Ordinarily when I sit down to write a restaurant review, the first part of the process is a wee intro to the brand; a little ‘get to know you’ time, but today’s post comes from a brand that really need no introduction. Aberdeen born craft beer giant Brewdog is now one of the biggest success stories to come out of the North East since…well, I dunno, Butteries? The self sealing envelope..? Short of the queen of pop and funky hair-doos Annie Lennox, Brewdog basically takes the crown when it comes to most famous exports from around these parts.
Not only now a national treasure with over FIFTY venues in the UK alone, Brewdog is now also storming the globe with four breweries worldwide and a trail of bars from Barcelona to Tokyo. Pretty impressive stuff right?
Now known and visited just as much for their tasty food offerings as their incredible selection of tempting and rebellious craft beers, I’ve come to expect the need to be rolled home in a wheelbarrow after a foodie trip to Brewdog. On the menus you’ll find classic pub grub type offerings to pair perfectly with a nice cold beer, the likes of burgers and pizza’s, but always piled high and with a kick-ass Brewdog twist. With an extensive veggie and vegan offering, I’m never stuck for choice which is awesome. Classic ‘beer’ paired food tends to be pretty meat heavy so it’s always a boost to have so much variety in meat-free options; and for anyone that’s tasted their beyond legendary buffalo seitan wings before, you’ll agree with me when I say who the hell needs meat anyway!
Just a short half hour bus strip from the city centre, I was excited for a change of scenery, because let’s face it, going anywhere outwith a five mile radius of your own home is like a trip to the bloody Spanish Med at this point.
Approaching the building, the sheer aesthetic of the place blows you away before even setting foot in the building. Seriously impressive hand painted murals by artist Craig Fisher cover the walls from top to bottom in an array of neon colours, with depictions of fantastical sea creatures, it’s quite the sight to behold.
Given the current restrictions, we arrived early to be able to enjoy a few beers outside ahead of our meal, because let’s face it, it would have been a bloody travesty not to enjoy a pint or two when it’s as fresh as it gets from the on site brewery. With plenty of outdoor seating all complete with outdoor heaters, we were still able to enjoy a few beers despite the chilliness of the day. There are firepit tables for those extra chilly nights and even an ‘igloo’ type dome with seating and blankets for those who really can’t brave the elements.
Last week when I was invited to a preview day at the new and massively improved Dogtap venue in Ellon, I jumped at the chance to go check it out. Never having actually visited either the original or Overworks brewery location, I was full of anticipation to see how the newly revamped site with fresh eyes.
In need of something crisp and refreshing after our journey, I started started with a pint of crowd-pleaser and favourite of mine, Lost Lager (4.7%). Citrusy and bright, this is one of my favourite thirst quenchers from Brewdog. Not wanting to venture in to anything too heavy with a full lunch still to take on, I finished with a Hazy Jane (5%) before heading indoors. This punchy IPA delivers zesty, fruity notes and a delicious tart aftertaste.
Now with rumbling bellies and let’s be honest, feeling a little bit boozy (don’t drink beer for breakfast kids), we headed indoors to finally sample some scran. You can’t help but be struck by the stunning design of the bar and restaurant. With all of the classic industrial features found in Brewdog bars, blended with the cosiness of built in fire pits and warm lighting, and even a giant shark suspended from the ceiling, you instantly recognise the typical Brewdog quirk, but this venue really has a ‘next generation’ feel about it.
Featuring a few of the classics that we all know and love, you’ll also find a bunch of new and exclusive offerings at Dogtap, such as a full sourdough pizza menu and a selection of oak fired chicken that would tempt even the most stringent vegetarian, there’s something for all the family here – even a ‘Hoppy Meal’ option for the little ones.
With a burger craving hitting hard, I opted for the Temple of Seitan burger.
“temple of seitan fillet, crispy kale, sun-blushed tomato chutney & hummus served on a vegan beetroot brioche bun”. (Ve. £9.50)
Pimping my burger with extra cheese and completing it with a side of crisp salty fries and an order of blue cheese dip (the burger may be vegan but I am definitely not!), this was just what the doctor ordered. Forever baffled (but grateful) for how realistic the crispy coated ‘chicken’ fillet is, it’s always a go-to for me. With sweetness from the vibrant beetroot brioche and tangy chutney, and delicious crunch from the kale which magically kept it’s crispness to the last bite, this tasty burger delivered everything that I hoped it would. IT’s a 10/10 from me!
Predictably, Grant went for the Beyond Meat Burger, and why wouldn’t he, because those things are frickin’ delicious.
“beyond meat patty, vegan chipotle slaw, vegan gouda cheese, roasted red peppers, baby gem & pickles served on a vegan beetroot brioche bun” (Ve. £9.50)
Obviously stealing a bite to check it out for myself, this burger also hit a 10 on the tasty scale. How in the blue f**k Beyond Meat create these burgers to be so, well, meaty is beyond me – they’re just that damn good. With crunchy home made slaw and a slice of melty, oozy vegan gouda, and some nice acidic pickles, this provided classically served cheeseburger goodness that you just need sometimes.
Also sampled by our group were the Spicy Meaty sourdough pizza (‘nduja, pepperoni, chilli flakes, fresh red chillies, smashed napoli tomatoes, Scottish mozzarella – £11.50) and the Whole Oak Fired Chicken, (details not yet available online) for which you’re going to have to take our meat-eating pals word for on this, but the reviews were that it was pretty flippin’ tasty. Judging by the look and smell of that pizza though, you can bet your ass I’ll be ordering one from the veggie selection on my next visit, just look at that crisp crust and bubbling mozzarella…
It’s not often that you can make a day trip/family day out of a trip to the pub, but given that Dogtap is so much more than just your average a pub, that’s exactly what you can do here. The awesome building which is entirely carbon negative, features a separate beer school room, a games area with cool old school arcade games on the upper floor and a viewing platform into the packaging side of the brewery so that you can see the freshest cans of Punk IPA flying along the conveyor belt right before your eyes.
There’s even a sizeable beer museum for you hardcore craft beer nuts to get a wee bit of the Brewdog story firsthand.
Whether you’re in it for the beer, the food, or the element of being a tourist in your own city for the day, I wholeheartedly recommend a trip to Dogtap to check it out for yourself. I can’t wait for my next visit already. Dogtap in now open to the public, and you’ll find all of the awesome regular food deals such as 2-4-1 veggie/vegan Mondays too!
Have you been to visit Dogtap yet? Leave me a comment to let me know what you thought!
Until next time,
*We were invited to this preview day with no obligation to post, so as always all views are my own.