beer I'm actually going to write about. I haven't written a headline (I usually add it at the end), so at this point, I have no idea where I'm going with this article. I'm half wondering if I should just finish here, leave you all waiting for a review and come back tomorrow when I've calmed down a bit. I mean, I'm ten paragraphs deep here and I still haven't actually talked about any of the beers yet! What is this madness?
OK, decision made: I think, in the interest of giving each of these beers their own time to shine - and given I've already waffled on here than is strictly necessary - I shall return tomorrow, focussed (maybe) on the task at hand.
Until then, live long and prosper.