The craft beer and microbrewery scene is growing rapidly in Uruguay, and while it may be a few years behind the global trend a new crop of breweries (cervecerías) opening up in Uruguay seem to be capturing an untapped market. A range of craft beers are available on tap and bottled in a relatively large selection of bars and microbreweries in Montevideo, and are increasingly available for purchase in supermarkets and a few restaurants, although sadly many eateries still only offer the large national brews.
Microbreweries and pubs I have visited:
Montevideo Beer Company – http://www.montevideobeercompany.com/ One of the most prominent brew pubs in Montevideo, this is a popular spot in the Pocitos neighborhood. There is a small indoor space, but the outdoor area is huge. The menu is basic (burgers) but tasty and the beer menu is impressive. They also recently opened a location at the World Trade Center next door to Montevideo Shopping, which primarily serves a lunch a happy hour crowd.
Montevideo Brew House - http://www.mbh.com.uy/ Also located in Pocitos, this is more of a neighborhood pub offering a range of microbrews including MBH beers made off-site. The menu is basic. Note: Recent change of ownership (Feb 2018)
Shelter Patio Cervecero - https://www.facebook.com/patioshelter/ The closest thing to a relaxed beer garden in Montevideo. The place is centrally located but a bit hidden down a dead-end street. While the indoor area is relatively small the garden is expansive and has a very bohemian feel. A relatively wide selection of beer brewed on site and from other breweries is on offer. Don’t expect great food, but the vibe is worth a visit.
Mastra Cerveceria – http://mastra.com.uy/choperias/ This artisanal brewery has been in operation for over 10 years and now has six pub locations in Uruguay, four of which are in Montevideo. The pubs are known as Choperías, from the word “chop” which is basically a half liter glass or mug of beer. These are generally small spaces with a very relaxed atmosphere and serving some basic nibbles.
Mercado Ferrando - http://www.mercadoferrando.com/ In the Palermo/Central neighborhood. This is actually a former furniture factory converted into a shopping and dining venue. It’s worth a visit and the bar in the back offers a very good selection of craft beers.
Patagonia - http://www.cervezapatagonia.com.ar/refugios#sucursales Ok, it's an Argentine brewery, but they have good beer and three locations in Montevideo.
Where to buy craft beer in bottles:
Increasingly, major supermarkets chains carry craft beers. These include Disco, Devoto, and Iberpark in Montevideo. Check out the Iberpark location in the Mercado Agrícola de Montevideo (MAM) for a good selection of wines and beers.
Cervecería Obdulio (18 de Julio 1240 Local 36, 11110 Montevideo) http://cerveceriaobdulio.com/ - In the Central neighborhood relatively close to the Ciudad Vieja. They offer a great selection of beers and provide home/hotel delivery.
Los Horneros (Guayaqui 3322, Montevideo)- https://www.facebook.com/loshornerosuy In the Pocitos neighborhood. Small shop with a good selection of Uruguayan wines and beers.
Los Querubines (Gabriel A. Pereira 3210, 11300 Montevideo) - https://www.facebook.com/losquerubines1/ Also in the Pocitos neighborhood. Offers a good selection of beer and wine.
The number of breweries seems to be increasing on a monthly basis. Here are just a few Uruguayan brews you'll find:
Birra Bizarra – With eye-catching labels based on circus performers, this beer also pleases the taste buds. Widely available in stores and bars.
Cabesas – Brewed in Tacuarembó, in the northern part of Uruguay, they offer a full range of beers, including a pumpkin ale.
Davok – Cerveceria del Sur. Brewed in Montevideo
Índica Beer - Award winning brews also made in Montevideo.
MASTRA Cerveza – Artisanal brewery with a wide selection of beers.
Oceánica – Natural and organic beer from the coastal town of Atlántida, just east of Montevideo.
O’Neill - Brewed in Punta del Este with relatively wide distribution in Montevideo.
Oso Pardo (Brown Bear Brewing) - Brewery and brewpub in Montevideo - but I haven't been there yet so I can't recommend it.
For more up-to-date information on beer in Uruguay and around the world, check out Birrapedia https://birrapedia.com/. It’s in Spanish, but fairly easy to figure out.