The Beer and Now: Scotland's best breweries
We look at your five favourite breweries from across Scotland, and which of their beers to try first
Based out of the Templeton building on Glasgow Green, WEST serve up beer which is old-fashioned in the very best sense of the phrase. Concocting their beers according to the German Purity Law of 1516, their brews contain only barley, hops, yeast and water. And yet WEST’s beers have some serious variety and range, with absolutely no faffing around required.
WEST’s St Mungo is a hybrid of two regional German styles, mixing elements of a Bavarian helles and a dry, northern German pils. The result is a beer that tastes of an awful lot, but doesn’t linger around for ages afterwards – ideal when there’s a whole brewery and hundreds of years of tradition to work your way through.
Williams’ ascent from micro-brewery to full-fledged brewing colossus continues apace, but that's a good thing. Their beers remain as delicious as ever, and if the Alloa brewery's expansion means there's more good beer going about then we're all for it.
Their Caesar Augustus hybrid has the lightness and crisp taste of a good lager with the hoppy aroma and bit of an IPA. It's a great option when you can't decide what kind of beer you want, but know that you do want something good, and it's also light enough that going back for another one isn't a bad idea either.
A Leith micro-brewery with a penchant for collaboration and experimentation, Pilot make beer fun. Whether it’s with their pun-tastic beer names, their exciting flavour combinations, or their regular Twitter updates on their work experience's tea-making, Pilot are making brilliant beer and seem to be having a whale of a time doing it.
Start off with their Blønd golden ale, available on regular rotation at pubs across Edinburgh and beyond; it packs a nice citrus and pineapple punch despite a relatively low ABV, and the lack of finings mean that even vegans can enjoy it.
The 'experiential' brewery may now be fully embedded in their home on the fringes of the Wellpark Brewery, but Drygate are still marching to the beat of their own drum. Their range is tasty and varied, their design is full of fun motifs and lovely fonts, and their on-site bar and kitchen is a great place to while away the hours.
Their hoppy and punchy Bearface lager is the place to start – great-tasting, not too heavy, and come on, it's called Bearface. You must be intrigued, at the very least.
Innis & Gunn
The Edinburgh brewer threw open the doors of their first pub in 2015, and their range of interesting and somewhat leftfield beers continues to grow and grow. Not bad for a brewery whose most famous beer came about as the by-product of some whisky making.
That beer, their oak-aged Original brew remains the one to try first. Packed with sweetness and with a serious aroma, it's a bit like being punched in the face with a vanilla ice cream cone. It's heady, sweet, delicious, and not to be forgotten in a hurry.