Scotland may be famous for its whisky, and rightly so, but nowadays, it is setting itself up to be the frontrunner in the craft beer industry. Beer is no new concept in Scotland in terms of drinking and producing it, and the relationship between Scots and beer dates back thousands of years.
Unfortunately, our beer-producing ancestors had 280 breweries in 1850, but the number had dwindled to 11 in 1970. The good news is now they are, in fact, on the rise again – In fact, Scotland has recently reached the highest number in a generation. To begin your journey in Scotland’s famous craft beer breweries, here is our list of the top breweries in Scotland to pay a visit to.
Tennent’s lager was first produced by Hugh Tennent back in 1885 when Hugh discovered pilsner-style beer in Bavaria. Since then, Tennent’s has been Scotland’s best-selling and most established beer supplier. Brewed to meticulously high standards, Tennent’s lager contains pure Scottish barley and fresh water from nearby Loch Katrine (the source of some of Scotland’s purest water). With its clean taste and refreshingly crisp finish, it’s no surprise why it goes down so well with the Scottish people.
Tennent’s has been producing beer for over 450 years, so it is safe to say that they know what they’re doing regarding beer. This also suggests that they have an extensive history to discover through Tennent’s brewery tours. They combine their passion for craft beer with the latest technology to keep the customers loving the beer and always wanting more.
The tour will guide you around the brewery, discovering the origins of Tennent’s and all the different craftsmanship that goes into creating every pint. To top it off, you even get a free pint at the end!
Located at the east end of Glasgow, you do not want to miss an unforgettable tour at the Wellpark Tennent’s Brewery.
The world of beer was rather bland and basic until Brewdog came along. Inspired by the hop-fuelled craft beer of the United States, James Watt and Martin Dickie home-brewed their dream beer that they and others would love to drink.
In the space of 10 years, Brewdog has grown from two ambitious owners and a dog into the fastest-growing food and drink business in the UK. With an over growing number of over 800 people employed from over four continents, Brewdog exports the same hardcore beers to over 55 countries around the world.
Tours of the fast-rising brewers are available at the Lonewolf distillery, which gets you up close and personal with how each beverage is packaged, brewed, and exported – plus, there are four interactive tasting sessions along the way.
Edinburgh Beer Factory
Inspired by Edinburgh’s position as the brewing capital of Britain in the 19th century, the Edinburgh Beer Factory set itself out on a mission to restore the title back to its position as a world-class centre of brewing.
Founded recently in 2015, the family-run brewery was inspired heavily by Eduardo Paolozzi. Polizzi, who was born in Edinburgh to Italian parents, was one of the founding fathers of pop art and was known for combining contrasting ideas and normal objects to create something truly unique. The Edinburgh Beer Factory was built upon this as inspiration to create something a little different but a piece of beauty, nonetheless.
The three-time award-winning brewery offers tours that allow everyone to go and experience what it takes to produce such a fast-rising and unique beer.
Innis & Gunn, Edinburgh
Another Edinburgh-based brewer is Innis & Gunn. Producing some of Scotland’s top exported beers and is now the most popular British bottles beer in Canada. The beer was originally discovered as an ‘accident’ when founder Dougal Gunn Sharp was asked to create a beer to mature in the bourbon barrels, which would impart a beautifully sweet, malty flavour. This beer was set to be thrown out, and the barrels would go on to age spirits, but instead, Dougal thought that the beer might be improving while in the barrel, and he was right!
Despite such a successful and interesting history, unfortunately, Innis & Gunn don’t host brewery tours just yet, but to compensate for it, they have four taprooms situated in various parts of Scotland.
Beer is a pretty big business in Scotland, and it only seems to be growing more and more. The variety and quality of beer and ale produced and served in Scotland’s pubs and bars are greater than ever. With many taprooms popping up to enjoy said beers and many breweries offering top-quality tours, you’ll discover the science and craftsmanship that goes into each and every pint. Cheers to that!
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