Category Archives: Edinburgh Beer

New Edinburgh taproom – Campervan Brewery open for business

Edinburgh is a great city for beer, but until recently it was severely lacking in one particular facet – brewery taprooms. We are lucky to boast the best selection of independent beer retailers and bottle shops in the UK, I think (relative to the size of the city), and you could argue the same about pubs and bars. With new breweries opening all the time the number of producers is also rising – and yet if you want to head to the people in question and hang out on a weekend with a beer made right there, there just aren’t that many options. Edinburgh Beer Factory is one, and that’s about it (Barney’s have events, the Caley has a great downstairs bar if they are hosting you – but it ends there). Until this weekend just gone, that is.

The soft launch of Edinburgh’s newest taproom was a great success, and from this Saturday the Campervan Brewery tap at their Jane Street brewery will be open for business. Paul Gibson moved his brewing operations from his converted garage to a bespoke unit at the start of the year, and has been knuckling down taking on all parts of the business since – with the Edinburgh Festival in mind as a target for opening a bona fide brewery taproom, his small but growing team opened the shutters last weekend as the festival kicked off the same weekend. Inside his brewery there are plenty of pallet-seats, with a few outside as well, and four keg lines supported by his range of bottles.

On my visit the standouts were the new Pacific Zest, a NZ hopped and lime zest Pale Ale brewed by his new appointee (and Ex-Heriot-Watt and Harviestoun man) Max Gruenke, and the amped-up Leith’al Juice, a 7.5% ABV grapefruit double IPA. At the moment, Paul and Max are brewing once a week on their 6BBL kit, with three fermenters needing a few more additions so that they can clear more orders and get things moving a bit more. The focus for Campervan is switching more to keg and away from bottles, with the much-needed extra tanks giving them the facility to condition before filling rather than keg-condition as they do at the moment. As with many small breweries, it is all hands on deck, all of the time.

But unlike other breweries one of the things Campervan have going for them are the beers, and if you’d like to head along to sample them where they are made and chat to the guys whilst touring the brewery, the taproom is open 5pm – 10pm Friday and 2pm – 9pm every Saturday from now on. The brewery is located at Unit 4 Bonnington Business Centre, 112 Jane Street, Edinburgh, EH6 5HG – on the Bonnington Rd side of the jumble of small buildings that lie between it, Great Junction Street and Leith Walk. If you head down in the afternoon the guys have an arrangement with a nearby pizza restaurant and will deliver to the taproom. With so few brewery taps in Edinburgh, it’s a great addition to the city.

Natural Selection Brewing launch Common Ancestor

Six years ago, I met up with a quartet of fresh-faced youngsters hoping to make it big in the world of brewing. The foursome were the first iteration of a project designed to become something much bigger as time went on – the debut of Natural Selection Brewing Co – the ultimate test-environment for prospective brewers. As part of the world-renowned International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) postgraduate degree at Heriot-Watt University here in Edinburgh, 2011 was the first time the Centre partnered up with Stewart Brewing (itself founded by an ex-alum of the course) to give four of the students about to graduate a very real chance to experience what it would be like when they ventured out alone – design, brew, market and sell a beer of their own, from start to finish.

It’s a fantastic idea, akin to a Grad Show at the College of Fashion or Art – albeit with the slight difference that the brewers’ don’t merely display what they have created and have it critiqued, the entire lot is purchased and consumed by the public shortly afterwards. It is the perfect launchpad for would-be brewers as it gives them the additional must-haves of marketing, budgeting and PR. I assume they don’t fill out tax returns as well but if they do then it can’t be far removed from having an actual brewery of their own (see also: dealing with bloggers and beer writers).

The ICBD is already a global leader within the industry – aside from Steve Stewart such notables as Alastair Hook (Meantime), Rob Theakston (Black Sheep), Martin Dickie (BrewDog), and Stewart Howe (Harbour) have all come through the course, and many, many more besides. I wonder how many of them would have liked the chance to have a dry-run at getting a beer over the line before they collected their diplomas? A rhetorical question, I guess (aside from Steve Stewart, who told me years ago he would have loved to have been able to do it).

Anyway, the latest version of Natural Selection Brewing launches tonight, in a special event at OX184 in Edinburgh city centre. The sixth beer to break cover (if you exclude the multiple barrel-aged versions and specials the team usually create on the side as well), it is named Common Ancestor and is a 5.2% juniper California Common. Five thousand litres have been brewed and the team are going to be releasing it into several cities across the UK following tonight’s launch event.

The guys were kind enough to send me a bottle (full disclosure) and it’s a good beer; the juniper being far and away the most interesting component. It raises the classic Steam Beer profile of biscuity malt into an almost ginger biscuit flavour, which is really something. There’s a hint of red berry fruit and a creaminess to the mouthfeel that complement everything as well – I imagine it would be excellent on cask where the more floral aspects would also have a chance to come out.

You can discover for yourself exactly what the beer tastes like tonight (Thursday 29th June) at OX184 from 7:30 (ticket prices apply, but include beer and snacks). Check out the NSBC feeds for more details, as the latest iteration of this hugely worthwhile MSc project breaks cover.

Edinburgh Beer Weekly 01/05 – 08/05

Welcome to the latest Edinburgh Beer Weekly! Every Sunday I’ll be posting a preview of all the beery happenings in the city for the next seven days – so you won’t miss a thing. You can sign up to the subscription service, ensuring you’ll get a notification every Sunday when the Edinburgh Beer Weekly is published. Just enter your email address in the panel on our front page. Also, follow me on Twitter (@thebeercast) to keep right up to date throughout the week. There are so many great beery things going on at the moment – stay tuned to the BeerCast, and enjoy each and every one of them!

So, what’s happening in the Edinburgh beer scene over the next seven days?


Sunday 1st
May Day at Cloisters
Cloisters Bar, 26 Brougham St
Further Information/Beer List

The Beer Weekly kicks off today on this particular week (not Monday as per usual). The reason being, one of Edinburgh’s best pubs are celebrating the start of May with a single-day beer festival celebrating the art of the old-time session beer. Offerings from 3.7% to 6.8% will be pouring from Cloisters’ taps, and the range of brilliantly-made second or third pint wonders includes such standouts as Cromarty Hit the Lip, Swannay Orkney Stout and Tiny Rebel One Inch Punch. What else are you going to do on a Sunday?



Monday 2nd 8:00pm
It’s Beer Jim, But Not As We Know It (at Appellation)
Appellation Wines, 43 Dalry Road
Appellation Wines website tickets £10

Monday’s tasting at Appellation takes place at their original Dalry location and features some of the more unusual beers on offer at the moment. With out of the ordinary ingredients, or unexpected techniques – innovation and imagination make beer truly fascinating. Head along to Appellation and get a better idea of the ideas behind some genuinely interesting beers.



Tuesday 3rd
Night of Good Beer
The Bow Bar, 80 West Bow
Further details

Next up for the week, on Tuesday the Bow Bar is hosting the twelfth in their series of ‘Not an Event, just Good Beer’ nights. No fuss, no frills, simply a lineup of fantastic beers – not least the on-draught Edinburgh debut of Chris Lewis’s DeadEnd Brew Machine in the shape of Death One, a 6.8% passion fruit IPA. Also on the taps, Tempest’s Mango Berlinner, SIXNORTH’S Chopper Stout, and five beers from the little-seen (in Scotland) Herefordshire microbrewery Odyssey Brew Co, inlcuding the brilliantly-named 2.5% IPA ‘Pocket Nuke’.



Thursday 5th 7:00pm
Stewart Brewing Tap Takeover
Ryan’s Bar, Hope St
Further Information

On Thursday, the West End is the place to be as Stewart Brewing are in town to take over the taps of Ryan’s Bar. With a range of old classics (such as their heralded 80/-) to new one-offs (the Pelican Grain Train wheat beer brewed with Fallen Brewing Co), and more besides, head along to Ryan’s and discover the latest from Loanhead’s finest.



The Edinburgh Beer Weekly will be published every Sunday here on the BeerCast. If you have an event in or around the city that you’d like to feature – please get in touch at the usual email address. Cheers!

Edinburgh Beer Weekly 07/03 – 13/03

Welcome to the latest Edinburgh Beer Weekly! Every Sunday I’ll be posting a preview of all the beery happenings in the city for the next seven days – so you won’t miss a thing. You can sign up to the subscription service, ensuring you’ll get a notification every Sunday when the Edinburgh Beer Weekly is published. Just enter your email address in the panel on our front page. Also, follow me on Twitter (@thebeercast) to keep right up to date throughout the week. There are so many great beery things going on at the moment – stay tuned to the BeerCast, and enjoy each and every one of them!

So, what’s happening in the Edinburgh beer scene over the next seven days?


Monday 7th [to June 25th]
Raise your glass! Celebrating Scotland’s Brewing Heritage
Museum of Edinburgh, 142 Canongate
Further details / FREE (Open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm)

Just another word that for the next few months, the Museum of Edinburgh is hosting an exhibition of Scotland’s rich brewing history. Compiled by Brewing Heritage Scotland, the group who maintain the fascinating historical items of the Scottish Brewing Archive, the exhibition will feature a series of period images, documents and displays about the unique and often untold history of brewing in Scotland. Entry is free, and for anyone with even a passing interest in brewing is an absolute must-visit.



Monday 7th 8:00pm
Campfire Beers at Appellation
Appellation Wines, 43 Dalry Road
Appellation Wines website tickets £10

On Monday, the first event if the week is the traditional palate-loosener at Appellation Wines’ Dalry branch in Haymarket. This week, it revolves around all things dark and smoky, as the team dissect and discuss a selection of smoked beers in all their glories. These kinds of beers are truly fascinating, and well worth sampling (even if I disagree).



Tuesday 8th 7:00-9:00pm
Women in Brewing Event
Stewart Brewing, Dryden Industrial Estate, Loanhead
Further Information and tickets (FREE).

Tuesday is International Women’s Day, and Stewart Brewing are marking it by hosting a networking event featuring an invited guest panel of women working in the brewing industry. Head along to the brewery to hear a series of discussions on how women can be better represented in every aspect of beermaking, from those who have first-hand knowledge. The event is free but requires sign-up in advance (see link above), and should be fascinating for anyone considering a job as a brewer or any other facet of the world of beer.



Tuesday 8th 6:00-8:00pm
Banana Bread Beer at the Guildford
The Guildford Arms, 1 West Register St
Charles Wells Twitter feed / Banana Bread Beer Info

Also on Tuesday, the Guildford Arms are showcasing something of an exclusive. Charles Wells Banana Bread Beer is something of a quirky institution – if you haven’t tried it, it really does taste as advertised – and the Guildford have acquired a one-off kegged version. Usually sold on cask or bottle, all the kegs leave the country (it’s not even served in Charles Wells’ own pubs) – so in a coup for the Guildford Arms, they will be serving up samples of the beer for anyone keen to see what this unique beer is like on keg.



Wednesday 9th 6:00pm
Top Out Tap Takeover
The Stockbridge Tap, 2-6 Raeburn Place
Further Details and Beer List / Top Out Twitter Feed

Midweek sees another can’t-miss event, as another Loanhead-based brewery (Top Out) take over the taps of the Stockbridge Tap. The event will see the launch of a brand new beer – Top Out’s new El Dorado-hopped pale ale, with another cask-dry-hopped version pouring alongside. Five more beers from the Top Out team will be on offer, so get there early and find out exactly what this Edinburgh brewery are all about.



Thursday 10th 6:30pm
Celt Experience Takeover and Mellis cheese pairing
The Bow Bar, 80 West Bow
Celt Experience Twitter Feed / Beer List

The next evening, the Tap’s sister bar is the place to be for a tap takeover and meet the brewer event with a slight difference. The Bow Bar are hosting a 14-tap takeover of enormous proportions from the fantastic Celt Experience (check beer list above) will be running alongside a ‘meet the cheese’ event from Edinburgh’s finest IJ Mellis. Beer and cheese is the classic pairing, better than any wine (although I would say that), so head down to the Bow, meet the guys from both brewery and fromagery and discover how good both can be together.



The Edinburgh Beer Weekly will be published every Sunday here on the BeerCast. If you have an event in or around the city that you’d like to feature – please get in touch at the usual email address. Cheers!

Edinburgh Beer Weekly 29/02 – 06/03

Welcome to the latest Edinburgh Beer Weekly! Every Sunday I’ll be posting a preview of all the beery happenings in the city for the next seven days – so you won’t miss a thing. You can sign up to the subscription service, ensuring you’ll get a notification every Sunday when the Edinburgh Beer Weekly is published. Just enter your email address in the panel on our front page. Also, follow me on Twitter (@thebeercast) to keep right up to date throughout the week. There are so many great beery things going on at the moment – stay tuned to the BeerCast, and enjoy each and every one of them!

So, what’s happening in the Edinburgh beer scene over the next seven days?


Tuesday 1st 7:00pm
Beer and Whisky pairing with Left Hand Brewing
OX 184, 184 Cowgate
Further Information / Tickets £25

To start the week, Chris Lennert from Left Hand Brewing Co is in town, and is celebrating in true Scottish style with a beer and whisky matching event. Taking place at OX 184 on the Cowgate, Chris will be bringing his not inconsiderable expertise to the party, revealing a series of modern takes on the classic half and half. With only a few tickets left, this is a great chance to learn more about how our two greatest drinks go together.



Tuesday 1st 7:30pm
Yeastie Boys Meet the Brewer
The Hanging Bat, 133 Lothian Rd
Yeastie Boys Twitter Feed / Tickets available here (£25)

The Hanging Bat’s excellent Meet the Brewer series of events usually close out a month, but hot on the heels of last week’s Chorlton Brewing event, the Bat Taps are primed for another brewery showcase – this time, to start the month. New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys are in town, and have brought around a dozen of their finest beers with them. Ticket price includes six beers, three courses of food, and plenty of discussion on how Yeastie Boys are going – and where next for Antipodean craft beer…



Thursday 3rd 8:00pm
Wh(e)at Rain? at Appellation CB
Appellation Wines, Comely Bank Road
Appellation Wines website tickets £10

This week’s tasting at Appellation Wines takes place at their Comely Bank branch, and features the glory of the cloudy, the hazy and the opaque. Wheat beers are still just as popular as ever, so head along and put the winter weather behind you with a series of beers designed to be enjoyed in Bavarian beer gardens.



Thursday 3rd
Dark Days and Light Nights at Cloisters
Cloisters Bar, 26 Brougham St
Further Information/Beer List

There’s a single-day beer festival in town this week, taking place at one of the city’s best pubs. Cloisters Bar on Brougham Street are hosting a ‘dark days, light nights’ event which sees their famous taps split into dark, roasty stouts and tropical, fruity pale ales. The beer list is in the Twitter link above, but highlights include the only cask in existence of Windswept’s Tornado IPA and the recently-crowned Champion Winter Beer of Britain, Marble Chocolate Marble.



Thursday 3rd 7:00pm
Beer and Food Pairing Evening, with Fyne Ales
The Southern, 22 South Clerk St
The Southern Bar Twitter / Tickets £25 email nicky@fullerthomson.com

Also on Thursday, a shop stroll across the Meadows will bring you to the Southern, who are hosting one of Scotland’s most celebrated breweries for a beer and food pairing evening. Fyne Ales need little introduction to regular readers of the BeerCast, but how are their beers when introduced at mealtime? Find out with a four course guided menu designed to match the skill of the brewers with the skill of the Southern’s kitchen.



Friday 4th
Alechemy Meet the Brewer
The Dalriada, 77 Promenade
Website

On Friday, ease into the weekend by the seaside, as the Dalriada hosts a tasting of the beers from the ever-excellent Alechemy Brewing. Head along and meet the team, sample a few of their beers – and if the weather co-operates, sit outside and look for seals… EDIT – This event has now been re-arranged for Friday 25th March



Saturday 5th [to Sunday 26th]
North Hop Edinburgh
The Assembly Rooms, George St
Further details / Tickets £16.50 online (early bird, £19 thereafter)

On Saturday, one of Northern Scotland’s most successful beer festival is hitting the road, heading to Edinburgh for one day only. North Hop began in Inverness two years ago and has now blossomed into a series of single-day festivals around the country. The Edinburgh event takes place at the Assembly Rooms and features beer (from a dozen Scottish breweries), gin, cocktails, street food and music and is split into two sessions (daytime 12-5pm and evening 7pm-12am). Ticket price includes glass, programme and your first drink!



Saturday 5th [to June 25th]
Raise your glass! Celebrating Scotland’s Brewing Heritage
Museum of Edinburgh, 142 Canongate
Further details / FREE (Open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm)

Also on Saturday, the Museum of Edinburgh sees the launch of a three-month exhibition of Scotland’s rich brewing history. Compiled by Brewing Heritage Scotland, the group who maintain the fascinating historical items of the Scottish Brewing Archive, the exhibition will feature a series of period images, documents and displays about the unique and often untold history of brewing in Scotland. Entry is free, and for anyone with even a passing interest in brewing is an absolute must-visit.



The Edinburgh Beer Weekly will be published every Sunday here on the BeerCast. If you have an event in or around the city that you’d like to feature – please get in touch at the usual email address. Cheers!

Edinburgh Beer Weekly 22/02 – 28/02

Welcome to the latest Edinburgh Beer Weekly! Every Sunday I’ll be posting a preview of all the beery happenings in the city for the next seven days – so you won’t miss a thing. You can sign up to the subscription service, ensuring you’ll get a notification every Sunday when the Edinburgh Beer Weekly is published. Just enter your email address in the panel on our front page. Also, follow me on Twitter (@thebeercast) to keep right up to date throughout the week. There are so many great beery things going on at the moment – stay tuned to the BeerCast, and enjoy each and every one of them!

So, what’s happening in the Edinburgh beer scene over the next seven days?


Monday 22nd 8:00pm
Belgian Beers at Appellation
Appellation Wines, 43 Dalry Road
Appellation Wines website tickets £10

The week begins in traditional style with a tasting at Appellation Wines’ Dalry branch. For this week, the topic of discussion (and sampling) is the delights of Belgian beers. From light saisons to sours, to overwhelming booze-rich dark beers. Head along to learn about these different, fascinating, styles and the history behind them.



Wednesday 24th 7:30pm
Chorlton Meet the Brewer
The Hanging Bat, 133 Lothian Rd
Chorlton Brewing Twitter Feed / Tickets available here (£25)

As we’re getting towards the end of the month it’s MTB-time at the Hanging Bat, and for this edition it’s a producer new to Edinburgh – Chorlton Brewing. The Manchester-based brewery embrace modern methods and German tradition – also in their own words ‘fresh beer – unfiltered, unpasteurised, and unfined’. With a series of fascinating beers, last year was a great one for Chorlton, so head along to the Bat for a guided talk, food and six beers across the full spectrum, finding out what inspires them along the way. Full beer list at the link above.



Thursday 25th 8:00pm
Hop Forward to Spring at Appellation CB
Appellation Wines, Comely Bank Road
Appellation Wines website tickets £10

This week sees a second tasting hosted by Appellation Wines, and fittingly it revolves around the majesty of the hop. Spring is on the way, so even though it’s still around zero outside that’s more than an excuse to crack open the piney and the resinous as well as the pithy and the fruity. All hail the mighty hop!



The Edinburgh Beer Weekly will be published every Sunday here on the BeerCast. If you have an event in or around the city that you’d like to feature – please get in touch at the usual email address. Cheers!