Everything you need to know about the Glasgow Real Ale Festival: Updated for 2017

Live near Glasgow? Love great beer? We think we might have just the thing for you

Published 22nd Jun 2017
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

What is the Glasgow Real Ale festival? 

The Glasgow Real Ale Festival (GRAF) is a beer festival organised and run by CAMRA that showcases the best beers the UK - as well as some from further away - has to offer.

Visitors will be given the opportunity to sample over 100 beers from breweries in Scotland, and all across the UK, as well as an excellent selection of foreign beers and real ciders.

Nearly every type of real ale will be represented from pale hoppy ales through to darker stouts and porters.

Whatever your taste, there will be a real ale for everyone at the GRAF.

Where will it be held?

The festival is set to be held in the stunning Briggait, a wonderful Grade A listed building in Glasgow’s eclectic Merchant City area.

Originally built in 1873 the Briggait served as the city’s fish market for over a hundred years before undergoing renovations that repurposed it as a creative space for artists and cultural organisations.

Briggait - Bridgegate Exterior

The Briggait. Picture: Waspstudios


The GRAF will run from 3.30pm on Thursday 22nd June through to last orders on Saturday 24th June.

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Getting there


The Briggait is in Glasgow city centre and is around 10 minutes walk from Queen Street Station.

Just walk diagonally across George Square then down miller street into Ingram street.

Turn right onto Stockwell Street and keep walking until you see the Briggait on your left hand side.

By bus

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Alternatively, many bus routes that cross the river to the south of the city from Buchanan Street bus station stop on Stockwell street.

By Underground

The Briggait is about 15 mins walk from both St Enoch and Buchanan St Underground stations.


Tickets are available on the door only.

Admission prices are £4 for CAMRA members and £6 for non-members.

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A Glasgow Real Ale Festival beer glass is included in the admission price.

Glasgow Real Ale Festival

The event has been hugely popular over the last few years. Picture: CAMRA


The Beer list

Let's face it there's only one major reason to go to a beer festival and that's to try all those great pale ales, stouts, ambers, milds, porters and golden ales.

Thankfully, this is truly a great festival for lovers of variety.

Scottish breweries are represented strongly (as you'd expect) with deservedly established stalwarts like Kelburn, Loch Lomond, Strathaven and Williams Brosthrough to trailblazers like Highland, FallenAlechemy and Ayr, as well as exciting newcomers like Bute, Cross Borders and Lawman.

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Not to be outdone, rUK will also be sending their best beers north of the border.

Salamander, Rat and Lacons will be there representing England,  as will Oakham, Ossett, Marble (though sadly no dobber - it's a thing check it out) and Hawkshead.

Tiny Rebel and Purple Moose will also be making the trip up from Wales alongside a few others.

As for the rest of the world there will be a great selection of wonderful world beers from Belgium (obviously), Czech Republic (yup, of course) and Italy (yea- wait what?).

There also be one or two US breweries putting in an appearance from all the way across the pond.


As a refreshing treat and an aside from all the excellent beers, the festival will also be highlighting another CAMRA staple, real cider.

We are definitely excited about the array of Scottish ciders that will be rubbing shoulders with the normally strong English contingent.

It's an exciting time for Scottish cider at the minute and with Walkmill and Andrews making an appearance, the cider stands will be well worth checking out.

Advice and a note of caution 

Please drink responsibly.

The beer festival is well staffed and the utmost effort will be made to take care of you while you are there but should you begin to let it all get to your head, take a break and get something to eat or drink some water.

And remember - just one last drink after you think you might have had enough, is never a great idea.

Luckily, the festival runs over three days so you can always come back the next day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I keep my glass? Yes you can keep your glass, if you're like us you'll probably want to add it to your already extensive collection of beer festival glasses, or perhaps you're just wanting to get one going.

How do I become a CAMRA member? If you're reading this guide then there's already a fair to middling chance that you're a fan of  real ales, or at least have an interest in them.

Should this be the case then joining CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) can be a great way to extend your knowledge and support the industry. Membership costs as little as £2 a month and you can find out how to join - or to buy a gift membership for someone who deserves a treat - here.

Will there be food at the event? It hasn't been confirmed but there will generally be food stalls on offer at CAMRA events and there are plenty of places to eat in the Merchant City, should you require something more substantial.

How will I know what to drink? Luckily, there will be well informed staff at each of the bars to give you information on each of the beers available, as well as a handy guide.

Should I drink pints?  Some of the beers (depending on strength) may be restricted to half pints and as a rule, it's probably more enjoyable if you try each beer as half pints, as you'll be able to sample more of the extensive collection but again it's entirely up to you.

Can I vote for my favourite beer? The festival usually runs a competition each year to find the best beer as picked by the guests and should you enter you'll also be entered into a prize draw.

Is there a dress code? No, thankfully real ale enthusiasts are a relaxed and friendly crowd and you'll find nearly all forms of clothing are welcomed.

Keep up to date with information about GRAF by following:

Twitter: @GlasRealAleFest
Facebook: www.facebook.com/glasgowrealalefestival
Website: www.glasgowrealalefestival.co.uk/

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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