BrewDog Lothian Road
Our Beer Man’s Verdict
BrewDog spews out so much juvenile, ill-judged bullshit it can be easy to forget that it once produced some really good beer.
Strip away the artifice, and few could disagree that the Ellon-based brewery’s impact on the current UK beer scene has been significant, influencing a younger generation of brewers to produce so-called craft beer.
The beer – once available in cask as well as keg – was great: a roster of classics supplemented with interesting one-offs.
Its anti-establishment punk schtick – largely aping Stone’s marketing – was once a refreshing antidote to the brown, twiggy CAMRA real ale crew.
However, as the UK beer scene has evolved over the past few years, BrewDog – while continuing to explode in scale, scope and ambition – now seems less cutting edge.
Its PR machine appears increasingly desperate and tone-deaf – Pink IPA anyone? – and as punk as Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Against that divisive backdrop, how to review the latest BrewDog outpost – its 50th – which has just opened on Lothian Road?
The corner of the old Clydesdale Bank building isn’t the most obvious location for the usual industrial warehouse vibe. It’s huge – over two levels – but is rammed on the early midweek evening I visit.
I expected not to like it – but it was fine. There’s the usual range of BrewDog beer – supplemented by some guests – and food. It’s now a pretty familiar template, and nothing here surprises.
But the Clockwork Tangerine – a citrus session ale – is tasty, zesty and refreshing. The Kamikaze Knitting Club – is there any brewery with worse beer names? – is less successful, sweet and smoky but thin.
BrewDog Lothian Road will be successful – of course it will – and punters will flock to it.
It’s a critic-proof operation, but – no matter what the PR operation claims – it ain’t punk.
Address: 50 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 9BY