A whole host of unique, interesting craft breweries have been popping up over the last few years. Microbrewery tours also make a popular day out in the summer months, with more offering tours and open days to sample the delicious beers and ales available on the market. Here are some we think are worth tasting…
Broughton Ales, established in 1979 by David Younger and James Collins in Broughton village, is Scotland’s original independent microbrewery based in the Scottish Borders.
As the demand for craft beers grew, so did Broughton’s portfolio. Wanting to continue on their microbrewery journey, Broughton shocked the market by introducing the legendary Border characters Old Jock Ale, Merlin’s Ale and the Scottish Oatmeal Stout. Each beer was named after a renowned character from the Scottish Borders. These types of ales blazed a trail for new microbreweries and the campaign for real ale.
Producing traditional cask conditioned beer, bottled beer and keg beer, they use traditional brewing methods to brew classic beers such as Old Jock as well as innovative craft beers such as Hopopotamus – a sessionable, fruit hopped IPA.
Cold Town Brewery
Cold Town Brewery in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket is welcoming small groups of craft lager fans from around the country to go behind the scenes at the iconic city-centre microbrewery. Visitors can find out how Cold Town Beer is made, enjoy a masterclass tasting, and enjoy some of the best handmade pizza in town.
Cold Town Brewery is housed within Cold Town House in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, which includes a taproom and roof terrace with iconic views of Edinburgh Castle.
As a working bar and microbrewery, visitors will be able to see how the microbrewery operates and follow the pipes from tank to tap. The brewing team will also be on hand to talk through the process and how they create their unique, recognisable flavours, with lots of time for any questions.
Cold Town Beer was first launched in 2018 as a draught beer for beer drinkers. Over 20 different beers have been brewed by Cold Town Brewery to date. Styles include pale ales, IPA’s, pilsner, saison & berliner-weisse sour beers.
Brewed by hand in small batches, Cold Town Beer is crisp, fresh, session-able and refreshing without sacrificing mouthfeel and flavour. A malty backbone gives the base for this tasty tipple, leading to delicate top notes of citrus and elderflower.
Initially, the new guided tours of Cold Town Brewery will run every second Thursday from 5:30pm, and every second Saturday from 1pm, costing £30 per adult. Tours must be booked in advance by contacting the Cold Town Brewery Reservations team by email at email@example.com
Intimate and personalised guided tours of the Cold Town Brewery will be available for groups of four to six people from up to two households in line with Covid guidelines but will increase to groups of 12 as Scottish Government restrictions are relaxed.
Glasgow Beer Works
A hub of culture, art and diversity, Glasgow and its people are at the heart of everything Glasgow Beer Works (GBW) does – brewing beers that reflect the rich quality and character of the city. GBW sources Scottish and local ingredients to present you with their take on traditional styles, as well as treating you to something entirely new.
The brewery’s award-winning Core Range is a fan favourite and is complimented by a variety of flavours in the Pilot Batch Series and special Barrel Aged brews. GBW has something to suit every palate.
Glasgow Beer Works is independently owned and keeping it local, with a major focus on working alongside other small businesses in their community.
The brewery’s city-centre beer garden is spread across large shipping containers repurposed into an open, outdoor bar space with socially distant seating.
While Glasgow Beer Works’ own brews are always pouring on draught, the tap list and bar menu feature other local breweries and independent craft producers, and collaborations with Glasgow’s best street food vendors are always on show. This coming together of local craft beers and fantastic food is enjoyed beneath the watchful eye of John Byrne’s famous Billy Connolly mural on Osborne Street.
Jaw Brew began in 2014 by making great, award winning beer and selling into pubs and bottle shops, like many other small breweries. Having been reasonably successful over a few years, their breakthrough came when, instead of continuing to compete against other independent, often family run businesses, they took the opportunity of moving to premises in Milngavie which enabled them to open a micro-pub or taproom beside the brewery premises.
This meant that beer drinkers had the chance to come and savour a genuine, locally brewed, Scottish beer as opposed to an imported or brewed under licence offering from a multi-national or other foreign-owned mega business.
Although this only lasted three months until lockdown hit, enough support had been gathered to allow Jaw Brew to survive through the pandemic-hit trading period. Web sales to the new band of followers grew as friends and neighbours were apprised of the new brewery in town, creating better beer than could be bought at the supermarket.
Now that the situation is slowly improving, the brewery is looking forward to starting brewery tours and welcoming even more converts to the world of craft beer. Their location, right beside the railway station in Milngavie means that customers do not need to drive, and many walkers about to tackle the West Highland Way can enjoy a great pint before setting off, or even better a celebration of finishing walking North to South.
In addition to producing fantastic beer, Jaw Brew is dedicated to improving sustainability of its own production and increasing the circularity of small breweries in general. It is already the recipient of a VIBES award for using leftover morning rolls as an ingredient in making beer and has other projects underway to better utilise by-products of the brewing process as well as moving to natural products for cleaning and sanitising the brewing equipment, thus reducing carbon output.
The Kelburn Brewing Company
A family-run, traditional cask ale brewery, The Kelburn Brewing Company champion quality over quantity.
Established in 2001 and based in the West of Scotland, the team at Kelburn like to drink beers of a high standard and so equally, as suppliers, aim to produce the very same thing.
Sourcing the finest ingredients to use in their beers, their commitment to quality has seen them go from strength to strength over the last 15 years. They have scooped over 60 industry awards throughout their time, including Champion Golden Ale of Britain 2015 for Jaguar, which has gained them a reputable position in the trade.
Their range of traditional ales are available to buy direct from the brewery for home-consumption in bottles and 5L, 10L, 20L containers.