The craft beer scene in the Scottish capital has soared in recent years, and with it, a whole host of vibrant new pubs have popped up, peddling the latest offerings from local and up-coming breweries. Whether you are a fan of an intense Porter, enjoy a tangy Bitter, or generally stick to hoppy IPA’s, we scoured the cobbled streets of Edinburgh to discover the best on offer. Not sure what to try? Even better. Recommendations from these well-informed bars will have you on the road to craft beer fandom in no time.
The Hanging Bat
Widely regarded as Edinburgh’s craft beer haven, The Hanging Bat boasts of one of the capital’s largest craft selections. An ever-changing array of Porters, IPAs and Saissons the menu offers a miscellany of beers from the well-known to the more obscure found in its ‘Strange Brew’ collection. One can enjoy a foreign delicacy from the other side of the world in an upbeat atmosphere dimly lit by the overhanging filament lightbulbs that dangle from the ceiling emanating an aura akin to that of an early 20th century speakeasy. Some may be put off that The Bat serves its beer only in schooners or halves, however its intention is to promote the experience of taste so as not to overwhelm the palate with pintsized richness. A must for a craft lover.
Located in the centre of the Cowgate, the aptly named Ox184, as a newcomer to the city’s craft beer scene, has cemented its place among the finest craft establishments in Edinburgh. The open-plan setting is filled with a soft, smoky, red haze and constant crackle from the open fire BBQ grill that serves some of the best gastro-pub grub in town. Not for the fainthearted, Ox184 offers some of the strongest crafts available served in halves, pints and for the more determined among us, gallons. This craft assortment caters to every taste, however if you find yourself inclined to try a more Scottish experience, the whisky selection will not disappoint.
James Watt and Martin Dickie, two twenty-four-year-olds from Aberdeen kindled a craft beer revolution in 2007 when they decided to start their own craft beer company to combat the ‘industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales that dominated the UK beer market.’ Brewdog has become a pillar in the Scottish craft beer community and in typical Scottish fashion gloats over having brewed some of the world’s strongest craft beers. However, if your palate demands a weaker ABV don’t be put off; the Brewdog bar in Edinburgh’s Cowgate attests to the array of Brewdog crafts suitable for everyone. Be sure to try the Punk IPA.
The Potting Shed
The Potting Shed has gained a reputation from its striking interior which refashions the bare wood and busyness of a garden shed into a stylish, open and welcoming space offering a relaxing area for a couple of chill drinks. From a selection of 17 taps there is no want of choice on the craft front, comprised of beer from distilleries across Scotland. While there is no obvious choice, the Long White Cloud Malt from the Tempest Brewery is a must have exciting the palate with busy tropical fruit flavours with a lightness of touch. The Potting Shed offers a true taste of Scotland.
The Devil’s Advocate
Probably one of the most refined bars in the Scottish capital, The Devil’s Advocate manifests style in its every form. Located half-way down a medieval close just beside St Giles Cathedral on The Royal Mile, its exterior blends with its eerie surroundings yet simultaneously seems to transcend it offering something new in the ancient quarters of the Edinburgh Old Town. Inside we find exposed rock walls and candle-lit tables that make an almost indelible impression through its soft and haunting lighting. As well as offering some of the best food available its selection of beer, whisky, wine and cocktails is boundless. A local favourite.