Firstly, let me hold my hands up.. I’ll be honest, the idea of going to a craft ale bar doesn’t usually fill me with excitement. Give me a glass of good wine – red, white, rosé – or a Caorunn gin and tonic, and I’m your girl. But beer? Oh, no. It just isn’t for me. Or so I thought..
Having toyed with drinking a bottle of Innis & Gunn at the last Scot Street Style Gathering, I was pushed into the deep end recently at The Beer Kitchen; the brand’s newly launched bar, and one we mentioned in a previous food and drink run-down post. A large airy venue on Lothian Road without any hint of its slightly infamous past in sight, Innis & Gunn have transformed it into a hub for all craft ale enthusiasts to congregate on a weekend or evening.
Sinking into a comfy booth by the bar, it was time to peruse the drinks menu with a bit of weariness.. what do I drink?! It was like walking into a foreign land for me. I decided to do what any good tourist does in this situation: leave it up to the locals. After all, I’d be their ultimate test.. After a few quick questions on my preferences (me, all the while, with a look of confusion on my face), my barman pointed me in the direction of the White Oak Wheat Beer with a complimentary sample while I made my decision. A lighter more refreshing ale with less of that beer taste that I normally turn my nose up at, I was surprised to be sold on first sip. My friend Hannah, more of a beer lover than me, was happy to go with a darker ale. And yep – I was amazed to find I finished my drink. And enjoyed it!
A lighter more refreshing ale with less of that beer taste that I normally turn my nose up at, I was surprised to be sold on first sip.
Other than the drinks, there’s lots of good ol’ pub grub with a twist to keep you fed. I wish I could tell you I managed to sample all of the tasters, but a pre-event pizza put paid to this.. what was I thinking? The one 8 oz Scottish beef burger I tried was a good ol’ meaty feast, however, so I’ll certainly be coming back to have a good go with the menu (specifically the Innis & Gunn Original pulled and rolled pork belly with black pudding & apple rosti with wholegrain mustard sauce..) in future.
Overall, The Beer Kitchen is just the type of hang-out to take your beer loving friends on a casual night in the city. There’s no pretence about this bar – you can really feel the passion for each ale from the staff, without the usual patronising hipster air muddying the experience.
Beer still not for you? Don’t worry – a pint of ice cold Thistly Cross Cider is within your reach, as well as a range of wines for the beer-phobic. Even better, a range of beer cocktails will open your mind to all those beer possibilities.. I’m fancying the look of a Gin cocktail, with Pickerings gin, pink grapefruit, Earl Grey tea and White Oak Wheat Beer. See the full menu here.
The Beer Kitchen
81 – 83 Lothian Rd