Brewdog has been making the headlines since 2007 and has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become Scotland’s largest independent brewery. Brewdog’s clever and often controversial marketing is backed by a great product; I’ve been an avid fan of their Trashy Blonde pale ale and 77 lager for quite some time. After news broke of the first Brewdog Bar opening in the breweries hometown of Aberdeen I was optimistic that Edinburgh would one day get its own Brewdog Bar. Though I expected Glasgow would be next in line. Not so, as Brewdog’s opening on Edinburgh’s Cowgate in March proved. Glasgow is next though and Brewdog’s first bar in London is scheduled for later in 2011.
Edinburgh’s Cowgate area makes an interesting choice for Brewdog - their marketing states “No Tennents. No Carling. No Smirnoff. No Televisions.”, yet these are exactly the staples most of the Three Sisters crowd head to the Cowgate in search of. The location does guarantee Brewdog Bar will always be busy though; infact I’ve heard reports of queues forming outside at weekends. Apparently Brewdog’s location (in the former premises of Chasers Bar) was “crowd-surfed”. That is fans of the brewery suggested it via the Brewdog website and presumably cashed in the Â£1000 bounty on offer. Despite raising a few eyebrows, Brewdog was behind my return to the Cowgate after a multi-year absence and I imagine it will encourage many more folk to return here.
If you’re not drinking beer then Brewdog probably isn’t the bar for you. Indeed, one of our party asked for a bottle of mineral water, only to eventually be told there wasn’t any. It’s a good job the beer choice at Brewdog is so fantastic then. All the favourite Brewdog beers are available on draught and they taste great. They’re joined by a regularly changing line up of guest draught beers e.g. Stone pale ale and Southern Tier phin and matt’s. If you’re still reluctant to head down the Cowgate then a glance at the line-up of bottled beer should convince you. There are dozens and dozens of bottles, many which I haven’t even heard of. Quite simply, Brewdog is a beer lover’s dream.
We visited Brewdog Bar on a Friday after work, when it was busy, but not uncomfortably so. The vibe was relaxed and the bar staff were friendly - they’re more than happy to pour some samples to help you decide which pint to enjoy. The conversion of the interior is entirely aligned to the product and brand. Let’s hope the stag and hen parties or the folk on a mission to cause carnage don’t make Brewdog Bar a no go area over the weekend nights though. Brewdog clearly aren’t after winning gastro pub of the year, so the chalkboard with their food options is somewhat less prominently displayed than the beer selections. However their meat and cheese boards (Â£6 or Â£12) looked plentiful and the pizzas (Â£8) more than adequate to sustain a journey through Brewdog’s craft beer selection.
I’m a self confessed fan of Brewdog: their brand is fantastic, the beers are excellent and while their bold marketing might not be for everyone (for example the bottle of “The End Of The History” which stands behind the bar wrapped in a dead stoat) Brewdog is surely Britain’s most exciting beer brand. The opening of Brewdog Bar has given Edinburgh’s beer scene a huge boost and it’s the the place to go if you want originality and imagination putting back in your beer drinking.
Brewdog is located at 143 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JS