As the sun starts to warm up Scotland it’s taps aff for beer bottles. Jay Thundercliffe finds out what’s bubbling up on the festival front
After a successful 2014 event Craft Beer Rising (Fri 4 & Sat 5 Sep) returns to Glasgow’s favourite hipster brewery Drygate with lots of brewers and street fooders setting up stall to musical accompaniment. Glasgow and Edinburgh also host more traditional ale-centred festivals include the Scottish Real Ale Festival (Thu 9–Sun 12 Jul) at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange with a selection of over 150 Scottish real ales, while the Briggait hosts the Glasgow Real Ale Festival (Thu 25–Sat 27 Jun) with over 100 ales from Scotland and beyond under the glass roof of the old fish market.
Beyond the central belt cities, Argyll brewery Fyne Ales sets out their stall for FyneFest (Fri 12–Sun 14 Jun), with brews from around the UK, music and food from local producers. North Hop (Fri 21 & Sat 22 Aug) in Inverness is a hip Highland happening, with craft beers, live music and food. As the sun starts to wane in early September there is Black Isle Brewery’s Jocktoberfest (Fri 4 & Sat 5 Sep), featuring two days of ‘beer, bands and burgers’.
A new festival this year is the Eaglesham Beer Fest (Sat 6 Jun). This free event is a first both for the Renfewshire village and for organiser Fraser Wilson, a Glasgow-based journalist, food writer and reviewer for our Eating & Drinking Guide. Wilson explains some of the challenges of setting up from scratch: 'You need a strong idea of what you want to achieve – and keeping that in mind throughout is important because it is a difficult process. I did fairly well in identifying what needed addressing but there is so much than expected, and so many hoops to jump through that they can appear never ending.'
'The goal was to highlight great, small producers, so costings are crucial as too big a price tag would be an obstacle for some. And being able to explain to people what you are doing and why they should take a risk with you is crucial. Now we’re close and plans are in place I can’t wait to bring this free-entry community event to a beautiful village – and I’m looking forward to some sleep, regular blood pressure and calm.'