Ale to the King.

Edinburgh's quality beer and ale review and culture site.

Archive for the tag “deuchars”

Live Pub Guide to Edinburgh: Plan of ATTK & Discounts

Now comes the time to reveal Ale to the King/CamRGB’s Plan of ATTK for tomorrow’s Live Pub Guide to Edinburgh!

As those of you coming along will already know we are meeting at the Teuchter’s Landing at 11 before continuing in the following order:

  • Teuchter’s Landing
  • Roseleaf Cafe Bar: 10% Discount on Drinks
  • Malt & Hops: Free mugs of chips

A wee bus ride to Stockbridge on the number 36

  • The Stockbridge Tap
  • Kay’s Bar
  • Dirty Dick’s Bar: 20% Discount on Drinks
  • Blue Blazer: 20% Discount on Drinks
  • The Brauhaus
  • Bow Bar
  • Brewdog Bar

In case anyone gets lost and for those joining us later into the tour you can locate our current whereabouts by phoning or texting me on:

07903914460.

The aim is to spend just over an hour in each pub; this is clearly going to run over, but that’s why we’ve decided upon such a conservative amount of time. This way no one feels like they should be sprinting a marathon and we should all get into all the pubs!

I, rather embarrassingly, will have a whistle with me. When we are approaching time to leave I will give a little blast on the whistle so people can sup up.

With that said, I’ll see you all at 11 AM tomorrow!

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Join us for our first ever event in Edinburgh here.

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Pub Tour of Edinburgh: Discounts

Hail!

As the posters around Edinburgh, on the facebook event page and on this very site may have alerted you, there will a special offers afforded to us by several pubs on the route.

Those of you joining us on this journey into ale will be issued with Ale to the Kingcards that will prove to staff at participating pubs that you are entitled to these discounts.

I’ll print off enough for all who have signed up as definitely coming, so you won’t have to be sharing around.

Follow Ale to the King on twitter or share your beer experiences with us on untappd.

Join us for our first ever event in Edinburgh here.

Ten of the Best Edinburgh Ale Pubs

As the 2nd most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, Ale to the King hasn’t quite managed to tackle every real ale pub and bar in the capital, but a damn good effort is being made.

Below are my favourite spots to go ale hunting at the moment, ranked from 10 to 1 (1 being, predictably, my absolute favourite).

10. Teuchters Landing

1c Dock Place, Leith
A cosy little establishment on the watery edge of Leith, Teuchters Landing seems both fairly modern and contemporary yet linked to the seafaring past of its area. This unique, squat little building houses one of Edinburgh’s best stocked bars, with 14 beers, both macro and micro brewed, on draught and more bottles in the fridge. It also boasts a particularly good selection of whiskys should you choose to chase that Deuchars IPA. A nice warm fire and comfy leather and wood furniture complete this assuredly professional establishment.

9. Blue Blazer

2 Spittal Street, Old Town
For a brief three months I used to live in this area, charmingly known as the ‘pubic triangle’ due to the abundance of strip clubs. Residing literally round the corner this became a well-visited and loved pub. This Pub of the Year winning, traditional ale house is splendidly decorated in the way a proper, old-fashioned, gentile,  boozer should be. On last visit there were six cask ales ready to be drunk in the numerous hideaways and alcoves in this relaxed, well-maintained place. Prepare to make some compromises in personal space; Blue Blazer is becoming alarmingly popular with the young, fashionable professional crowd post-work, especially given the area and craft beer’s increasing prominance.

8. Stockbrige Tap

2 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge
A place that was unusually full of Black Isle is alright in Ale to the King’s books. For an area so erudite and swish Stockbridge Tap brings a needed earthy not to the area, sitting across from Hector’s and thus proffering up something a little less considered, a little more down-to-earth and a little more honest. It has a charming atmosphere and proper pub games while serving up some of the finest quality drinks going. It also plays host to some cracking beer festivals, so make sure you get down to these when they’re on and join the locals in expanding one’s taste horizons.

7. Brauhaus

105 Lauriston Place, Old Town
Rammed to the rafters with dozens of ale varieties, the Brauhaus, situated at the edge of Old Town, near the Meadows, is in a ripe position to take advantage of the upcoming, arty, area it borders. The beer selection really is vast, albeit most of these are in bottles. The ramshackle, mashed-together aesthetic really speaks volumes of what you can drink here, from more common brews like Stewart’s Edinburgh Gold to £10 bottles of the finest Belgian beer, its all under this roof. While I wouldn’t describe it as particularly cosy, and there can be a horrendous draft if you sit too close to the door of this small place, the number of ales on offer make up for everything.

6. Bow Bar

80 West Bow, Old Town
It looks and feels like its as old as St. Giles itself, but was actually only renovated in the 1990s.  Much of the furniture and decoration here was actually reclaimed from other pubs as they were ‘modernised’ giving this place a lived-in yet spruced-up feel. There are always a great selection of craft beers on pump and its somewhere that’s innocuous enough to be frequented by mostly locals, despite its location in tourist-central. With knowledgeable staff its a great place to start an evening or while away an afternoon. A whole day if it takes you, they have a frankly punishing array of craft beer on at any one moment.

5. Dirty Dick’s

159 Rose Street, New Town
If you thought Brauhaus was a collection of oddities wait until you get a load of this place. The dimly lit pub is so crammed full of unusual items, trinkets and decorations it would be almost impossible for a patron to catalogue them all. Believe me, I’ve had some of the most intense games of drunken eye-spy in Dirty Dicks.  However its not just the unique interior which gives this place the thumbs up. There are regularly four cask beers, well poured by the attentive staff. Easily the best pub on Rose Street.

4. Roseleaf Bar Cafe

23/4 Sandport Place, Leith
Another Leith institution, the Roseleaf Cafe Bar is a welcoming place. Situated just by The Shore, its a fine starting point to start a journey round some of the other real ale pubs Leith has to offer. Something, as you might have gathered by now, that scores big points with Ale to the King is great staff who are happy to serve and advise with your purchases. The staff that have served Ale to the King in the past have been great here. They really know what they’re talking about and always seem happy to chat. There’s a very good selection of beers on tap, expanded upon by the numerous bottles behind the bar. If you’re a fan of Williams Brothers Brewery in particular, this place is for you. A vintage style place without the pretentiousness that often comes with it (and old comics as wallpaper in the toilets to boot!). The food here is nothing short of the best I’ve had in a pub.

3. Malt and Hops Freehouse malt and hops inside

45 Shore, Leith.
Hops hang from the ceiling, a reassuring layer of dust sprinkles the less-used corners and a satisfying beery mustiness fills the air in this proper old fashioned ale house. Much like the Blue Blazer, but turned up a notch and taken back a few years, this is something of a nostalgic blast from the past; it take me back to a time before craft beer wasn’t the coolest booze on the block and my fellow regulars were at least 30 years my senior and wore scratty green jumpers over checked shirts. The Malt and Hops Freehouse stands resolute against the tide of craft beer’s and the Shore’s rising popularity and mainstream attention. At last visit there were a very respectable six casks and the rotation is regular. This is a lovely, cosy, relaxing place to absorb an evening and enjoy the warm fire.

2. Brewdog BarBrewdog Edinburgh inside

143 Cowgate, Cowgate
The Cowgate area of Edinburgh is often undeservedly written off. But amongst the less than reputable drinking establishments, its home to two of the best rock and metal clubs in Edinburgh as well as the quite excellent rock and ale pub venue BannermansAle to the King has already given this place a review worthy of this place on the list, but in brief this exemplifies what it took to get the craft beer revolution into full swing. Offering a great range of Brewdog’s own beers as well as a great selection on others bottled and on tap, this cool bar has a modern, minimal style that is a far cry from the sedate, dank, remote pubs from craft beer’s history. Attracting a crowd that like to stay on top of the newest thing as well as veteran ale drinkers, Brewdog Bar is a refreshing place to spend a Saturday. Careful though, your quest to ‘try just one more’ may leave you crawling instead of walking back home. Or falling into drumkits at Bannermans. Take your pick.

1. Kay’s Bar

39 Jamaica Street, New Town.
Ale to the King has been to many pubs in the capital in a quest for the ultimate ale pub, but none has surpassed Kay’s Bar. This has everything an ale drinker would wish of a bar to a tee. A mighty seven ale pumps often stand ready to dispense barley-pop  and slake even the mightiest of thirsts. The atmosphere is at times  cramped, but the surroundings are so ship-shaped and resolutely, jovially British that this Victorian pub forces this to be nothing less than convivial. There is a games room stocked with games that, shock-horror, have all their pieces. There is a wonderfully warm fire. There are dogs running around your feet, always the friendly kind, looking to say hello. The patrons are uniformly friendly and chatty. There’s the staff, who know more about beer than the staff of anywhere I’ve been and are really nice characters (he’s called Fraser. You’ll know the one I’m talking about). And there’s that one thing that seasoned public house patrons will know; seasoned patrons who go to proper pubs and for whom stepping into a Weatherspoon’s, Varsity or Walkabout is an alien, unfortunate experience; a staircase you’re not sure if you’re allowed to go up or not. If you enjoy going out for a drink in Auld Reekie, you owe it to yourself to go to Kay’s Bar.

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Pub Review: Victoria Bar, Leith, Edinburgh

Name: Victoria Bar
Location:  265 Leith Walk, Edinburgh

Beers Selection: Not great, limited to a mainstream selection, albeit one that wants to project an image of alternativeness.  The usual faux-alternate brands are here; Amstel, Hefferveisen, Weissbrau, Duechers, Guiness. The house wines, both red and white are good but the bar lacks rotational, guest, or frankly, any great beers. In Edinbugh this kind of establishment should at least have something by Brewdog or Black Isle  if it wants to market itself as a quality drinking hole but it falls down badly here.

Atmosphere: In this case Victoria Bar  is marvellous. This place has a stunning atmosphere. Very bubbly as the place is whenever Ale to the King been , it has a lot of different facets. There seems to be a few age groups here, from the more mature students to the bulk of the crowd which is mid-twenties to people into their early 30s. Everyone has the same mentality though; lively yet unobtrusive.

Staff
: Unfailingly friendly. These people seem to be always pleasant, swift and immediate. They have a relaxed manner which is more than welcoming. Its a homely, fashionable youthful crew.

Decor: What can Ale to the King say other than very, very good? The front/bar end of the establishment has an old world charm about it with very nice old fashioned windows. This is mixed with a Victoriana-cum-70s aesthetic, if that makes any sense.
There’s a small area just to the right behind the bar that’s covered in beautifully lit, charmingly done fairy lights. Sadly right next to them is the toilets.

Up a couple of stairs is a lovely area where sofas wrap the back wall. This is nicely complemented by rope lights  lining these; cheesy yes, but in its own way charming. The roof, strewn with fairy lights, add something extra.  The place has a low-lit sexy atmosphere.

Victoria is a fine bar, the decor, the atmoshere, the ambience. It would be brilliant if they had a better range of good beer.

A good hang out.

Aledvent Calendbeer selection 2

If you haven’t been keeping up, Ale to the King has been counting down to Christmas in the best way it can think of.  While many go for the common or garden advent calendar with chocolate and others prefer the more traditional advent candle, Ale to the King has created the Aledvent Calendbeer. A carefully chosen beer that reflects Christmas in one way or another (no matter how tenuous the link!) will be decapitated, drunk and deliberated over until the big day itself.

Selection 1 consisted of Christmas Ale by Goose Island, Paradox Isle of Arran by Brewdog, Black Lager by Zeitgeist, Finch by Natural Selection Brewing, Samuel Smith’s India Ale by Samuel Smith Old Brewery and There is No Santa by Brewdog.

But that was just Selection 1 and as 007 once said, you’ve had your six.

So, without further ado Ale to the King presents you with Aledvent Calendbeer Selection 2:

If you want to drink along with Ale to the King and compare notes, then you will need:

  • Hefeweizen by Stewart Brewing
  • Winter Ale by The Brooklyn Brewery
  • India Pale Ale by Knops Beer Company
  • Hop Trials – Nelson Sauvin by Tryst
  • St. Mungo by West Brewery

If you’ve not been able to keep up with the Aledvent Calendbeer  then now’s a great time to get on board and even make up for lost time by having a second beer a day from Selection 1!

So charge your glasses and raise it in honour of the ever approaching jolly Saint Nick. Because Christmas is a time for treating yourself as well!

What did you think of the Aledvent Calendbeer Selection 1? Disagree with Ale to the King‘s verdict on There’s No Santa or the praise heaped upon Goose Island’s Christmas Ale? Please, do sound off in the comments below!

Review: Deuchars IPA

Beer: Deuchars IPA
Brewery: Caledonian (Edinburgh)
Type: Indian Pale Ale
Served: Bottled
Alc: 4.4% Vol
Album listened to while reviewing: Hypothetical by Threshold (2001)

This is the first review for this Edinburgh based website so it was with very deliberate decision the Edinburgh synonymous Deuchars IPA by Caledonian was selected.

Originally hailing from Sheffield, one of the early beers I relished when my tastes matured (and I realised craft brewed alcohol’s absolute superiority) Deuchers IPA was one of the beers I relished the most. When I first knew I was moving to Edinburgh, being in the home of one of my favourite beers was a real boon. It was an added bonus that one of my favourite’s brewery, known locally as The Caley, is the only one to still be operating out of the 40+ breweries that began in the 19th century.

That was only available served from pump. From a bottle, however, its a somewhat different experience.

What first hits you from the bottled version, if you’ve only ever been used to draft, is how fizzy it is. It hits right on the tip of your tongue in a way that’s positively surprising. This isn’t to say its a bad thing, surprises are good, I like surprises. But its certainly different.  Deuchers IPA draft is a very laid back, cosy, fleecy experience whereas from the bottle, its categorically excitable.

Its also got a noticeable hoppiness that seems to hit the top of the mouth at a 45% degree angle before melting onto the tongue and down the throat.

Its also leans rather heavily towards the more watery end of the spectrum, even for a bottled beer. These qualities combine to make it refreshing yet definitely bitter, somewhat like drinking ready salted crisps or peanuts.

But that’s not the whole story. The other side of the story concerns old fruit. An immediate touch on tongue is one of old lemon flesh; the kind that’s been left in the fridge too long half cut open after a house party and you lick it just to see if it’ll stretch to one more gin and Irn Bru.

In the middle of the taste this transforms into the scent of a wrinkly old apple with the skin still on.

On the nose is a wet but resolute bonfire party, one where the fire singes the sprinkling rain which in turn patters on your friend’s floral anorak, determined not to let the precipitation stop her from writing her name with a sparkler in one hand, a can of rained-in beer in the other.

And that’s what sums up Deuchers IPA. Its determined to have a good time despite prevailing conditions. A standard beer being all the best a standard beer can be with, alongside the barley and wheat, some happy memories mixed in.

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