Ale to the King.

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

Archive for the tag “Scotland”

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!

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

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.

Ale to the King/CamRGB Pub Guide to Edinburgh: Stagger(ered/ing) Eating

Hail!

A quick note regarding eating during Monday’s Ale to the King/CamRGB Live Pub Guide to Edinburgh.

Due to the unexpectedly high turn out for our event (THANK YOU) the charming little pubs on the route have told me they simply don’t have the room to cater for all of us all at once!

Ale to the King knows that, thankfully, people usually don’t want to eat all at the same time, so we’d ask you to eat at whatever pub you like. After all, we’re advising a hearty breakfast and there’ll be free chips early on from the Malt and Hops!

I also ask if you could order your meal with your pint straight away so we can keep on some semblance of a timetable, that would be a gargantuan help to the event!

My thanks, not only in this but to all those who have signed up through the various ways!

I honestly can’t wait for this event and to meet those I haven’t before and be reacquainted with those I have!

Pub Review: The Leith Beer Co., the Shore, Edinburgh

Leith Beer Co. exteriorName: The Leith Beer Co.
Location: 58 The Shore, Edinburgh

Note: This is Ale to the King‘s review of The Leith Beer Co. on its opening night. As pubs do, The Leith Beer Co. may change and grow as it settles into itself.

Beer Selection: The leaflet that popped through the letter box promised “an eclectic draft and bottled drinks range”. True enough there was a good range of bottled beers available, both lagers and ales. You won’t immediately notice them, they’re tucked into the fridges behind the bar. I was actually left a little disappointed upon first arriving; before ordering you’re best to pop your head round the corner to the steps, where a massive blackboard displays all the beers they sell. There’s nothing Leith Beer Co. Beer Listhere that’s particularly new or unusal, but it does cover all the bases. And I do mean all.

That was a relief as I was a tad disappointed by the draft beers on offer. It was the standard range you’d find in any Edinburgh pub that didn’t specialise in ale. The pint of the week was the now ubiquitous Blue Moon from Coors. The only beer I’d not seen before was the Belhaven Black Stout, which was rather tasty, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t particularly regard Belhaven Best.

Atmosphere: Having never visited in its previous incarnation, The Waterline, its impossible for me to compare its atmosphere now to what it once was. On opening night The Leith Beer Co. was bright and airy, if rather subdued and quiet. A thirties crowd seems to frequent this place (with three groups of people talking about Zombies at once oddly).  You’ll easily find somewhere quiet where you can keep yourself to yourself.

Staff: Very helpful and quick to serve. They seem to know a thing or two about beer and are happy to advise and chat. There’s an encouraging air of professionalism here with this welcomeness as well.

Interior/Exterior: This may be hard to judge, since on a morning drive-by people were clearly still putting the finishing touches to the innards. As a result the whole place smelt strongly of B&Q.  It was a very strange experience, to the point it almost interferred with my bottle of Orkney Brewery Dark Isle.

The decoration is very stock, with generic prints of general old-timey-brewy-stuff on the walls and hung on canvas. The chairs are comfortable and the main material used is wood. I don’t know whether its the newness that makes it seem somewhat cheap, only time will tell on that matter.

I can see what they’re going for, a clash of rustic and industrial; the old-timey prints are nicely teamed with ultra-functional looking metal hanging lights, suspended from their most appealing flourish, the solid wooden-planked roof. The Leith Beer Co. seems to be straining for individuality against a tight leash imposed by its owner Belhaven.

There’s a pleasant area out front packed with pub benches where you can watch the ducks and swans on the Water of Leith.

Unfortunately it doesn’t do enough to warrant a near return, especially because its sat so near to three of the ten best ale pubs in Edinburgh.

With a greater range of beers this would have potential to grow into a welcome addition to the Shore, but sadly it falls below what’s already on offer at other pubs.

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.

Ale to the King: A Live Pub Guide to Edinburgh

Date: 04/06/12
Time: 11AM
Place: Teuchter’s Landing, 1C Dock Place, Leith, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Skyline

“Quaintest thoughts, queerest fancies come to life and fade away. What care I how time advances; I am drinking ale today.” – Edgar Allan Poe

Ale to the King in association with CamRGB are staging a royal coup.

This bank holiday may be in honour of one particular woman, but there’s a better reason to celebrate these extra free days. So ready yourselves ale lovers! Join Ale to the King on the 4th of June for a leisurely afternoon of quaffing only the finest real ale in Edinburgh’s most welcoming drinking establishments.

Join us for an afternoon (and, let’s face it, evening) voyaging to some of Ale to the King’s top ten best real ale pubs Edinburgh has to offer. Meet fellow ale lovers, talk ale and try something new – with discounts and special offers along the way.

Have a hearty breakfast then get yourself down to Teuchter’s Landing at the Shore for an 11am kick off. Wear comfy beer boots, because we’ll be taking in lots of the city and remember to bring a mere £1.40 for a bus ride we have planned.
Cider/whisky/gin/whateverthehellyouwanttodrink lovers also welcome, but we think you really should give ale a try – because it’s great.

Just sign-up at the official Facebook Event Pagee-mail us at robertjbayley@gmail.com or give us a Tweet or Direct Message!

While there are discounts on offer from pubs this is a totally free event which Ale to the King, CamRGB and the pubs  have arranged purely in the spirit of promoting great craft beer culture, no matter where its brewed or served.

One final note – remember to pace yourself, you don’t want to miss any of the fun now do you?

It might be Queenie’s big day, but on Monday 4th June we’ll be saying – Ale to the King!

Join us on the day by joining our Facebook Event Page, Tweeting us or e-mailing: robertjbayley@gmail.com

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Brew at the Bog Special: Review: The Main Event

In Ale to the King’s concluding piece on Brew at the Bog Festival 2012, we bring ourselves to the main event, the festival experience itself.

Arriving around 10PM on the Friday we pitched our tent after a back and forth trying to locate where the entrance to the field actually was. Being the initial Brew at the Bog the campsite understandably small, taking up a very restrained area at the rear of the field. As already discussed this successfully encouraged more of a festival feeling despite the expanse of empty grass. However this did mean those wanting an earlier bedtime were kept awake by those partying until 6AM. It may have been something unique to allow more space, leading for a quieter night for those who wished it, a rarity in festivals.

I’ve only lived in Scotland for about a year and a half, but the weekend of the 4th and 5th seemed unseasonably cold for even this country. However even this had its upside; we’d noted the Brewdog beers that would be on offer and brought the ones that weren’t – the icy weather provided out tent with a fine beer cooler.

However in the morning campers were able to appreciate the lovely view across the Moray Firth as they enjoyed their breakfasts. After that there was some time before the festival kicked off at midday. That’s some time to kill before the entertainment starts, so unless you’re into the camping experience and start times are similar next year, Ale to the King would recommend coming on the Saturday morning itself.

The day kicked off on the second, Go North stage, with He Slept on 57 delivering a crowd engaging performance that really suited the venue. A band I’d never heard of, but a pleasant surprise that was very enjoyable and the whole musical day took this theme. Small bands, who clearly brought some of their following with them, but largely unheard of, delivering great music that fitted enormously well with the festival.

On the culinary front there was your standard festival fare; tasty churros with hot choc-sauce dip, lovely, greasy Aberdeen Angus steak burgers (these were especially delicious), excellent, quality fish and chips that ranks amongst the best I’ve eaten and the Tea Posy. This was a charming caravan converted into a retro-50s cafe with a beautiful spread of cakes out front that really went down with will a pint of icy Punk IPA.

As the day wore on the happy, contained and relaxed mood was maintained by both the bands and the exceptionally professional and friendly staff who performed sterlingly in the bitterly cold conditions. And cold it was, if its similar conditions next year remember to bring many, many, many layers. It would have been nice to have had significantly more indoor and outdoor heaters provided, fingers crossed for next year. Once the third jumper was on under the coat however there was something quite fun about drinking Zeitgeist Black Lager in a freezing, fairy-lit room to the sounds of acoustic folk.

There was a varied crowd in attendance, from ale fans, festival lovers, hipsters and party animals that made for a really interesting and enjoyable mileau.

Under the beautiful setting sun and fug of more than enough great beer I realised that this inaugural festival was already doing a great many thing right; if this is anything to go by next year’s will be even more cracking that this one.

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Brew at the Bog Special: The Spirited Dog

Ale to the King is a big and unashamed fan of Brewdog. These Fraserburgh latter-day pioneers of beer have arrived on the market like a like a bull made of sledgehammers in a china-cabinet. I wouldn’t be afraid to say this company are one of the driving forces that helped reinvent the craft beer scene as fashionable, edgy and sexy.

Its with little surprise the company have rapidly gone from strength to strength since the first time I became aware of them. Unusually it wasn’t in the local off-license or supermarket I saw their wares, but on tele, being drunk in Prince’s Street Gardens by Oz Clarke, James May, James Watt and Martin Dickie on the fantastic Oz and James Drink to Britain (please bring it back!).

Since this relatively early following of them I’ve seen their range grow in size yet impressively maintain its quality, their stock appear in more and more establishments, to opening their own bars all over the British isles. And yet somehow, they still maintain their spirit of small, feisty, rebelliousness.

So their next move comes as something unexpected. In these financially hard times putting their names behind a brand new festival may seem foolhardy, especially on something which is traditionally quite costly for something that often lasts only a day or two; without doubt the biggest events like Download and Glastonbury, with ticket prices over £200, will be feeling the pinch at the moment. Had Brew at the Bog been a shambling mess or worse, an unattended failure, Brewdog’s name would have gone down with it. The heavy branding no doubt adds an instant recognition, but with that comes a risk. As it turns out, it was a wise move. The organisers clearly knew what they were doing.

But then, come to think of it, that’s a characteristically Brewdog thing to do.

Its this kind of spirit that embodies the craft beer scene at the moment; defiant, revering innovation and bravery over reserve and safety, self-assured and with plenty of cochonnes. Craft beer is a link to our shared British history; one we should all be proud of as a symbol of determination and innovation, and its this determination and innovation which it needs to grow, like Brewdog, from strength to strength.

Review: Winter Ale – Aledvent Calendbeer 8

Beer: Winter Ale
Brewery: The Brooklyn  Brewery
Type: Scottish ale
Served: Bottled
Alc: 6.1% Vol
Aledvent Calendbeer Number:

No need for explanations as to why this brew was chosen; with a name like Winter Ale Ale to the King and The Brooklyn Brewery are on solid festive ground. Its also got a nice link back to here, Scotland, in that its brewed with marris otter malts.

The colour too is on solid festive ground, its a beautiful shade of dark crimson. I wouldn’t even describe it as brown that’s particularly red. Its easily a red with a lot of brown, not the other way around. The head dissipates quickly, elegantly emphasising this shade.

On the nose you’re first hit by a very fresh, sweet lemon which rapidly and suddenly changes flavour to spent matchwood. Its got a nice lightness to it with plenty of character behind.

Its a hard beer to pin down on the taste. I had to give it a good wash round the mouth to pin anything down. That isn’t to say its muddy like There is No Santa, it would be more correct to call Winter Ale complicated.  Most noticeable on the mid-taste is chestnut, but not roast, more the shell of a raw, uncooked one. Perhaps not quite the Christmassy smell the brewers were going after, but pretty close.

On another good, long taste you get sherbet on the foretaste, right on the tip of the tongue and just faintly the sweetness of a gob-stopper.

There’s also a dominant taste permeating the whole thing of cold, winter rain that brings to mind the wet, shiny tarmac reflecting street lights in December. This is combined with caster sugar which lends almost too much sweetness to the drink.

The after-taste is a bit of a conundrum. Its an an almost rubbery sensation, like when you hit your face on a bouncy castle as a child, but its not an unpleasant one.

And that’s what Winter Ale is, its a puzzle. The flavours are complicated yet not messy and there are sensations in there that shouldn’t be pleasant but somehow are. And I’m puzzled myself. I’m not entirely sure I can recommend this beer as a really good one. A good one, certainly, but really good? It just seems to lack that something special.

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