A first look at BrewDog Reading

Claire Slobodian
Brewdog beer reading

Craft brewing giants BrewDog have finally opened their first bar in Reading at the foot of Castle Street. We attended the Thursday preview night for Equity Punks, the brand’s shareholder programme for BrewDog superfans, and got a look inside the bar before its full opening on Friday 16 March. Get a sneak peak at the new Brewdog Reading craft beer bar with our first look and photos from the preview night.

The self-proclaimed ‘punk’ brewers have taken over the former RYND/Public space opposite The Horn and made it their own, with that distressed industrial interior that seems to be compulsory for every new restaurant or bar opening.

The bar is now almost unrecognisable from its Public days, with what seems like a sizeable budget going into ripping out the previous space-killing raised seating area and hidden corners. The upstairs and its sticky dancefloor has gone too, blocked off for staff offices and ‘crew’ use, so the bar is now just one big room divided up by seating of different styles – from hightops for eight, to banquettes for dining and metal-caged booths along the left wall.

When full, as it was on preview night, there’s a hustle, a bustle and an atmosphere that was always lacking at all the previous incarnations of the building. It’s not very different from BrewDog’s other bars across the country, but there is a nice nod to our town in the Reading Hop Union neon light at the back.

Behind the bar they have 20 taps of craft brews, including their now almost world-famous Punk IPA, which they claim will never be more than two weeks old. For opening there are 13 of Brewdog’s own beers and seven guest brews, including a potent barrel aged beer from Dark Horse, which clocks in at a knee-knocking 14%. They appear to have brought London pricing with them though, most pints sit around the £5 mark. We were surprised not to see any local breweries on the taps for opening weekend, but there are bottles of Siren Craft available to take away, and there’s a meet the brewer event planned with them for next month.

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At the back are fridges full of cans and bottles to buy to takeaway. You can also pick up a Growler, a 1 litre stoppered container of any draft beer to drink at home. And in the far back right corner, there’s a wall of three retro pinball machines.

There’s food too, which we didn’t sample, but the burgers coming out of the kitchen looked gargantuan. There’ll also be wings, hotdogs and brunch at weekends. Look back in a month for a full review of BrewDog Reading after they’ve had time to settle in.

BrewDog Reading 11 Castle St, RG1 7SB. Open 12pm-1am Mon-Thu, 12pm-2am Fru, 11am-2am Sat, 11am-midnight Sun. View website.
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