This Edinburgh Festival showcases the best beer around
Edinburgh has wonderful events all year round that cater to just about any taste you could imagine. One event growing in popularity each time its held is Summerhall’s Festive-Ale. Craft beer, real ale and microbrew drinkers have grown exponentially over the past few years. Any self-respecting pub will now boast at least one locally brewed beer. With this in mind, Summerhall is giving the people what they want at their bi-annual Festive-Ale, but what would you expect from a venue with a gin distillery and craft brewery on site!
Edinburgh Festival dedicated to craft beer
Started in 2012, Summerhall’s Festive-Ale is a celebration of food and drink from both Scotland and abroad, featuring local beers and guests brewers from countries including Germany and the USA. Summerhall is a fantastic multi-purpose venue used for many Edinburgh festivals and events throughout the year. It also has an amazing history – no surprise in Edinburgh! One of the first known occupants of the Summerhall site was a family-run brewery first established in the 1710s. Summerhall’s main building and wings to the rear courtyard were purpose built for The University of Edinburgh Veterinary College which was housed there from 1916-2011. It’s affectionately known as the Dick Vet as the school was founded by William Dick in 1823 and moved there from Clyde Street in north Edinburgh.
The well and stone rubble sandstone boundary wall at the northern end of the Small Animal Hospital are all that remains of the old brewery but Summerhall’s brewing heritage continues. It houses its own microbrewer, Andrew Barnett, who makes the famous ‘Barney’s Beer’ – a popular tipple in the city’s bars and pubs including Summerhall’s Royal Dick Bar.
So what is a Festive-Ale?
Basically, all things beery, yeasty and delicious are packed into Summerhall for one ale-filled weekend. The Dissection Room is transformed into a beer hall with breweries including the Summerhall-based Barney’s, Williams Brothers and Top-Out serving up some of their finest beers, with expert advice as a chaser. Tickets to the event come with a few beer tokens to get you started. Beer tokens are worth a £1, with the drinks ranging in price from one to five tokens – depending on your selected tipple. If you haven’t been to a beer festival before or have just started getting interested in craft beer, this Edinburgh festival is certainly a great starting point.
Don’t know your IPA from your American Porter? No idea how much hops you like or how toasted you like your malts? Seriously don’t worry, this Edinburgh festival tries its very best to be as inclusive as possible. All the experts on hand can guide you to through the beers and help you find your favourite. One of the best things about this event is that you can try so many different types of beer that you’ll find one that will be your new favourite tipple in no time at all!
What if I don’t like beer?
Not a massive fan of beer but fancy the Festive-Ale experience? Then you will be absolutely fine because Summerhall-based Pickering’s gin are on hand with some master mixologists making some spectacular (and dangerously easy-to-drink) gin cocktails. This multi-award winning, marvellously mixed gin is hand-crafted at Summerhall Distillery – the first gin distillery to be established in Edinburgh for over 150 years. Don’t like gin? Don’t worry, you’re still covered! The Rum Guys from Solid Liquids make some of the best mojitos you can even image – and if you’re really daring, you can try their rum and cider cocktail!
Brewing with excitement already for the Festive-Ale?
Of course you are! Festive-Ale at Summerhall is definitely a great experience and just one example of the great events that Edinburgh has to offer. Edinburgh is a city that loves to have fun. It doesn’t pigeon-hole culture into art, theatre or music. Beer is an important part of Scottish culture – in fact beer has been made in Scotland for over 5,000 years! So coming to a beer festival is like taking a history class – but much more fun and with better music! There are some top-tips to remember if you decide to come to the Festive-Ale. This is one place where drinking a half-pint at a time is the best decision. Not only are some of the beers very strong, but if you don’t like what you’ve chosen – you don’t want to feel forced into drinking a full pint of something you don’t like! Secondly, it can be quite busy – especially at the nighttime sessions. So, if you’d like a seat or a table, try and get there early. Finally, ask questions. There are lots of knowledgeable people from some of the best breweries in the country which makes it a perfect opportunity to learn!
If you come to Festive-Ale, get the best home from home!
Festive-Ale is bianual, usually running in December and May. So if this fantastic Edinburgh Festival has made it onto your wish list, then Dickins has some great apartments right in the heart of the action that are perfect to make your home from home when you come to the Festive-Ale.
Nestled off the beaten track, this contemporary apartment is lovely and peaceful and just a short walk or bus ride to the bustling city centre. Just minutes from the apartment is South Clerk St where there are some wonderful local shops, quirky boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
Unique and special, this welcoming and wonderfully secluded two bedroom apartment is right in the heart of Edinburgh’s Southside. It has a private south facing walled garden and is brilliantly located with the Meadows moments away.
Located just by the Commonwealth Pool, this modern, two bedroom, two bathroom ground floor apartment with parking is perfect for holidaymakers and those needing a home from home for a few months. Great Festival location too!
Hermits Croft is a quiet cul-de-sac in the Southside/Pleasance area of Edinburgh. Set in a modern development this small but perfectly formed apartment is in a wonderful location to explore our fine city.