May 15, 2014 Beer No Comments

Today we’re pleased to launch a new regular column on the site, which focusses on the growth, not to say explosion, of excellent beer in our fair city. Over to our beer man…

Anyone who has visited Edinburgh’s pubs and bars recently has probably noticed something afoot in the capital’s beer scene.

The Vintage

The Vintage

The city has always boasted many impressive old boozers and a strong core of excellent pubs offering well-kept cask beer.

But Edinburgh has really embraced the remarkable recent renaissance in British beer to cement its reputation as the foremost city for drinking quality beer in Scotland, probably second only to London in the UK.

Venerable old favourites likes the Bow Bar, Cloisters, Guildford, Cask and Barrel and Staggs have been serving great beer for years – and they have now been joined by a new wave of establishments.

Guildford Arms

Guildford Arms

This has been prompted, in part, by the explosion in the so-called craft beer scene. This vague term – there is no agreed definition for what it actually means – is usually taken to mean modern quality beer which isn’t averse to being served from keg, but it is now being used so widely it’s in danger of becoming meaningless.

But what is for sure is that you can go into one of the many Edinburgh pubs which have embraced craft – like the Caley Sample Rooms, Cambridge, Hanging Bat, Stockbridge Tap, the Vintage or any of the excellent Fuller Thomson outlets like Holyrood 9a – and enjoy the finest British beer served in excellent condition by knowledgeable and approachable staff.

Even pubs beer lovers would previously have avoided now often have a couple of taps devoted to good ale.

Holyrood 9A sign

Holyrood 9A sign

This enthusiasm for great beer – and understanding what goes into making a great pint – has led to an explosion in Scottish brewers. Black Isle, Brewdog and Williams can now be found on most supermarket shelves, with others like Cromarty, Fyne, Tempest and Tryst now well-established.

The Edinburgh brewing scene is in rude health, thanks to Alechemy, Barney’s, Elixir, Knops, Pilot, Stewart’s and Top Out.

Their beers can be enjoyed in local pubs or bought from a small number of terrific independent off-sales like Beer Hive, Cornelius, Great Grog and Vino.

Social media has helped mobilise the Edinburgh beer scene, creating a strong sense of community rather than competition. So brewers and pubs work together, and aficionados gather to share beers and rate them. There are also regular opportunities to meet national and local brewers and experts face-to-face.

It’s a fascinating scene which has moved well beyond a niche audience – just read the excellent Beercast blog to see the range of activity taking place across the city on a daily basis – and Lunchquest will share some of it with you.

Through occasional articles, we will focus on the pubs, the brewers and, of course, the beer. While there will be a strong focus on Edinburgh, we will – in the spirit in the pioneering Lunchquest ethos – not be afraid to venture beyond the city in search of adventure.

Written by BKR