They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor


West Dunkel

ABV: 4.9%
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland

For four decades cask ale has been the focus of the British beer consumer movement, and the technical specifications for its production and dispense have become embedded in the ideology of beer appreciation as if they’re judgements of value and quality, with “lager” as their polar opposites. This was always problematic, but was just about sustainable so long as practically the only decent beer being brewed in the UK was cask ale, and the only alternatives were ghastly substandard travesties churned out by industrial breweries to maximum profit margins and cacophanies of marketing hype. But the emergence of craft-brewed beers that don’t conform to the specs of “real ale” (and, by grudging extension, bottle conditioned ale) is now challenging both the prejudices of beer drinkers and the Talmudic complexities of CAMRA’s official policy. Craft-brewed lagers designed for filtering into bottles or for gas pressure dispense are at the sharp end of the debate.

A short beer review is not the place to go into these issues in detail, but it’s important context, as Glagow brewpub West is one of the founders of Lagers of the British Isles (LOBI), a joint initiative by artisanal lager brewers to help promote their products. The brewery is also remarkable for its location in a corner of the old Templeton Carpet Factory overlooking Glasgow Green, a jaw-droppingly camp and extravagantly polychromatic late 19th century industrial building popularly known as the Doge’s Palace as it parodies the iconic Palazzo Ducale in Venice.

West is the brainchild of a Franconian expatriate, Petra Wetzel, and brews with appropriately Germanic Reinheitsgebot-compliant rigour, to standards of quality that have even seen it win out in Germany in competition with native brews. Its flagship pale lager St Mungo, named after Glasgow’s patron saint, is also available outside the brewpub and is probably among the top three best golden lagers brewed in the UK. But when I found myself at a dark wood table in the brewpub’s cavernous interior one uncharacteristically balmy afternoon last summer, I particularly appreciated the , a rare style for a British brewer.

Brewed from five different malts, it’s a dark chestnut brown with a fine beige head and a soft chocolate malt aroma lifted by hops and spice. There’s lots more chocolate malt on the full palate, given interest by subtle slightly acidic fruity tones and spready chewy hops. A mild but moreish finish follows with more dark chocolate, and developing herb and cream notes. Overall it’s a beer that’s achingly authentic, beautifully fresh, easily drinkable and thoroughly satisfying.

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