I was keen to see some fireworks on Sunday night, but as a southsider I didn’t fancy the traipse to Glasgow Green, so instead chose to climb to the top of Queen's Park for good view across the city. That meant that, as well as the supposed main event I also got to see various smaller shows from back gardens and – the star of the evening for me and almost everyone else up next to the flagpole – a series of smaller but very much perfectly formed explosions from a local pyrotechnician.

That got me thinking about beers, and how the best examples are not always the ones that create the most fuss. So, this week I’m looking at five breweries who while maybe not being the best known are as worthy, if not more so, of your attention as the big names.

Marble/Cigar City It's Beer (Not Candles)

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I was drawn to this one by the daft name (which is in fact a sly dig at the tasting notes for many modern beers), but stayed for combination of fruit forward, modern and admittedly perhaps slightly trendy hops and that much maligned favourite style of mine, Lager. It’s initially tropical on the nose, before notes of citrus and melon, then light and creamy on the palate with a nice dose of sweet malt character balanced out by light bitterness and plenty of fruit from the hopsin the finish. Fantastically fruity, most other hopped lagers can’t hold a candle (arf, sorry!) to this.

Amundsen/Dugges/Dry & Bitter Hop Magic


Three of Scandinavia’s finest go head to head for this hazy New England style IPA. Unsurprisingly given the calibre of the breweries involved this pretty much knocks it out of the park. Resplendent in a can that looks like one of our regular customers, when poured it looks like Pineapple juice, and it smells much the same with added mango, papaya and a little soft citrus, mouth filling and almost chewy on the palate with more of the fruit that the aroma did more than hint at and a zesty, pithy and slightly bitter finish that offsets any juicy fruit overkill.

Basqueland Gatza Gose


It’s maybe getting a little late in the year for this light and refreshing style, but a little fiddle with the thermostat and you can drink gose no matter the season. This one from Basqueland is a pretty straightforward reading of the style, with notes of preserved lemon and a good dose of minerality on the nose, a sharp saline quality on the palate and a long fresh and invigorating finish.

Wylam Sweetleaf


There were three new releases from Wylam this week, and I had initially earmarked their Macchiato – a hazelnut praline coffee porter - for review, but all of those words in a row were obviously too much for most to resist and we were sold out in a day (hopefully we’ll have more by the time you read this though). Instead I’ve gone for their East Coast style IPA, a very different beast but also a cracker with Pineapple and stone fruit backed by herbaceous and pine notes in the aroma, before a smooth and resinous mouthful that adds peach to the mix and a pithy grapefruit note in the finish.

North End Pit Boss


New Zealand’s North End brewery are pretty new to us, this is only the second of their beers that we have seen (see a couple of weeks ago for my take on their Oud Bruin), but if they carry on in this vein then I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on them. They say they make food friendly beers and this undoubtedly falls into that category, combining two of my favourite autumnal styles – the dark toffee treats of a Dopplebock and the smoky notes of Rauchbier – to create something that I think would pair perfectly with charcuterie or a cheese board.