The Bier Hoose
Our Beer Man’s Verdict
I enjoy moaning about traditional boozers – even ones I never visited – “going craft” in a cynical attempt to gain a new audience.
It can be a hollow experience which alienates the old punters while also failing to bring any new people through the doors. The short-lived Cask & Still – formerly Irvine Welsh favourite the Volly Arms – is a perfect example of how not to do it, and others like The Empress have also failed to impress.
So it’s great to be able to report a venture which appears to have successfully made the transition.
The Boundary Bar on Leith Walk wasn’t a pub I visited often. One of the saltier establishments in the area, it has now been transformed into the Bier Hoose, with a strong focus on Belgian and German beer.
It’s a dark and cosy place, with subdued lighting, lots of wood and snugs like pews. The religious theme is a neat – perhaps unintentional – fit with the strong selection of Trappist beer.
The bottle list is long – 80 bottles, the barman proudly tells me – and impeccably chosen. All the Belgian and German classics are there – and all reasonably priced – along with the best of modern British. The draught range is small, but impressive – with beers from Kirkstall, Thornbridge and Wild on offer when I visit.
I kick off with the Schofferhofer radler. It’s a drink Lunchquest leader Blythe is in danger of becoming obsessed by. And it’s easy to see why. It’s a gloriously easy sunny grapefruit delight that comes in at just 2.5% Giggle juice: it’s hard not to smile when you drink it.
The Apophenia from Lost an Grounded is heftier – a big tripel that weighs in at more than over 8%, but hides the ABV in the smooth, sweet banana flavour.
Bier Hoose is a really welcome addition to Leith Walk, and Edinburgh in general. There were still some minor teething troubles when I visited, but I’ve no doubt – given its part of a family that includes Bar Brig and the Old Chain Pier – it’ll settle down.
In the meantime, it shows other establishments how you can take something old and successfully turn it into something new.
Address: 379 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 8SE