We hear from St Andrews Brewing Co, Tempest and 71 Brewing about what to look for in a good pint and which ale they'd happily drink for the rest of their life
Calling all beer connoisseurs: from 15–17 November, Assembly Roxy will be transformed into a hoppy heaven with over 20 craft breweries from Scotland, the UK and Europe setting up their taps to sate our unending thirst for a cold one. Catering to both the casual drinkers and die-hard beer geeks alike, the Basement Theatres will also be hosting a full programme of workshops, where visitors can learn about everything from discerning tasting notes and planning food pairings, to learning how to make your own brew at home.
Another highlight of the three-day event will be the ReplicAle contest, a tournament of taste that will see master brewers going head-to-head to see who can make the best beer on site using ingredients provided by Bairds Malt, before facing a blind tasting to see whose brews truly hit the spot. All tickets include a specially designed schooner glass and a token towards your first beer, as well as access to the demonstrations and masterclasses.
To prepare ourselves, we went straight to the source and reached out to three craft breweries who are proudly continuing the 5,000 year-old tradition of brewing in Scotland, and asked them to give us the low-down on what makes for good beer.
How did you get into craft brewing? Personally speaking, the rise of the internet and the decline of print media put-pay to a cushy number so I threw my lot in with old friends building a brewery.
What sets your craft beer apart from the rest? St Andrews beers are superbly well balanced, we're also dedicated to sourcing local ingredients whenever possible.
What sets craft beer apart from a 'mainstream' pint? In a word 'flavour'
What do you look for in a good pint? That word again, 'flavour'
If you had to drink one other craft beer that's going to be at the Edinburgh Craft Beer Experience for the rest of your life, which one would it be? On the basis this beer is for life and it's one the few things at the festival I can drink a few pints of without falling over I'll go for the ever-refreshing Tempest's Armadillio Session IPA.
How did you get into craft brewing? I love trying new beers, so upon finishing university I applied for a job in a craft beer bar on a whim. Upon learning more about the industry I developed a deeper interest in craft beer and applied for my current role as Retail Marketing Executive at Tempest Brewing Co.
What sets your craft beer apart from the rest? As a small brewery, every beer we brew is a collaborative effort between every member of our team; from conceptualisation and brewing, to packaging and marketing. We work together to make sure we brew beers that we can all be proud of.
What sets craft beer apart from a 'mainstream' pint? The versatility and attention to detail is what I think sets craft beer apart. I also think that generally there tends to be a story behind each craft beer produced, and that explaining these can create a great sense of community within the industry.
What do you look for in a good pint? Primarily, I think depth of flavour and a well-balanced bitterness.
If you had to drink one other craft beer that's going to be at the Edinburgh Craft Beer Experience for the rest of your life, which one would it be? I tried Stirlinger Weisse by Fallen/Brewdog Stirling as part of Brewdog's Collabfest and loved it! Super refreshing yet tart with lots of tropical fruit notes.
How did you get into craft brewing? We wanted to be able to make our own beer, to a high standard we could enjoy ourselves. Dundee being the last city in the UK without a brewery gave us an easy choice of location as well, especially being from the city.
What sets your craft beer apart from the rest? We like to have a broad range of styles so that any consumer can find a beer from our portfolio that they like.
What sets craft beer apart from a 'mainstream' pint? Our lager, Dundonian Pilsner, is brewed to be authentic to the style while delivering on taste, consistency and appearance so that the same great beer is drunk every time it is poured.
What do you look for in a good pint? We think beer should have an appealing colour, a wonderful aroma which is followed through with a great taste as well as great head retention.
If you had to drink one other craft beer that's going to be at the Edinburgh Craft Beer Experience for the rest of your life, which one would it be? Anything from Tempest, they consistently make great beer!