From the most well-stocked bars and shops to forward-thinking breweries, Harris Brine offers a hop-heavy guide to Glasgow for beer lovers.
With a penchant for live music and an evolving tap selection hand-picked from some of the best breweries available (Tempest, Dark Star, Tryst, Kelburn), the allure of Blackfriars is obvious. Sealing the deal is the fact it’s only a brisk five-minute walk to Central Station, or in ‘nine pint language’, an hour-long, chip-and-cheese-fuelled, bandy-legged meander to your carriage home.
36 Bell St, Glasgow G1 1LG (0141 552 5924); website
Do you burn through wages like they were dipped in petrol and set alight at the bar? Best not drink at the Beer Cafe then. We’re jesting. While their prices may be on the higher end, so is their menu, which offers the absolute cream of the worldwide crop, like Germany’s Krombacher Weisse, Belgium’s Chimay Red and um… Scotland’s Tennents Lager.
78 Candleriggs, Glasgow, Glasgow City G1 1NP (0141 552 9815); website
Republic Bier Halle
We didn’t know the world had as many countries as it does until we stumbled across The Bier Halle’s lengthy drinks menu. Duly educated, we set about sampling the newly-discovered states of Belgium (Kriek Bier), Germany (Hofbrau) and Scotland (Speyside Oak Aged Blond Ale) before returning to the familiar territory of Estonia, Lithuania and Peru.
7-9 Gordon St, Glasgow G1 3PL (0141 204 0706); website
By day Pivo homes street-food connoisseurs SMOAK’s outrageously-tasty menu, and by night it is a music venue for the unsigned and underground. Between sunrise and sunset it serves more than 70 lagers and ales, with Innes & Gunn’s variant of craft lager, crisp draft Pilsner Urquell, bottled Schoffenhoffer and the occasional appearance of Estonia’s lager Viru being highlights.
15 Waterloo St, Glasgow G2 6AY (0141 564 8100); website
The Bon Accord
Also a whisky haven, this long-standing haunt possesses a superb cache of ales, stouts and blonde beers. For all the German wheat beer lovers, they sell the more recognizable Weihenstephaner all the way through to rarer gems like Konig Ludwig and Andechs.
153 North St, Glasgow G3 7DA (0141 248 4427); website
Named after the print company who dared to publish Charles Bukowski (who like a tipple or ten), this is an upmarket restaurant-cum-swanky saloon which serves only the best in premium beers. The particle-accelerating fuel that is Furstenberg rocks in at over £5 a bottle, but will help you perfect the boozy swagger of the Factotum author.
241 North St, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G3 7DL (0141 221 5530); website
It’s hard not to think of the Williams Brothers when talking about the recent craft beer boom, with their bottled Joker I.P.A and Caesar Augustus now staples of many a bar fridge across the UK. Their own taproom not only hosts their full catalogue but also a legion of strange, aromatic and unique offerings from both large and small breweries worldwide.
445 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 8HH (0141 357 1075); website
A relatively new bar which popped up in the vacant space where the Captain’s Rest was sunk, Munro’s offers a mountain’s worth of beers and ales. An impressive array of taps offer tipples with permanent residence and also welcome guest crafts or casks, which you can sample in handy 1/3rd pint size for less than a couple of quid. The descent home is up to you.
185 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G4 9EB (0141 332 0972); website
As a brewery and a maverick business, BrewDog is a formidable force. Their Glasgow bar is stuffed full of beers that range from the bizarre to the delicious. Libertine Black Ale, Punk is Dead and 12% Clown King share space with experimental beers, and ‘tap takeovers’ are common, with elite Danish exporters Miikeller and Stronzo recent additions. While admittedly pricey, you’ll struggle to find some of these beers anywhere else in Scotland.
1397-1403 Argyle St, Glasgow, G3 8AN (0141 334 7175); website
The Three Judges
You might be able to make your way through this Partick haunt’s revolving nine-cask ale pretty easily, but the same can’t be said for your ‘concrete swim’ home. The Three Judges is award-winning for a reason; Sundays can be washed down with jazz and they offer up tongue-twisting ales not easy to pronounce after a few, like the Titanic Choc and Vanilla Stout.
141 Dumbarton Road, Partick, Glasgow G11 6PR (0141 337 3055); website
Also more than worth a visit are the city-centre’s Horseshoe Bar (17-21 Drury St), The Crystal Palace for a pre-Arches pint (36 Jamaica Street) and the West End trio of The Doublet (74 Park Rd), Curler’s Rest (256-260 Byres Rd) and Tennent’s Bar (191 Byres Rd), the latter hosting over a dozen rotating ales.
[Some of the huge selection on offer at Hippo Beers – picture: Facebook]
This is to Glasgow’s beer lovers what Wolverine is to a chef without a tin opener (i.e an absolute saviour). With more shelves than Ikea holding a formidable and eclectic selection of craft beers, if Valhalla & Goat miraculously gave away all their stock the whole city would be continuously drunk until 2025. They stock Danish brewery Mikkeller’s outstanding inventory and arguably the best pale ale in the world, Goose Island IPA.
449 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 8HH (0141 337 3441); website
While size-wise paling in comparison to VG, The Cave may be small but it is a perfectly formed creature. Their wide range of craft beers and ales dips into the obscure, with contents coming from all corners of the world, and each week literally brings baskets of bargains.
421 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G4 9JA (0141 357 5550)
After spending ten years discovering the world and new hoppy tastes, Derek Hoy and Alec Knox put their experience to good use. One eponymous dedication to the patron saint of brewing later (St Augustine of Hippo Regius) and they had Hippo Beers, Glasgow’s first craft beer store. An astounding selection awaits, including Tripel Belgian beast Rochefort 10, which comes swinging at you while wearing a 11.3% knuckleduster.
128 Queen Margaret Dr, Glasgow (0141 946 3020); website
Also worth a visit is The Good Spirits Company (23 Bath St) and Peckhams (124-126 Byres Road).
The Clockwork Beer Company
Defying categorization by being both a pub and a brewery, this Southside beast has home-brewed Clockwork Lager and Amber Ale, and even offers a brewery tour with three drink tasters for £10, or the runaround, three beers and a main course for £20.
1153-1155 Cathcart Road, Glasgow (0141 649 0184); website
If you’re feeling a bit tender after consuming too much Hefeweizen in the WEST brewery, why not alleviate your brain-shelling by consuming Hefeweizen in the WEST Brewery? Of course we’re joking. You should switch to their darker Dunkel. If beer haunts were musicians, this is an all-singing, all-dancing one-man-band, with a brewery, a stunning bar, a great beer garden, a top restaurant and each beer brewed in strict accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516.
Templeton Bldg, Glasgow Green, Glasgow G40 1AW (0141 550 0135); website