Opening hours: closed down August 2023 (or probably before then)
Other days: n/a
Official site: http://wearehawkes.com/
Last updated: 23/08/2023
Should we be talking about this on the Beer Mile? After all, there are a couple of oh-so-trendy gin distilleries on the route, and we're not saying anything about those (even though one of them keeps asking). But there are definite links between cider and craft beer, and especially this cider: early in 2018, BrewDog made a substantial investment in - oh, sod it, bought - Hawkes, seeing the purchase as a way of plugging one of the acknowledged gaps in the offerings at their bars.
You can see what attracted BrewDog to Hawkes in particular: there was a similar sort of attitude in the decor, complete with the slogan 'The Cider Revolution Will Not Be Televised' over the bar itself. A year and a bit after the buyout, the money seemed to have done Hawkes the world of good: they revised their tag to be 'Saviours of Cider,' their Urban Orchard cider became a staple in bars across the country, and they expanded into a four arch stretch on Druid Street.
We'd take issue with the taproom’s guest beer policy: back in the day, non-cider drinkers could choose from a selection of the cidery's neighbours from other parts of the Mile, but eventually only one brewery was getting a look in. You can probably guess which one it was. But most people were there for the cider, and Hawkes definitely delivered on that score. There were typically seven or so different varieties on tap, mostly by Hawkes themselves but with the odd guest (including the likes of Tiny Rebel, who I wouldn't normally associate with cider at all). They also had collaborations with breweries like Anspach & Hobday on a graff, a cider/beer genetic hybrid. It actually worked surprisingly well.
And then at the start of 2023 it all went a bit peculiar. The site closed down, apparently for a winter break while they did some refurbishments. To be fair, it needed them: on our last visit, there were signs warning you not to leave your coats against the wall, unless you wanted them covered in slime from the trains running over the top of the building. But those renovations dragged on, and on. As BrewDog shareholders, we tried making enquiries to the parent company about what had happened to Hawkes, but got no response. Eventually they came clean and admitted that as a result of high rents, the taproom wasn’t going to reopen: moreover, brewing of Hawkes cider had been passed over to an unnamed third party, who it turned out had been doing that job for quite some time before any of us found out about it. It’s a messy and ignominious end to what was probably the best non-beer site on the Mile.