Saturday, 14 July 2012

Edinburgh Independents Beer Festival: 14th Jul 2012

I was really looking forward to the Edinburgh Independents Beer Festival - 8 really great Edinburgh pubs putting on a serious amount of interesting, incredibly rare & completely new to Scotland beers over the space of 3 days (I actually almost put down the awe***e word there!).
Lots of credit must be due to the people at Craftcentric for setting this up - see their blog for more details, the breweries for giving us such great beer and of course, for the pubs for putting this on. Judging by the amount of beer that had been consumed in the first 2 days, I was going to miss a lot of the very rare high abv beers (my liver thanks me!), but thought as a bit of a challenge, I could *try* to visit all of the pubs during a single Saturday afternoon, blogging in (almost) real-time - technology (especially the 3G/WiFi connection) and weather permitting of course.

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Outward transport:-
  Train: Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh Waverley

10:20 On train
Now to try & determine the order to walk around in. I wanted to work around the launch of Moor Grockle Grog in The Caley @2pm & the new Tempest beer @5pm in the Bow Bar so decided to get off at Waverley, start at Holyrood 9A & walk (vaguely) clockwise. This would mean Holyrood 9A -> The Southern -> Cloisters -> Red Squirrel -> Caley Sample Room -> Stockbridge Tap -> Cambridge Bar -> Bow Bar and rest...

11:15 Holyrood 9A
It was pretty busy with breakfasters but I was really only interested in the beer selection

I decided on a Kernel Black IPA VI and a bacon & egg roll - one of the more diverse breakfasts I've ever had, but very tasty!

11:45 Great Grog Shop
A slight diversion here to pick up some bottles that don't seem to ever make it to Glasgow - sigh...

That Thornbridge/Odell Pond Hopper just made me buy it - honest!

11:55 The Southern
First time in the place - most impressed - classy place. Lots of Magic Rock beer still on - Clown Juice was lovely & understated, with the Kernel Summit IPA just going on.

12:20 The Meadows
Still soggy here but dry enough to allow a gorilla to play the drums (although this seems to be a standard spot for him/it).

12:30 Cloisters
Relaxing in the lovely ambience of Cloisters with a Bristol Beer Factory Acer - a great low abv best bitter. Great chat with the guys at the bar about beer in general and how they're reverting back to more cask ale.
Also - BBF Seven just about to go on.

12:50 Red Squirrel
Met Ronnie from The 3 Judges & dragged him back into the Red Squirrel. Lots of Red Church, Lovibonds, Alechemy & Red Willow on here. Being so close to Princes St this is probably the most 'touristy' of the FT pubs, but still a great place for beer.

1:45 Caley Sample Room
We had a good walk along FountainBridge since we just missed the 34 Bus. In the Caley met the (in)famous Craig Garvie & his lovely family as well as @StravAle (David).

The guys from CraftCentric arrived with Andy from SWB (what a amazing guy - he brought a beer (Dr Paracelsus) up with him on the train!) for the Moor Grockle Grog launch.
This had lots of liquorice, aniseed & some sweet oakiness - it's lethal stuff!

2:30 34 Bus outside the Caley to Princes St
Now en-route to Stockbridge Tap. Lots of hills to come!

On the way from Princes St to Stockbridge there are lots of amazing private gardens, some with interesting/weird signs.

3:00 Stockbridge Tap
Lots of Moor beers still on, including the 9%+ JJJ Double IPA, but *yay* the 10%+ Magic Rock Bourbon Aged Bearded Lady is still there and it is divine - lots of boozy bourbon on a great stout base - only a 1/3 pint is required here.

3:45 Cambridge Bar
Met Rich from the Beercast - we both had steep walks from Stockbridge.

The Cambridge is perhaps a bit more of a food orientated bar comp to a trad boozer, but there is still a great selection of beer from Tempest, Camden and the Kernel. The Kernel Amarillo on keg was cold, but really nice - very bitter indeed.

4:45 Bow Bar
It was then a walk to the Bow Bar (via the Red Squirrel) where we were looking for a new Tempest beer (World of Pain) to be on @ 5pm. It was slightly late, but it doesn't matter when the staff are so friendly to talk to. However eventually Chris Mair stood up to extol the virtues of the new beer.
There was certainly lots of rye malt in there, with loads of hops, perhaps just a tad cold, but still a great way to finish the afternoon. And what a fantastic beery afternoon - days like this don't happen too often.

5:30pm Back on the train to Glasgow.
Outward travel:
  Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Queen Street


  1. Nice wee account of the day! I had a great weekend, probably bumped into you at a couple of those pubs without knowing it. And had the pleasant experience of finding out Milk Stout by the BBF is my new favourite easy-going beer :)


  2. Thanks for the comment! The BBF Milk Stout is excellent - they will be doing their 12 Stouts of Xmas again this year so keep checking their web-pages