Home > Beer > Punk In Drublic: BrewDog Glasgow, BrewDog Leeds

Punk In Drublic: BrewDog Glasgow, BrewDog Leeds

There’s a statue of the great Scot James Watt in Leeds city centre, but it’s the steam innovator rather than the award-winning young entrepreneur, controversialist and ex-fisherman who founded BrewDog with his schoolfriend and former Thornbridge head brewer Martin Dickie only a few years ago.  However, last week James announced on Twitter that BrewDog will be making its mark in Leeds, having signed a lease on a new bar, with rumours placing it in a small venue near the Corn Exchange. [Update: More details here]

BrewDog are perpetually mired/revelling in controversy for a number of reasons, principally because they deliberately court it for column inches with a number of stunts and campaigns, which are undeniably effective.  They have also made a few missteps, particularly in the customer service on their online shop (which has been acknowledged) and in the consistency of some of the canned and bottled Punk IPA which has recently made its way into supermarkets (which doesn’t yet appear to have been).

On balance, I maintain that BrewDog are A Good Thing.  They are not the alpha and omega of the new UK beer scene, but they are, at the very least, a catalyst in the shift in both the industry and consumer expectation towards more interesting beer, with influences from American craft breweries.  A great example of this is their new, keg-and-bottle-only bars, and in particular what we saw at BrewDog Glasgow on our honeymoon.

Over the course of two visits we:

  • enjoyed sharing a big bottle of Bear Republic Racer 5 out of Teku glasses, considering that this was what all honeymooners should do;
  • heard a folk singer play;
  • spotted Martin and James;
  • admired the relaxed but stylish décor and use of space, deciding that the wood panelling on the wall appeared to have been recycled from the floor of a sports hall;
  • observed some Group On purchasers tasting beer with the knowledgeable, helpful staff;
  • enjoyed a buzzy, busy but relaxed pub on both occasions, with a wide spectrum of customers;
  • saw someone order “your standard lager” and not complain when presented with 77 Lager;
  • had a conversation with the bar staff regarding what I was tweeting about and the identity of @GhostDrinker;
  • drank Evil Twin Yin and Yang, deciding that it was indeed better than the sum of its parts;
  • nibbled on some olives and ate a great pizza which soaked up the ABV nicely;
  • relaxed after an amazing visit to Kelvingrove Museum across the road, probably one of the friendliest and most diverse museums I’d ever been to, containing everything from Dali paintings to giraffes to tribal masks to Spitfires;
  • drank a few very good Brewdog beers, including Hops Kill Nazis; and
  • found it very hard to drag ourselves away.

Even James Watt would find it hard to claim to be able to transport Kelvingrove Museum from the West End of Glasgow to West Yorkshire; but if BrewDog Leeds is even half as enjoyable as BrewDog Glasgow, I will be a very happy Loiner indeed.

I still don’t think James will get his statue in City Square, though.

  1. Paragraph Film Reviews
    December 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    It’s good to know that even though Aberdeen was the last to have a Nandos, Wagamamas, Pret etc, we had our Brew Dog bar! Seems like it’s doing a roaring trade just now, opening pubs all over the UK – London coming soon…

    Not the biggest fan of their beer, or media whoring, but it’s better than most of the other crud flowing through the taps at regular bars! Trashy Blonde for the win!!!

    • December 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

      I don’t think it’s wrong to seek attention in as cost-effective a way possible, if you don’t have the marketing budget of the big brewers. Although after a few of them certain “campaigns” can seem a bit insincere. For my money though, BrewDog consistently do some of the best beers in the country.


  2. December 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    There’s also a James Watt Room in Leeds, at the Cross Keys, which is where a different James Watt held a BrewDog dinner!

    • December 14, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Indeed – I was at that one too, before I started blogging!


  3. December 14, 2011 at 1:55 am

    “•had a conversation with the bar staff regarding what I was tweeting about and the identity of @GhostDrinker;”

    – Sorry, what??

    • December 14, 2011 at 8:42 am

      I mentioned you whilst tweeting about the Black & Tan (which I should have linked to – now fixed) and they asked who you were. We’re all talking about you behind your back, you know…


      • December 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        what do you mean “who he is” he’s a ghost!

  4. December 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Love em or hate em as a Brewery for all their marketing stunts, Brewdog bars generally rock. Great beer selections, friendly, approachable staff, just a fab place to be. I think its great they are springing up all over I just hope they keep that consistently across the whole bar portfolio. Brewdog Stoke? (could be a long way off)

    • December 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Yep, I enjoyed both the Edinburgh and Glasgow ones and am looking forward to going to Camden, Manchester, Newcastle. Don’t know about Stoke, but BrewDog Belfast would be a real coup!


      • December 15, 2011 at 1:13 pm

        gave them a few venue ideas but the licences are the issue…bloody surrender principle

  5. December 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    If Brewdog have achieved nothing else, it’s that beer geeks now think of their highly-hopped, characterful beers in a range of styles and as “mainstream supermarket rubbish”.

    • December 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      I think you might be right, you know. How splendidly depressing!


  6. December 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Steve :

    gave them a few venue ideas but the licences are the issue…bloody surrender principle

    No surrender! ;-P

  1. February 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm
  2. May 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

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