The Vintage @ Drygate: destination drinking and dining in Glasgow
The team-up between Tennent's and Williams Bros is an impressive and expansive cathedral to all things beer
There’s understandable jumpiness when craft brewers cosy up to the big boys but, as Jay Thundercliffe discovers, it can also make bigger better
Anyone drinking or dining out recently can’t fail to have noticed the rise of craft beer and independent breweries, not only across Scotland but globally. Such a phenomenon has this market become that mass producers are getting involved, too – hence Drygate, a partnership between mega-brewer Tennent’s and Scottish crafter Williams Bros. It may seem like conviviality from contradiction, but the upshot is an impressive and expansive cathedral to all things beer, with eating and drinking courtesy of the Vintage, a previous Williams bar project that has been impressing Edinburgh since early 2013.
Current fashions for stripped-back industrial stylings seem like so much contrivance compared to the thoughtful conversion of Drygate’s old box factory next to Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery. Add in brewing equipment visible from the 120-cover main restaurant (upstairs has a long-benched beer hall and outdoor terrace), an open kitchen, caged-off shop, and forklifts whizzing around in the neighbouring yard and dining here is a pleasant immersion amid industry, even if hipsters seriously outnumber grafters.
The brewery’s three core beers – a light, crisp lager in Bearface, fruity Outaspace Apple Ale, and deep Gladeye IPA – are excellent beginnings and can be sampled in a trio of third-pints. Also racked up behind the bar are 24 taps offering kegs and casks from around the world, plus seemingly endless bottled brews.
Vintage’s signature charcuterie, fish and vegetable grazing menu is excellent, and irresistible to easily intrigued diners. Some is cured and smoked in house including a delicious beer-infused pork belly and smoked duck, with much of the rest carefully sourced from mainly UK suppliers. Other smoked items such as Toulouse sausage, salmon and tomatoes (bizarrely priced the same as the salmon) sit mouthwateringly pretty on a board, a side of saukerkraut a great complement to it all.
Burgers, of course, get a look in – a juicy, not-too-dense pattie with hints of warm spice is suitably gourmeted in a brioche bun. Pulled pork burrito is generous, messy and enjoyable; fish and chips less so, overly oily, crisply but not tastily battered, with chunky skin-on chips that suffer from being pre-salted to acquired tastes. Odd hiccup aside, this is destination drinking and dining the like of which Glasgow hasn’t seen for a long time.
+ An industrial edifice to excite any hophead
- The occasional unsteady wobble on the food front