Beer and Food Pairing with Red Onion Restaurant

I am a firm believer that beer pairs with food just as well, if not better, than wine. There are so many different beer styles, with a vast range of flavours that can compliment all kinds of dishes from sweet to savoury. Thankfully I’m not alone in this thinking and John Quigley from Red Onion Restaurant also agrees. John has had an incredible life in food, starting off as a chef in a London restaurant to becoming a private chef to the stars including Tina Turner and Bryan Adams and the incredible Guns n Roses, where he learnt to cater to all sorts of weird and wonderful dietary requirements. He now owns Red Onion restaurant in Glasgow, just up from the city centre on West Campbell Street. He specialises in catering for all dietary requirements – he has a full menu for vegan and gluten-free guests as well as the regular menu, featuring classics like steak and bang bang chicken. Last weekend, he was doing a Facebook live cook-a-long for Glasgow Pantry, sharing the recipes for on those very two dishes and invited me along via Zoom to share my thoughts on what beers would work best to accompany them both.

Bang Bang Chicken

This is a firm favourite in the restaurant – a light, spicy and zingy salad with a peanut dressing and fresh lime and mint. On hearing what goes into making Bang Bang chicken, I immediately thought of lager, in particular, a Pilsner. I chose Merchant City Brewing‘s Pilsner because not only are they a Glasgow-based brewery and I wanted to keep it local, but their Pilsner is a fantastic example of the style. It’s very light, with quite a lot of lemon coming through in the aroma which would help to amplify the citrus in the salad. The bitterness cuts through the creamy peanut dressing to sharpen the flavours and it’s extremely refreshing to help cool your mouth from the chilli heat.

My second option was for those who maybe aren’t quite beer converts yet, or are craving a cocktail but can’t be bothered with the faff of making them at home. Mojito Sour is from another Glasgow brewery, Ride Brewing. This is brewed with lime zest in the boil and mint and lime is added at the end. The result is pretty much exactly like drinking a mojito! I was a little worried it was just going to taste like just another fruity sour, but was delighted when the focus really was getting that mojito taste, with only a slightly sour note. Mint, lime….I needn’t really say more on why this worked so well with the Bang Bang.

Steak with Creamed Spinach and Sauté Potatoes

Steak and red wine are a match made in heaven. But you can pair beer with red wine too! The rich flavours you associate with red wine – dark fruits, a tannin bitterness and a little sweetness, can all be found in beer, albeit from different raw ingredients. I’ve looked at two beer styles depending on what kind of wine you like.

Those who like a deep, rich and smooth red like a Cab Suav, could try a stout or porter. You’d be best getting one with no adjuncts that will alter the tatse. Porters tend to be slightly sweeter and less bitter than stouts so depending on your preference, you could pick either. I chose Elemental by Tempest which is a lovely, decadent porter with loads of dry, rich and dark fruits with a slight bitter chocolate aftertaste. The bold flavours really stand up to the steak and the dryness provides a nice contrast to the creamed spinach and potatoes.

Alternatively, if you prefer a spicier red with lighter fruits (like a Merlot maybe?! My wine knowledge is very limited…), then a rye beer is for you. I LOVE this Red Rye by Barney’s in Edinburgh. Rye gives a lovely, spicy, peppercorn note and it has a rich, almost umami, meaty depth of flavour. This combined with lighter fruits and a slight sweetness results in a whirlwind of flavour captured in this unassuming beer.

You can watch the full cook-a-long here

Edinburgh Beer Factory to Open Bar and Restaurant Paolozzi in March

I went to uni in Edinburgh so Forrest Road was a regular haunt of mine. Back in 2010, aside from Doctors pub and a cracking Baguette Express (RIP ☹), there wasn’t really that much going on. A new bar will be a welcome addition to that little stretch and so close to the university means an abundance of thirsty clientele.

Taking over the old RBS building, Edinburgh Beer Factory have joined forces with Gino Stornaiuolo of Nonna’s Kitchen to open ‘Paolozzi Restaurant & Bar’. Named after the Edinburgh-born ‘Father of Pop Art’, Eduardo Paolozzi, the venture will combine beer, food and art to celebrate the Great Scot and wider Italian Scottish culture.

Edinburgh Beer Factory’s flagship beer brand, Paolozzi lager, features Eduardo’s ‘Illumination and the Eye’ screenprint on its packaging. For every beer sold, the brewery pays a charitable donation to the Paolozzi Foundation.

Paolozzi will obviously available at the bar, as well as other beers from the Edinburgh Beer Factory range. The menu, devised by Gino, will be an ‘Italian Scottish’ theme with dishes like ‘spuntini’ (Italian tapas-style sharing dishes served at the bar), antipasti, fresh salads, ‘build your own’ salami and cheese plates (yes please!), wood-fired pizzas and some classic larger plates.

I can’t wait to see how the old bank will be renovated, and with the connections to pop-art, my expectations are high!

Work has already begun on the venue which has revealed some exciting features including a beautifully painted ‘Surgical Instrument Makers’ ghost sign at the front of the restaurant dating back to the late 19th Century (image above) and inside, a portion of the ‘Telfer Wall’ – part of Edinburgh’s old town walls – has been unearthed and will remain an exposed feature in the new venue. Apparently, the old bank deposit vaults are being transformed into toilets, which will play audio clips of stories about Eduardo Paolozzi and some of his works so you can learn while you pee. Ideal.

Roast Vegetable and Garlic Puff Pastry Pizza


5-6 tomatoes
Tomato puree
Mixed herbs
Garlic powder
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Green pepper
Garlic (I used 5 cloves)
Puff pastry
Red onion


To make the sauce, chop the tomatoes and add to a pan with a dollop of tomato puree, mixed herbs, garlic powder, olive oil and seasoning. You can also add a bit of chili or BBQ sauce for a kick. Let simmer until the tomatoes have reduced to a thick liquid.

While the tomatoes are reducing, chop the pepper, courgette, aubergine and garlic into small chunks. Add to a baking tray with a glug of oil and salt. Mix together so the vegetables are coated and roast on about 200°c for 40 minutes or until they’re well roasted.

Once the vegetables and sauce are ready, roll out the pastry and smother over the sauce. Add the vegetables and sliced mozzarella and red onions. Return to the oven for another 20-30 mins until ready.

A Decade of Beer

I thought I’d look back at some of my favourite beer moments of the past decade. Not normally one for things like this but f*ck it eh?!

2010 – I’d always liked beer, with a pint being my drink of choice when I was out, but I’d never really thought toooo much about it, usually opting for the cheapest thing on draught since I was a student. However, in 2010 when I was home from uni in summer, my dad brought back a beer and said “you need to try this”. He passed over the bottle and the intense smokey BBQ smell hit me. From that first sniff of Schlenkerla I was hooked!

2012 – I first started blogging about beer after finishing uni and not really knowing what to do with myself. At the time, no one I knew was really into beer as much as I was so I thought having a place to write it all down would be better than boring them to death. Later that year, I started writing about beer for The Herald which led to loads of amazing opportunities, including being invited to Brewdog and spending the day with some other beer fanatics as well as James and Martin who gave up their day to host us.

2014 – I was invited on an incredible press trip to Leuven in Belgium for the launch of Heverlee where I got to try Westvleteren for the first time.

2014 – I’d moved to London in late 2012 and was working for a start up tech company with some awesome people I still consider close friends to this day. We did a lot of charity work for Anthony Nolan, as well as lots of social events, and one of the things I decided to organise was a beer festival for the office. It was great fun and was really the first time I spoke to an audience about beer.

2015 – I moved back to Scotland and started working for my family’s brewery, Lerwick Brewery. This was such a fun couple of years where I used to keep spreadsheets of all the pubs in Edinburgh, and I got strong enough to be able to deliver 60kg kegs 💪🏻 It was also really interesting to see the beer world from a producer’s point of view as well as an avid consumer!

2017 – I began writing about beer again after a year or so of being too busy working at the brewery and did some articles for Flavourly craft beer subscription box amongst others.

2018 – I went on a beer holiday to Copenhagen and fell in love with it. I also developed a slight obsession with @toolbeer

2018 – I was a judge at the Scottish Beer Awards which was a phenomenal experience.

2019 – I got to do a whisky tasting in the Ritz in Paris through work which was insane.

2019 – I was a judge in the Scotch category of the World Whisky Awards, which again was an incredible experience and so different to beer judging!

I’m so grateful for all the fun I’ve had, for all the opportunities and for all the amazingly kind and passionate people I’ve met in the industry. Thanks so much to all of you and cheers to another great decade 🍻

Port Charlotte Peated Whisky BBQ Ribs

The peatiness from the whisky adds a real depth of smokey flavour to your BBQ sauce. You could try this recipe with any peated whisky but I think Port Charlotte works particularly well because it’s got a much less medicinal flavour than other Islay whiskies.


  • Pork ribs
  • A beef stock cube
  • 50ml Port Charlotte heavily peated single malt
  • A teaspoon of chipotle chilli flakes
  • A big squirt of tomato ketchup
  • A wee squirt of honey
  • 250ml apple cider vinegar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • A splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • A splash of soy sauce
  • A teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • A sprinkle of garlic powder


Drizzle olive oil over the ribs then rub in smoked paprika. Add the ribs to a roasting tray along with a large splash of water – it should be enough to just cover the bottom of the tray – and a beef stock cube. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for three hours at gas mark 3 (140°C). Remove and brush on a liberal amout of BBQ sauce. Return to the oven without foil for 30 mins.

BBQ Sauce

Heat the chipotle chilli flakes in a pan then add the peated whisky. Allow to simmer for a minute to burn off the alcohol. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the sauce reduces and becomes sticky which should be around about 20-30 mins. Once the ribs have cooked, stir in a couple of tablespoons of the juices from the bottom of the roasting tin into the sauce.

To Serve

Pour more of the sauce over the ribs to serve. I recommend some paprika and garlic chips and coleslaw on the side

Quinoa and Aubergine Salad

This is an ideal work lunch as you can make a big batch and eat it over a few days.


  • 100g quinoa
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 3 Aubergines
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Sumac
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • Handful of parsley
  • Handful of mint
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • Half a block of feta cheese
  • Handful of black olives



Boil the quinoa with approx equal parts water and a vegetable stock cube for about 20mins and the quinoa absorbs all the water. Fluff then leave to cool.


Cut the aubergine into batons and place into a baking tray. Sprinkle liberally with sumac and salt and drizzle in olive oil. Mix then place in the oven for 20-30 mins at 220°c. Allow to cool before adding to the salad.


Finely chop the mint, parsley, tomatoes, feta and half the olives. Add to a bowl along with all the other ingredients and mix. Serve on it’s own with a drizzle of tahini or with some crusty bread and yoghurt. Some pomegranate could work really nicely with this too.


Ride Brew Co – Apricot and Orange Sour

FINALLY trying my first Ride Brew Co beer (a fairly new on the scene brewery based in Glasgow) picked up from my first visit to Wee Beer Shop – a lot of firsts. I love that the labels are hand coloured and the blurb at the back is amazing. The beer itself rings true to its description with apricots being the star of the show. There are definite orange notes in there, and maybe some lemony citrus too. As sour beers go, its on the low end of the sourness scale, but that makes it super drinkable. It is definitely a thirst quencher, and as they say on the bottle, “really nice to drink outside in the sun”. Scarily so as I’ve gulped down nearly half while typing this presuming it must be a low 3% but it’s actually 4.7! Very impressed with my first Ride beer and can’t wait to try more.

My Favourite Pubs in Glasgow

NB – this list is in no particular order…

1. The Three Judges

I love an ‘old man pub’, and the 3J is everything you’d hope for from this category. Dark, cosy interior, cheap drinks, no music and a solid real ale selection. They’re owned by Stonegate so have access to a large ale selection (I think there may be 8 or 9 cask ale lines from memory…?). They’ve recently got two Brewdog lines in if you fancy something cold and fizzy; Punk and Elvis Juice, and usually a decent malt of the month. If you want a quiet pint or two on a Friday night, you can’t beat the 3J!

2. Inn Deep

Owned by the Williams Bros, this pub couldn’t be in a better location. Below Valhalla’s Goat (which they also own), right by the river and just a stone’s throw from Kelvingrove Park. Heaven. On a sunny day, this is the place to go for a beer as the atmosphere is amazing. They have a pretty impressive line up both on draft and in bottle/can so every time you go there’s a nice new wee surprise to try.

3. The Pot Still

This is any whisky lover’s dream pub. Whiskies as far as the eye can see in a great setting with super friendly, knowledgeable staff. They’ve got a few cask lines with rotating Scottish Breweries and a nice bottle selection too. You’re pretty lucky if you get a seat as I don’t think I’ve ever been and it’s not packed, but I think that’s testament to what an excellent pub it is!

4. Drygate

Sitting drinking a beer whilst watching how it’s made is always cool, right? Well that’s exactly what you can do in Drygate. The huge windows show the brewery in all its glory. They also have a great outdoors area upstairs and a big events space which plays host to some pretty cool shows/markets and even beer festivals. As well as the staple Drygate beers, they also have beers from their experimental kit which they encourage staff to get creative with, and a good selection from quality brewers with some pretty rare kegs available.

5. Grunting Growler

A very small ‘pub’, Grunting Growler is the passion of Jehad Hetu, a lovely guy who’s been determined for years to set up his own growler joint. The space on Old Dumbarton Road is really cool with some great bottle fridges, and a few keg lines. It used to be takeaway only but in the past year, there is now a wee table to sit in and drink too, and I’ve seen on Facebook that there appears to be a screen set up ahead of the World Cup…

My boyfriend and I have been trying to shortlist the best places to go to watch matches but this has got to be no.1!

NB this photo is ancient and there’s been a bit of a change of decor since!

6. The Park Bar

Not going to lie…the beer in here isn’t great, but everything it lacks for in beer, it makes up for in atmosphere. If they got a few good lines in, this would hands down be my favourite Glasgow pub.

7. 6° North

This is the place to go if you like Belgian beers. I have to admit that I’m not the biggest Belgian fan but they always have an unusual keg line up with breweries I’ve never tried before so it’s really good for experimenting. It’s got a lovely spacious and light atmosphere too so it’s ideal for a sunny Sunday afternoon.

8. The State Bar

This is the closest good pub to my office so I occasionally pop in ‘just for one’ after work. They have probably the best cask line up I’ve seen so far in Glasgow, often with beers from Fallen, Loch Lomond as well as breweries from further afield. The bar is a circle in the middle of the room with seating areas all around so there’s often a wee seat tucked up at the back to sneak into.

9. The Counting House

Wetherspoons gets a bad name but I’m 100% sticking up for The Counting House. They have a huge beer selection and put a lot of effort into working with local breweries which is evident in both their keg and cask line up. Also, their app is class. Saying all that though, I’d probably avoid it on a Friday/Saturday night…

10. Crossing the Rubicon

The sweet potato and carrot korma from here was one of the best curries I’ve ever eaten. They’ve recently sadly done away with their curry menu and replaced it with pizza and I’m heartbroken. I’m sure the pizza is amazing if their previous menu was anything to go by (I’ve not been to try it yet), but you just can’t beat curry and beer!! I love the decor in here, loads of really cool illustrations, and they always have a good beer line up. They’ve also got a nice beer garden area on Great Western Road which is excellent for people watching.




Let me know if there are any gems I missed – always looking for new places to try!

Fallen Brewing – Big Raspberry Dog Chew

Fallen Brewing

Big Raspberry Dog Chew


I’m gonna throw it out there that Chew Chew by Fallen was one of my favourite Scottish beers…until now. The mouthfeel on this is viscous yet there’s a slight carbonation which lifts the heaviness. It’s dark, rich, sweet and delicious, like a dark chocolate and raspberry ganache. I may have mentioned I love imperial stouts, and this is no exception. I feel very proud to be Scottish when we’re producing beers like this!

Wylam/Flying Couch/Simply Hops – What the Water Wanted

Wylam/Flying Couch/Simply Hops

What the Water Wanted


This is a beautiful balance of citrus and tropical fruits with bitterness and a resiny pine note just at the end. Oats and wheat are used in addition to barley and lactose has been added too to give a lovely, viscous, almost creamy texture. This is a perfect grown up orange juice. Helps that it’s so hazy that it could pass just on looks too.