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Fancy a pint?
Whether you are a tourist exploring Edinburgh for the first time, a local wanting to find a new spot or a fan of craft beer, Edinburgh beer bars and pubs are perfect places to explore. Did you know that brewing beer is one of Edinburgh’s oldest industries? There are records of monks brewing beer as far back as the 12th century, using clear spring water to brew ale at Holyrood Abbey. Beer is intrinsically woven into Scottish history and culture. So here is a guide to exploring Edinburgh the best way possible, through the beer bars, pubs and breweries.
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Top 10 Beers Bars & Pub in Edinburgh
The bars on this list have been ordered as a beer trail route through the city, covering the West End, City Centre and Leith so that you can see a large part of the city by exploring while exploring them.
Set in a historic former church house, with religious imagery and traditional pub décor, Cloisters is perfect for the history enthusiast.
Cloisters has nine cask ales and ten keg beers on draft, making it the ideal spot to try both.
Address: 26 Brougham Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9JH
At Brauhaus its about quality over quantity, a small but cosy bar filled with a bottle selection from around the globe.
Serving quality craft beer, natural wine and whisky, Brauhaus is a spot to try something new and rare.
Address: 105 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9JG
THE HANGING BAT
The Hanging Bat is a must visit when exploring Edinburgh’s beer scene.
Known for its great selection of keg and cask beers on draft as well as their handpicked bottle list.
They also serve fantastic comfort food throughout the day, such as pulled pork and mac ’n’ cheese.
A bustling spot due to regular tap takeovers and events, there is always something new to try at The Bat.
With a newly refurbished beer garden out back during the day and candlelight tables in the bar at night, Bat is the perfect spot to hang anytime of the day.
Address: 133 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH39AB
BREWDOG LOTHIAN ROAD
A large space with comfy booths and tables to gather around, BrewDog is perfect for groups.
They have their core range on draft, if you see any OverWorks beers, definitely give them a try, they’re delicious!
OverWorks is BrewDog’s brewery dedicated solely to producing sour beers. Alongside their core range is their guest list of beers from breweries around the globe.
You can also book tastings online, hosted at the bar, where a member of staff will teach you about beer styles.
If you want to experience BrewDog, Lothian Road is the bar for you.
Address: 50 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9BY
Owned by Scottish Brewery Fierce Beer, this little bar is packed with character.
Not only do they brew fantastic beer but they also distil rum and gin, so there is something for everyone.
The Fierce Bar also does great food and they make their own hot sauce!
The Fierce’s core range is worth exploring as they are packed with flavour.
If you are looking for something refreshing their Gluten Free Pilsner was voted ‘Best Pilsner Lager’ at The Scottish Beer Awards in 2019.
Fierce offer some of their core beers in pitchers.
So take a pitcher as it will last longer and sit in the sun using their outdoor seating on Rose Street.
Address: 167 Rose Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4LS
Nestled away in the city’s old town, Jolly Judge carries the spirit of a traditional Scottish pub, cosy and comforting with a real fire place, low ceilings painted with murals and lounge chairs that reminisce of a classic study.
Known for real ale, their malt whisky selection and classic pub food.
7 James Court, 493 Law Market Edinburgh, EH1 2PB
Awarded ‘Best Bar in Scotland’ at the Scottish Hospitality Awards for two years in a row, Bow Bar is a must visit when exploring Edinburgh through the beer scene.
Known for their cask ales and malt whisky selection, Bow Bar always has a well-considered, hand-picked selection.
Located in the heart of the old town, Bow bar is a traditional styled bar with vintage beer and whisky memorabilia on the walls.
Their no frills approach to the bar puts emphasis on what Bow Bar is about, supplying their customers with the best beer and the best whisky.
80 W Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2HH
A firm favourite amongst the beer community, Salt Horse is a haven for anyone who enjoys beer.
With 12 taps showcasing beers from home and abroad and 350 bottles in their bottle shop, there is plenty to choose from.
Salt Horse always has a wide variety of styles on draft and tap take over events showcasing new beers.
Salt Horse’s kitchen serves up excellent hearty food such as burgers and ribs.
There is a beautiful beer garden out the back, decorated with plants and fairy lights that is open till 10pm.
What better place to set up shop for trying a bit of everything?
57-61, Blackfriars St, Edinburgh EH1 1NB
Salt horse also features in our guide to dog-friendly activities in Edinburgh.
CAMPERVAN BREWERY TAPROOM
For those who have never experienced a brewery, Campervan is definitely a destination for you.
A short bus ride from the centre of town will take you close to Leith, a hip area of Edinburgh. Read more about Edinburgh’s neighbourhoods here.
You can drink in Campervan brewery itself, the closest to beer production during a casual drink you can get!
Their tap room has a relaxed, quirky feel, with upcycled wooden pallets.
When visiting the tap room try Leith Juice a juicy session IPA, Campervan Brewery’s signature beer.
Unit 4, Bonnington Business Centre, 112 Jane Street, Edinburgh, EH6 5HG
Must Try Beers When Visiting Edinburgh’s Craft Beer Bars
MOCHACINNO STOUT BY PILOT
Winner of the Bow Bar 2014 Dark Beer challenge, Mochaccino Stout is a full flavoured milk stout, made with real coffee.
A pint of absolute luxury.
Pilot is hands down one of the best Scottish breweries, sadly they don’t have a tap room open to the public at this time but if you see anything by them definitely give it a go!
Also their social media is hilarious, so give them a follow on twitter.
CRANACHAN KILLER BY FIERCE
Based on the traditional Scottish dessert which is made from raspberries, oats and honey.
The cranachan killer is an oat pale ale, made with real raspberries and honey, bursting with flavour.
It’s one of my all-time personal favourites.
For those who love a wheat beer wanderlust is one for you.
Made with Scottish pilsner malt, German hops and the brewery’s signature house Belgian yeast, a fusion of Scottish ingredients meets classic wheat beer style.
Delicious and refreshing. A Scottish take on a Belgian classic.
IRON BREW SOUR BY VAULT CITY
Bubble-gum? Girders? Citrus?
It’s hard to put your finger on the flavour of Scotland’s second national drink Irn Bru but Vault City has done it.
Filled with tangy flavours and the notorious orange colour. Iron Brew Sour is not one to miss, if you see it snap it up!
PUNK IPA BY BREWDOG
If you’ve not tried Punk then you should.
A world renowned IPA that put BrewDog on the map.
Hoppy, crisp and clean, all you need on a ‘braw’ day.
This is Gemma’s (Everything Edinburgh) husband’s go-to craft beer.
How Much is Craft Beer in Edinburgh
If you are unfamiliar with craft beer you may have heard that a pint is going to cost a tenner!
This part of the article aims to debunk the misconception that craft beer is outlandishly expensive by answering questions about craft beer pricing and how to breakdown ordering craft beer.
Why does craft beer costs more than Tennent’s or Guinness?
Price is a reflection of the ingredients that are used and the overall scale of production.
Most craft breweries are working on a smaller scale than the beers you usually see in your local, hence why the price is slightly higher.
What is the average price for a craft beer?
You are looking at roughly spending, on average, £4.50 on a beer across craft beer bars in Edinburgh, some bars will be a little more and some will be a little less.
What are recommended serves?
In craft beer bars there will be recommended servings next to the price, this recommendation will be decided due to ABV%, price of keg and beer style in order to make sure you have the best experience.
Before you order ask the bar tender about the beers, they will be happy to help you decide what to order.
Beer lists can be intimidating even to beer geeks, if you are unfamiliar with the beers.
This is where a lot of the confusion lies, as people order a pint naturally in a bar.
A pint of something that is 14% is going to cost a lot more than something that is 4%, hence why the bar will recommend a serve.
What’s a schooner? (Pronounced –Sk-oo-ner)
A schooner is 2/3 of a pint and is generally the standard measure.
You can ask for a smaller or larger measure if you wish, however price will change due to the size of the beer you order.
If you want to try a few different beers, I recommend ordering a 1/3 of a pint. This will allow you to try a lot more; better for your wallet and better for the hang over.
What is a taster?
TASTERS! One of the best parts of going to a craft beer bar is the thoughtful act of letting someone try a little taste of the beer before ordering, plus its free!
Tasters make sure that you purchase a beer that is right for you so that the money you are spending is worthwhile.
Edinburgh Beer Tours and Experiences
SCOT BEER TOURS
A tour company that tells the history of Edinburgh through beer culture and its beer industry.
They specialise in walking tours of the city, brewery tours and beer tastings.
Scot Beer Tours also offer dog friendly tours on request, so you can bring your furry friend with you and explore Edinburgh together.
You can book a tour online via their website.
BEER FLIGHTS AT FIERCE BAR
Not sure what to try? Order a beer flight at Fierce Bar.
You will receive four 1/3 measures of core range beers from Fierce Brewery as well as information from the staff about each beer style and its tasting notes.
BREW SCHOOL AT INNIS AND GUNN TAPROOM
What better way to get to know beer than through how it is made, Innis and Gunn taproom offer a lesson in brewing through their ‘Hop to It- Brew School’.
Using a ‘Grain Father’ brew kit, staff will walk you through the basics of brewing so that you have the knowledge to brew your own beer.
At the end of the Brew School you will get to take away your own mini keg of 5 Litres of your very own brew!
Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival
The Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival is a showcase of the UK’s best and brightest breweries and beers.
A haven for anyone who appreciates a good brew.
They also showcase wine, cider, gin and low/non alcoholic beverages, so there is something for everyone. With live music acts, there is a bustling atmosphere.
Previous festivals have seen acts such as Scottish Legends Belle and Sebastian, celebrated turntablist DJ Yoda and bass playing master Olugbenga.
There are also numerous food stalls offering exciting street food and specialties form across the globe.
Your ticket covers all your beer, access to all areas and free tastings! Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival is an event not to be missed.
You can purchase tickets from the website here.
Best Bottle Shops
Located close to Haymarket Station, Beer Cave is the perfect spot to pick up some beer for your train journey.
A rotating selection of some of the best beers in the country. Beer Cave’s staff are knowledgeable and happy to help select a beer that is right for you.
Address: 43 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2BU
Located in the city centre, Beer Hive is known for their excellent customer care and pride themselves on stocking a large variety of 500 wines and 700 beers from around the globe.
They also stock an abundant variety of local and independent breweries. The perfect stop if you want to pick up some local beer to try at home.
Address: 24 Rodney Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4EA
SALT HORSE BOTTLE SHOP
With 350 beers by bottle or can, Salt Horse has a selection that never disappoints.
Staff are friendly and happy to help you pick.
The bottle shop is right next door to their wonderful bar.
So if you fancy resting your feet, you can sit in too.
Address: 57- 61, Blackfriars Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1NB
Bottle Baron hand pick their list of beers, rotating frequently so that the list is always fresh with new releases while still stocking classics.
If you are looking for something special, you’ll find it at Bottle Baron.
Address: 60 Clerk Street, Newington, Edinburgh, EH8 9JB
THE GREAT GROG BOTTLE SHOP
Specialising in sourcing bottles that aren’t big brands, you are guaranteed to find something different at Great Grog Bottle Shop.
They supply products to Michelin star restaurants so they know their stuff!
They have a warehouse which is open to browse and buy from.
Address: 2 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5BP
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How to Support Craft Breweries, Bars and Bottle Shops
The best way to help support craft beer businesses is by buying directly from the breweries, from independent bottle shops and bars, many of which delivery!
Vouchers for bars and breweries that can be bought online:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Katherine Allan and I am Gemma from Everything Edinburgh’s cousin. Gemma asked me to share my knowledge of the Edinburgh beer scene with you all and I feel very lucky to do so.
Born in Edinburgh, I’ve spent most of my life in the capital. I’ve had a passion for craft beer for many years.
Exploring Edinburgh through the bars and pubs, gathering knowledge about beer styles, brewing and culture through my own volition.
I currently reside in Dundee where I officially hopped onto the other side of the bar back in 2018, working as bar tender at Dynamo (a small pub owned by the Six° North Brewery).
I am the curator of ‘Not on Draft’ which is a pop up gallery that resides in craft beer spaces.
‘Not on Draft’ showcases local artists alongside craft beer breweries, bringing beer and art into the same venue.
I am also currently a resident artist at DJCAD in Dundee. Working as a multi medium artist, creating installations composed of sculptural and performance pieces supported by audio and visual works.
I work primarily with plants, bring greenery and life into art spaces.
I recently exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh as part of their New Contemporaries exhibition this year.
If you’d like to keep up to date with ‘Not on Draft’ Gallery or would like to propose an exhibition follow us on Instagram.
If you’d like to see what I get up to as an artist, here is my website and my Instagram account.
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