I reviewed Usher’s 18 months ago, when it had just opened.
My write-up was pretty positive, without being glowing. My view at the time was that it was perhaps playing things a little safe and would need to find a niche to really succeed.
I thought little more about Usher’s afterwards, preferring instead to frequent the many other excellent beery establishments Edinburgh offers.
But then word started to reach me that it merited a reappraisal and I should check it out again.
I’m delighted I accepted that advice, because it’s now a pub I find myself drinking in more regularly than most.
So, yes, the best of British brewing is represented, with the likes of Buxton, Fyne, Mad Hatter and Siren regularly appearing.
And their own beer output is prodigious, with usually half a dozen pumps of well-executed brews which often stray into interesting territory.
But the main attraction is that there are now almost always beers on which you just don’t see anywhere else, including the excellent Hanging Bat.
The beer list isn’t compiled based on popularity or financial margins. Instead, it feels like a hardcore beer lover has been let loose on the list and given free rein to buy whatever beer they like from wherever they like, no matter the cost.
So on my last visit I had the resinous Green Gold by Denmark’s Mikkeller and the roasted coffee Spaghetti Western from Italy’s Brewfist. Recently, I’ve enjoyed Mikkeller’s milk stout, the Pompelmocello grapefruit IPA from Siren, Odell’s Myrcenary and Buxton’s Ice Cream Pale: all magnificent – and fairly elusive – brews.
And we’ve also had a Rodenbach tap takeover – something I never thought I would see in Edinburgh – as well as assorted vintages of Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh.
The beer is always in good condition and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly.
In my first review, I said Usher’s would need to find a niche. They’ve certainly done that. It may not be the best beer bar in Edinburgh but, for my money, it’s currently the most exciting.