One of Scotland's most popular annual real ale festivals is set to return to Glasgow for its sixth year this weekend.

Launching on Thursday 20th June, Glasgow Real Ale Festival (G-RAF) will see the historic former fish market, The Briggait, host the city’s biggest line-up of real ales.

Running until Saturday 22nd June, the festival showcases cask-conditioned real ale from all over the UK from Orkney to Sussex, many from highly-regarded breweries rarely seen in Glasgow like Mallinson’s, Durham, and First Chop, as well as popular classics.

The Briggait, is the venue for this year’s Glasgow Real Ale Festival.

Festival organiser Jonathan Kemp stated that the Glasgow and West of Scotland branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)were hoping for a good attendance at this year’s event, he said: “Although we are indoors, we are hoping for some sunshine. The Briggait is a terrific venue anyway, but looks at its best when the sun is streaming in through the glass roof.”

Entrance costs £6 (£4 for CAMRA members) with a discount if you wish to come back on subsequent days, sessions run from 12pm until 10.30pm Friday and Saturday with a slightly later opening time of 3.30pm on the Thursday.

Local beers are very well represented, with breweries such as Loch Lomond, Fyne Ales, Drygate, Ride, Merchant City – all within the area covered by the Glasgow and West of Scotland CAMRA branch – supplying beer.

Picture: CAMRA

Kemp added that there are now “almost 200 breweries in Scotland alone” and that this year sees a warm welcome for two new breweries – Lennox from Dumbarton and Yoker-based Overtone – who had not yet started up at the time of last year’s festival.

In total over 80 different beers will be available over the three days of the festival, from easy-drinking quaffers like Lacons Encore (3.8% abv) to heavy hitters like Broughton Double IPA (8.2% abv).

The festival’s headline sponsor Isle of Skye Brewing Co. is of course represented with four of its beers, and programme sponsor Broughton Ales has supplied a special version of its Wee Jock ale aged in Amarone casks.

Redcastle brewery, joining the roster of sponsors for the first time, is bringing four beers, two of which haven’t been seen before.

Classics such as Harviestoun’s cask lager Schiehallion and Theakston’s legendary strong ale Old Peculier, and several former winners of CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain award: Tiny Rebel Cwtch, Timothy Taylor Landlord and Elland 1872 Porter – not to forget Glasgow CAMRA’s current Beer of the Year, Loch Lomond Southern Summit will all be available over the course of the weekend.

For seekers of novel flavours, Campervan’s Leith Juice flavoured with orange zest, or Merchant City’s Mint Saison with mint and Earl Grey tea will be two of the more exotic options on offer.

To keep up to date with what’s happening, the organisers say this year will feature a live beer list which will show the beers currently available on the free smartphone app Real Ale Finder.

As well as cask-conditioned real ale, the festival offers real cider and perry and a selection of foreign beers from Belgium and the Netherlands, while a keg bar features real ale in the innovative KeyKeg format.

For the first time, G-RAF will have a dedicated gin bar, run by Eden Mill, while  mead and soft drinks will also be available.

A spokesperson for CAMRA said: “There‘s a special treat for new members of the campaign. If you sign up to join CAMRA at the membership stand during the festival, CAMRA will stand you two free pints.”

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-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 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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