Given the fact that one of the UK’s largest and most successful craft breweries, BrewDog, was founded and operates a few miles north of Aberdeen, Scotland’s third largest city, it may be surprising to many that the availability of quality craft beer, in the form of craft beer bars or stockists, in the city at first appears to be relatively limited, particularly when compared to Edinburgh and Glasgow. There are however some gems in the city in terms of both quality bars and some reliable stockists. My particular favourites are as follows:-
| Bars |
17 Gallowgate, Aberdeen AB25 1EB
The flagship BrewDog bar, opened in 2010, effectively kick started the craft beer scene in Aberdeen. The decor is typical BrewDog; exposed brick and steel, comfortable booths and larger group tables, all with the usual boardgames to keep craft beer drinkers entertained between intellectualised debates about hops, yeast and label art! The bar has all the best and freshest BrewDog beers on tap and in bottles, with a large international selection of guest beers from the likes of Stone, Oskar Blues & Mikkeller as well as a strong showing for other UK breweries like Beavertown, Wild Beer Co, Magic Rock, etc.
If you are in Aberdeen, and you like craft beer, this will more likely than not be your first port of call.
7 Stirling Street, Aberdeen, AB11 6ND
One of the core craft beer bars in Aberdeen which sits outwith the “craft beer village” around the Littlejohn Street area. Personally, I think it is the better for it, as it is the only real alternative to the craft beer village for the discerning craft beer drinker visiting Aberdeen. CASC stands for Cigars, Ale, Scotch & Coffee, all of which are sold in abundance at this venue. They have 24 taps serving a steady stream of quality craft beer from the US and Europe, with a particular strength in sourcing beers from the top craft brewers in the UK. The decor is, as expected, the ubiquitous exposed brickwork, solid tables and metal/plastic chairs which is common in craft beer bars nowadays. The bar is a decent size but an oddly placed railing/stand/shelf about 3 feet in front of the bar and almost the full length of the space can sometimes hinder access to the serving area.
6 Littlejohn Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1FF
Six°North operate a brewery in Stonehaven, south of Aberdeen, and specialise in belgian styles of beer. With up to 28 taps, they have a solid core offering of their own beers and regulary stock high quality belgian beers from some of the best breweries on the continent. They also have a good offering of IPAs, stouts and porters from some of the best names in UK craft brewing too if belgian is not your thing. Decor is very fresh and pleasant with neutral greys and whites on the walls and relatively bright lighting. The gallery seating up stairs is good for having a relaxing beer or two of a weekend whilst keeping out of the way of the busy downstairs area.
Bottle Cap Bar & Brewery
10 Littlejohn Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1FF
This three storey building serves as a craft beer bar, music venue and brewpub all in one. The most recent addition to the “craft beer village”, this place serves some solid beers from their own range as well as a variety of UK and US craft beers on a varied, regularly updated tap list across their 24 taps. This is a great place to meet up in groups and have some pizza or burgers and enjoy decent craft beer in relaxed surroundings. They also do some decent beer flights and tasting sessions.
2 Trinity Quay, Aberdeen, AB11 5AA
A self styled “dive bar” with a great reputation for live music, located down by the harbour in Aberdeen. The Moorings was the first bar in Aberdeen to have a significant world beer selection and generally offers around 36 craft beers and ales on tap at any one time. With a particular slant toward German Weizen and American craft beer, they also stock a solid selection of Scottish & UK craft beers too. If you like your craft beer in completely unpretentious, rock ‘n’ roll surroundings, whilst sampling some of the finest local and as yet undiscovered touring bands, then The Moorings must be top of your list.
| Shops & Stockists |
29 Fountainhall Road, Aberdeen AB15 4EW
A great wine dealer with a growing and eclectic stock of craft beers. There is a focus on Scottish and UK craft beers from Black Isle, Cairngorm, Fallen Brewing, Fourpure, etc but they also manage to get their hands on some very decent US craft beers from the likes of Stone and Sierra Nevada.
32 Holburn St, Aberdeen, AB10 6BT
On the face of it, this small newsagents just off Union Street, the main street in the city centre of Aberdeen, appears to be the least likely place to find beers from such craft beer luminaries as Lagunitas, Mikkeller, Ska Brewing and the like. They have a regular stream of new beers and are always happy to help source anything they don’t currently have in stock. Although this place is not your typical, trendy, hardwood floored craft beer stockist it remains one of the best places to buy craft beer in Aberdeen.
8 St. Swithin Street Aberdeen AB10 6XD
With possibly one of the best BrewDog selections outside of the BrewDog bar itself, this stockist manages to get even some rare BrewDog offerings and all are reasonably priced. They also have a reasonable selection of Belgian beers and other UK craft beers.
Special mention must also be made of Deeside Drinks Emporium in Banchory (22 Dee Street, Banchory AB31 5ST – about 18 miles west of Aberdeen), and Dunnottar Wines & Spirits in Stonehaven (32A Evan Street, Stonehaven AB39 2ET – about 18 miles south of Aberdeen), both owned and operated by the same people – these shops stock a wide range of quality craft beer from around the globe and are highly recommended.