Iconic Scottish beer brand Innis & Gunn are set to launch their flagship Beer Kitchen bar and restaurant in Glasgow this weekend.

The fourth Beer Kitchen will open at the former site of Ketchup, on Ashton Lane, in the heart of the city’s West End.

The new venue will be the Scottish independent brewer’s largest yet and will feature the brewer’s first on-site microbrewery, 17 keg taps and three cask taps.

Opening to the public on Friday 14th April, the new Beer Kitchen will have three floors, with the ground floor housing the craft beer bar and micro-brewery while the first floor will be the location of the restaurant. The third floor will be a more relaxed space which people will be able to hire out and will host gigs and events.

Innis & Gunn founder and head brewer Dougal Sharp said: “We opened our first Beer Kitchen in Edinburgh as it was our home town but we had always planned to open one in Glasgow.

• READ MORE: An interview with Dougal Sharp: Innis & Gunn’s founder and master brewer

“It was critical that we get the right location, so when we got the opportunity to take this site on Ashton Lane, which is such an iconic street in the Glasgow nightlife scene, we jumped on it.

“It was quite a complicated project to open a unit of this size, particularly with the micro brewery on site, but it was such a perfect spot. The fit out team have done really well turning it around and the quality of the finish is just incredible, we can’t wait to let the public see it.

Beer Kitchen

The top floor. Picture: Innis & Gunn

“Every opening is different and it’s exciting to see how the Beer Kitchen brand is evolving. There is a massive boom in craft beer just now, where people are rejecting the boring mass produced beers of the past in favour of craft beers with real flavour, and we are at the forefront of that, not just in the UK, but internationally, and it’s a truly amazing thing to be part of.”

Sharp says that local beer fans and visitors to the city can expect great beer (brewed by Ashton Lane head brewer Digger Robinson), delicious food and loads of innovation.

“First and foremost, we will be offering amazing beer. The whole reason we are here is that we love craft beer and we are excited to share that with everyone.

“By putting the microbrewery in this bar, it just enables us to experiment and brew beers that we just couldn’t brew in the big plant.

Beer Kitchen

The main bar on the ground floor. Picture: Innis & Gunn

“So alongside Innis & Gunn’s core range of beers, we are also going to brewing things like the marshmallow milk stout.

“For instance, we have a mango IPA in the fermentor at the moment, and we’ve also brewed a lovely table beer for the launch.

“There’s all sorts of things we are going to be brewing here specially for our customers in Glasgow”

Sharp points out that the most exciting aspect of having the brewery on site is that they can ask the public for ideas for beers that they would like to see Innis & Gunn brew, and then create them before allowing people to try them out at the bar.

“Our fans can send us ideas and we’ll invite everyone to give us ideas of what they want to see us making here.

“A big part of what craft beer is all about is democratisation and collaboration, so that’s what we want to do here.

“We are looking to create forums so that people can suggest things to us, be that on Facebook, other social media channels, or even by coming in to the Glasgow Beer Kitchen and talking to the staff here.”

The team say they will also be offering brew days at the Glasgow Beer Kitchen whereby people can come in and brew beer for themselves or even help to create beers that will be served on the main bar.

Beer won’t be the only attraction though, the bar will be offering plenty of wines and spirits for those looking to drink something different and there will be the usual array of fantastic dishes and bar bites on offer on the first two floors.

Sharp added: “There’s a bar restaurant on the ground floor and a restaurant on the first floor and we’ve cherry-picked some of the best bits from our menus at our different sites such as the Korean Fried Cauliflower from Dundee, the Haggis doughnuts from Edinburgh and some bar bites from St Andrews, and they will all be on offer here along side some other classic dishes.

“On top of that, our chef Steve is a local guy, he’s worked at a lot of different places around Glasgow, so he really knows the scene here and he’s brought his own touches and his personality to the menu.”

The restaurant. Picture: Innis & Gunn

Sharp says the team will also be offering plenty of advice on food pairings and that if any customer wishes to know what a particular beer tastes like before they buy, they can try a small taster for free.

“We invest a lot in staff training making sure the staff are friendly and knowledgeable about everything we do here.”

The brand’s founder says the micro-brewery isn’t the only new toy the bar will have to play around with.

“Having a craft brewery on site enables us to make the most amazing fresh beer right here on the premises and then we put it on the fresh beer tanks and then it goes straight onto the bar, so it’s three seconds from tank to tap so it’s the freshest beer you can get.

“We have an infuser on the bar in which you can put hops and fruit and the beer will flow over them to create these amazing new flavour combinations.

“We also have the barrel aging room where we plan to mature a range of different beers in miniaturised (virgin) oak barrels so you’ll be able to go in and actually taste beer from an oak barrel and actually see the effect that it has on the flavour.

“We’ll also be teaming up with our local distillery Auchentoshan to use some of their casks to age our beer and there will even be some ready for the launch.”

To celebrate the launch and in a nod to Glasgow’s rich art heritage, Innis & Gunn is collaborating with local artist Lynn Howarth to provide customers with bespoke portraits made using beer.

In advance of the launch, Lynn has created several portraits of British celebrities including; Peter Capaldi, Sean Connery, Irvine Welsh and Ed Sheeran – all painted using Innis & Gunn’s Kith & Kin stout.

On Saturday 15th April, Lynn will be in residence at the bar from 2 – 4pm to paint portraits of some lucky customers.

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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