Sunny Glasgow weekends traditionally see locals flock to Ashton Lane in their droves, with groups of pals desperate to grab an outside seat or park their bum in a minuscule grassy beer garden space. For the last wee while, though, it seems that out with these rare flourishes of bright stuff in the sky, Ashton Lane has been forsaken in favour of its trendier, Finnieston rival. Things have gone a tad stale in the west end.

The recent arrival of Innis and Gunn’s flagship Beer Kitchen and on-site micro-brewery may just be the trigger to redress this particular balance. Alongside the recent works to revamp Brel’s beer garden, it seems like come rain or shine, summer could be a good time to get in amongst the cobbles again.

Glasgow has fully embraced the rise of craft beer in recent years, with the city’s scene thriving thanks to the likes of Drygate, West and Brewdog. Innis and Gunn have now joined these ranks with a huge investment to take over the unit, most recently occupied by Ketchup. The upper floors have now been utilised to create three uniquely welcoming levels of beery goodness and associated hoppy offerings.

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The ground floors host their on-site brewing, a first for Innis and Gunn. The brewing process is right there for patrons to witness, with the presence of the tanks and pipes creating an industrial feel, tempered by softly designed bar and floor space. Elsewhere, with its exposed brick, large booths and murals, it’s clear that it isn’t aimed at a particular demographic, more so, lovers of craft beer and innovative flavours. The staff are efficient and knowledgeable, offering advice and talking customers through their repertoire with ease.

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Food is available on the ground floor too, in addition to the inspired tasting station where groups can book to be taken through a variety of beers by a member of the Ashton Lane team. We’ll definitely be back for that! In the summer, the large windows of the ground floor will be thrown open to allow customers to sit on stools and watch the eclectic west end foot traffic in the lane. Sounds like a good way to spend an afternoon with us… And with many drinking game possibilities!

On the second floor, you’ll find the more traditional, welcoming restaurant space, with its exposed kitchen producing beer-infused food such as the duck Boozy Bird and Haggis Chieftain featuring a special Innis and Gun Original sauce. Tables are bookable through the Beer Kitchen website. The third floor has a darker, more speakeasy vibe, with dark wood, windows shutters and live music in the evenings. The space features private recess booths, large help yersel but don’t forget to pay fridges (think Allison Arms) and an imposing, traditional bar. It’s here that you’ll find both cocktails and hoptails! The latter being the fabulous meeting of a spirit and Innis and Gunn, expertly flavoured and fashioned into something insanely delicious. The Scotch option is a good place to start… With future plans to implement club-style, reserved booth deals featuring buckets of beers or prosecco, as well as table service in the offing, it’s clear that the Beer Kitchen isn’t content to rest on its laurels.

Image: http://thebeerkitchen.co.uk/gallery/

With over an astounding 1200 litres of their three special in-house brews alone being poured in the first week of business, and additional emergency deliveries from the Innis And Gunn brewery having to be called in, it’s fair to say that it’s so far so good for Innis and Gunn in Glasgow.

***Words by Clare Mac***