Six Degrees North
Our Beer Man’s Verdict
Six Degrees North is one of Scotland’s most intriguing beer operations.
It started life at the Marine Hotel in the Aberdeenshire town of Stonehaven, perhaps an unlikely birthplace for complex – and occasionally challenging – Belgian-influence beers. The beers quite rightly established the brewery as one to watch, and the operation duly expanded to its own pub in Aberdeen. Just yards from Brewdog’s flagship pub, this is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s foremost beer destinations.
However, Aberdeen – even if it does also boast the excellent CASC – is a long way to travel, particularly when its beers are often available down here.
So I’m delighted to report Six North has now opened a bar in Glasgow, with one scheduled to come to Edinburgh in the near future. Great news.
It is located in a – and I probably get away with saying this as I grew up nearby – less fashionable part of the West End. It’s in Partick – handy for the bus, subway and low-level train – but is more Broomhill than Byres Road.
When I visited, the exterior was still in need of a final lick of paint and the interior, too, felt unfinished.
However, first impressions are good – the main bar area is informal, relaxed and nicely appointed: exposed brick, pale wood and, slightly oddly, a bike above the bar. To the side of the bar is a seating area which feels like a beer hall, with wooden benches, low booths and floor-to-ceiling glass doors which can open up on to the street. It’s a pleasant place, but they could do with cranking up the heating – it was freezing.
However, the beer is undoubtedly the main draw and the selection on offer certainly warmed the cockles of my heart.
There are more than 100 bottles on offer, and 30 taps of draught beer. The range, as expected, draws heavily from Belgium, but there is also space for a modest selection of the best beers from Britain and beyond.
On draught on my visit, there are eight Six North beers, five British (including Beavertown and Wild) and 17 – yup, 17! – Belgian. That takes in some of the classics – Saison Dupont, Westmalle Dubbel and Rodenbach Grand Cru – as well as some more obscure delights. All the draught beers are sensibly priced: from £2.55 for a two-thirds schooner of the Six North Bier de Table to £4.95 for a half of the eight per cent Hof ten Dormaal blond.
I pick my way through the draught menu, sampling thirds (they will offer flights of beer shortly). The Bier de Table is the ideal place to start – light and easy-drinking, with the Belgian notes delivering a tasty edge; the St Bernardus wit is wonderfully smooth and spicy; the Boon Kriek is sweet and jammy – one-dimensional, but just tart enough to not be cloying… I could go on, and I do. With an astonishing selection of bottles to support the draught lines, you could happily stay here for a long session.
Despite being snowed under – staff from Aberdeen were there for a visit – the bar staff were friendly and nimble.
I think it’ll get better as it settles and the initial wrinkles are ironed it and the final decorative work is completed. Even in these early days, though, it already feels like it’s a destination venue for beer lovers in Scotland and I have no doubt it will succeed.
Six Degrees North, 566 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow