Monday 3 June 2013

Glasgow Bottles It - Valhalla's Goat

There was a time, not too long ago, when your choice of bottled beers from Glasgow’s off licences was strictly limited to those six bottles for a fiver deals that were always accompanied by the obligatory blue plastic carrier bag. You could have had any type of beer that you wanted as long as it was Stella, Carling, Tennents, McEwans and one or two more of the stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap beer brigade made by the brewing behemoths.

However, that was then.

This is now...

In the past year or so, Glasgow’s bottled beer choice has improved markedly. Partly driven by changing consumer taste but also by keen beer drinkers who, frustrated by the limited choice and poor range of beers available in the ‘Beer Green Place’, saw it as their mission to try and change Glasgow’s beer landscape completely.

Take Derek and Alex of Hippo Beers, for example. Two beer enthusiasts who simply had had enough of struggling to find decent beers to have at home so decided to set up shop at Queen Margaret Drive in December last year selling a super selection of UK, US and Continental beers. The Hippo Beers boys are driven by their love of beer and their passion for their product seeps from every pore. You may think that’s empty hyperbole but go into Hippo and ask them to recommend a couple of beers and you’ll see what I mean. The Hippo Beers boys are ale evangelists and craft converters.

Where they have led, others will follow.

And, haven’t they just...

Today, I paid my first visit to a new beer shop that only opened at the weekend. I say only opened, but that’s not strictly true. It’s been open a while under the guise of QuelVin and before that it was a branch of Oddbins. However, it now has new owners and it goes by the rather fetching name of Valhalla’s Goat. The new owners, Scott and Bruce Williams, are no strangers to the beer industry as they are the pair behind the Williams Brewery. The Brothers also own Inn Deep Bar which is situated in a couple of old storage arches directly below Valhalla’s Goat. Inn Deep has been one of my ‘go to’ bars since it opened at the tail end of last year. It serves an intriguing assortment of cask and keg beers and you are often likely to see strange and exotic beer beasts on their menu.
 I like Inn Deep very much.

Probably, as much as I’m going to like Valhalla’s Goat.

The first thought that passed my mind as I scanned the row after row and shelf after shelf of bottle after bottle was that the Williams Brothers must have built up a load of beer contacts in their years in the business. It shows on the shelves that creak under the weight of a huge selection of beers from all over the globe. I could begin to list them but I would be here a while. I’ll let the photos do the talking.


The board outside the shop assured me that they had 216 different beers within. I wasn’t going to count them all but the selection was impressive. However, Valhalla’s Goat is a thirsty beast and the brothers intend to keep the Goat sated by stocking even more bottles than they currently have. They aim to have over 500 beers when fully laden as well as a growler filling station with three taps. Two taps serving keg beer and one serving cask. Also, given their proximity to Inn Deep, the intention is that all of the beers on sale in Valhalla’s Goat will be available in the bar.


With Hippo Beers now established and the arrival of Valhalla’s Goat, it’s a good time to be a Glasgow beer drinker.

- Valhalla's Goat can be found at 449 Great Western Road, Glasgow -