The Native Dunkel of Glasgow

America is an immigrant country, and one of the ways we measure sophistication is cultural diversity. Does a town have good examples of world cuisine? No decent Ethiopian restaurant: well, that's not a real city. Paradoxically, we like the rest of the world to remain locked in their rigid cultural traditions. I guess, looking at it crassly, you might say we think of the rest of the world as our farm team, and we want to be able to call them up whenever we want. Don't pre-adulterate things, that's our job.

So I bring my typical American attitude to the news that German bier is selling well in Glasgow: no!
The heart of Scotland's biggest city isn't where you would expect to find a traditional German-style brewery, serving authentic fare. But that's exactly what Bavarian businesswoman Petra Wetzel set up in a corner of Glasgow's east end five years ago....

West is the only brewery in Britain that adheres to the strict German purity law of 1516, the Reinheitsgebot, which dictates that only water, barley and hops may be used in the production of beer. Wetzel first came up with the idea when she was studying at Glasgow University....

"We are building a second brewery in Glasgow so we are increasing capacity times 20," she said. "That's what we need in order to grow to the level of business that we want to reach.
I love the fact that within a few miles of my home I have a sour-ale brewery, a farmhouse brewery, lots of Anglo-American breweries, and a little further out, a German lager brewery. But this is the American way. Scots should stick to ales.

Of course, I don't really believe this. It's good for cultures to share, and it's good for Glaswegians to have access to fresh hefeweizen. But the lesson is that the world grows ever smaller and those hidebound traditions that led to indigenous beer styles are eroding at the speed of satellite communication. In a brave new world, we may have to get used to strange ideas--like "traditional Scottish dunkel."