Edinburgh Independents Beer Festival

There’s two reasons why I’m blogging about an event that happened nearly two months ago, but we’ll get to those reasons shortly. I wasn’t even supposed to be up in Scotland that weekend, but my Grandma died and the funeral was on the Saturday. As I had a few hours to myself on the Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, I decided to try and get to a few of the participating pubs and try some of the beer on offer.

Friday saw me charge from Waverly station up to Bow Bar, where I managed to sink a few halves and start an argument with the bar on Twitter. I’m still sure that Buxton Axe Edge tasted of garlic. Next stop was the Red Squirrel on Lothian Road, a pub I’ve never been in before, but it seemed nice and had a good selection of beer. It was just a shame there was so many suits in the place for their end of week after work pint. But that did mean there was the opportunity to try and steer a few of them off the San Miguel and onto some of The Kernel’s India Pale Ale Galaxy.

It was a short wander from there to The Cambridge Bar on Young Street, although I have to say I wandered right passed it and had to ask for directions in Rebus’ favorite pub The Ox. I was running short on time by this point, so after just a half of Kernel Pale Ale Amarillo, I hot footed it to The Stockbridge Tap and beer paradise. I’m a big fan of the Moor Beer Company and while I can get some of their bottles locally, we hardly ever see their beer on cask, with only the odd one popping up every now and then in The Mitre.

It looked like nearly all of The Stockbridge Tap’s hand pumps and keg lines had been given over to Moor Beer, it was an amazing selection. To be honest, I could have just gone straight there and drank Moor Beer all evening and left a very happy man. Even though there were beers there that I’d not had before, I had to have a JJJ IPA, especially as they no longer sell bottles of it in the UK any more, which was followed in short order by an Old Freddy Walker.

My final beer before having to head off was a Magic Rock Bourbon Barrel Aged Bearded Lady and it was as amazing as I’d hoped. While in The Stockbridge Tap, I had a quick chat with both Andy from Summer Wine and Rich from Magic Rock, although I’m not sure I made much sense; three halves of strong beer in forty five minutes on top of all the other beer and walking, had left me a bit squiffy…

I was back in Edinburgh relatively early on the Sunday morning, which was a mistake, as I’d forgotten all about the Scottish licensing laws. So I pitched up at The Caley Sample Room an hour too early for them to be able to serve me any beer. It was gutting looking at the pump clip for the Moor Crockle Grog and knowing I wouldn’t get to try any. Things didn’t get any better when I got to Cloisters as it was still shut, things were not looking good.

I decided to take a quick wander up Bruntsfield Place to see if an offie I’d been told about was open. As it happened Drinkmonger was open and they had bottles of Tempest Brave New World IPA nestled into a great selection of Scottish and international beer. With my bag slightly heavier than before, I wandered back to Cloisters and straight into the arms of a Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop. I’ve never had any Bristol Beer Factory on cask before, so it was a real treat to be able to try a couple. I do wish they were more readily available around these parts.

My next stop was The Southern Bar, where I only had time for a half and had to make the agonising decision between a Summer Wine Dr Paracelsus’ Bombastic Indigo Elixir and a Kernel India Pale Ale Summit. Decision made and beer quaffed, I hot footed it around the corner to the Great Grog Shop to buy some more Scottish beer to bring home. I’m going to have to go back there next time I’m up the road, as it’s a fantastic place with a great selection of beer.

The wander down to Hollyrood 9A was a bit of a chore, as my bag was now rather heavy with all the beer, but the three beers I managed to try there made the sore shoulders worth while. Firstly Summer Wine Oregon, a fantastic American Pale Ale, secondly, Tempest Pale Ale on cask and keg, the cask just edged it for me. Finally Magic Rock’s Clown Juice, which meant I kept up my record of having tried every single beer they’ve made.

It nice to finally meet a load of people I only know via Twitter, BeerCast Rich and DanDanGlover to name two. It was also great to meet Summer Wine’s Andy (thanks for the first class train tickets!) and Magic Rock’s Rich again, both great guys. Finally, a massive shout out to both Bruce Gray and Chris Mair of Craft Centric for organising the whole thing. It was fantastic to see so many pubs coming together to celebrate some of the best beer that these Isles produce, they should all be applauded for making it happen. I’ll have to seriously consider “visiting my folks” if they do another one next year.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a long and rambling post, it was supposed to be short and to the point, so back to the two original reasons for it. Firstly, I’m going to review all the beer I brought down the road with me, while I don’t really enjoy doing reviews, the Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt is upon us and I need the practice. So look out for three or four posts in the coming days.

Secondly, I won first prize in the Edinburgh Independents Beer Festival raffle, which is a brew day with Summer Wine!

To say I’m excited is an understatement…

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