Myself and a few other bloggers were recently given a tour around Stewart Brewing’s brewery at Bilston Glen Industrial Estate in Loanhead just south of Edinburgh. But it’s not just any brewery…
For they have a “Craft Beer Kitchen” which was the first of its kind in the UK, basically a brew-it-yourself beer kit but with all the ingredients and knowledge to create 40 litres of bottled beer for £185 or, you can super-size to 80 litres split between bottle and cask for £200 or go all bottled at 80 litres for £240. This could be the perfect Christmas present for that special beer lover, or lovers in your life as up to 4 people can take part in your brew session, it takes 2 to 3 hours and you can create a beer from 50 different recipes covering most beer styles. Your beer will then be ready for taking home 3 weeks later (or 8 for lager).
And when you do get to that stage it’ll be bottled in proper amber bottles to prevent bright light from ruining your brew and bespoke personalised bottle labels. And really there are no limits – you can see what people have previously brewed on the shelves and look what I found (not so sure I’d want to try this one to be honest)!
They also have a growler tap room, where you can fill your growler (re-usable bottle) with any beer from a selection of 18, including some of the Craft Beer Kitchen recipes – they were actually all really good, and there were a couple of unfiltered versions of the core Stewart range and thus vegan-free as most of their beers use isinglass as a fining agent. Sadly the unfiltered beers are not available in the shops (yet?!).
For winter they’ve also launched two new beers – Weiss Christmas Noire and Weiss Christmas Blanc, I got to try the latter at 4.7% with 28 IBUs. Described as a wheat beer spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, orange peel & lemon peel, I’d say that it was more akin to a sour wild yeast beer. Cloudy and pale-looking like apple juice, it had a had a thin head and mulled apple aroma so yeah it had an element of mulled spices and was quite light compared to other xmas beers I’ve had. Both these beers retail for £3.
And they sell bottles for taking away and I couldn’t resist bringing a choice selection of 8 home with me (which included a Natural Selection brew). The artwork on some of the new bottles is immense. Calum Carr is responsible for a number of these, including my favourite for Edinburgh Gold Reserve, it’s a bit like Godzilla meets Where’s Wally on acid in Edinburgh!
If you’re looking for something more “gifty” they have 3 different packs: The Traditionalist (£8.50) with beer from the core range – golden ale, pale ale and a stout, The Explorer (£8.50) with hoppier beer including a black IPA, or the Newbie (£13) with four beers from the core range.
They’re currently constructing a beer garden out the front of the brewery for summer and while an industrial estate might not be everyone’s cup of tea…er, beer. It is nearby to Ikea and Asda should you need a post-shopping drink and if you live in Loanhead I’m sure it’ll be the best place to drink for miles!
If you’re not a local and do decide to visit Stewart Brewing you can do so by bus from stop PJ on Princes St, the 37 takes 45 minutes while the X37 takes around 35 but only runs on weekdays. From there it’s only a 5 minute walk away and do look out for the bus with a destination of “Bush”! Tours take place every Thursday and Friday from 7.00pm – 9.30pm and cost £15 or £12 for concessions and of course include beer tastings and snacks. Please book in advance though.
Find out more (and order most things) on their website.
If you fancy winning the chance to brew your own beer at Craft Beer Kitchen (worth £240) then share this year’s Santa Claus video on social media (Twitter, Youtube or Facebook) with the hashtag #CraftBeerSanta by tomorrow 6 December when Santa will pick a winner!