...Time for a long weekend, for sure. Work's been pretty stressful of late, and planning a wedding on top leaves much room for taking a weekend off every once in a while. So, for no real reason other than it seemed like a nice place, we took off to Edinburgh.
It is a nice place, with a new and old town - each offering a very different view of Edinburgh's rich history. Obviously, amongst all this sight-seeing and (as always) shopping, comes a few chances for that refreshing pint along the way. Firstly we lit upon The Abbotsford, situated in the heart of the New Town. Busy enough on a Friday lunchtime, the staff were friendly and the beer in good condition. We sat at the bar and ordered up a pint of Brewdog's 77 Lager. I'd never had this before, but a lager, or pilsner it ain't. Maybe the bottled version is. What it is, is a light copper-coloured, unremittingly dry (thanks to that Amarillo),bitter Pale Ale, with slight honeyed malt coming through on the body. I liked it, but am not sure if I could have managed another one - it was a 'big' beer indeed.
Later on, we ate in The Mussel Inn, a busy seafood restaurant not far from The Abbotsford. Busy & vibrant, this place is definitely one to go to again. The food was excellent value for money (half a kilo of mussels with fries for under a tenner) and the service snappy and friendly. An improved extraction system in the kitchen wouldn't go amiss, though...
We spent the next day largely sightseeing, but with Leeds playing Charlton, we both (honestly, Louise is as mad about Leeds United as I am) needed to find 'A bar with Sky Sports on, but not filled with twats' for lunch - which luckily we did in The Albanach, on The Royal Mile. Belhaven 80 Shilling and Best provided smooth, fruity and completely easy drinking post-lunch accompaniment (the game was a draw, if anyone cares).
Later on, post-supper, we managed to squeeze into the Cafe Royal. Although Deuchars IPA is ubiquitous up here, it was nice to see most (men, anyway) people in here drinking Ale, rather than Tennent's. My pint of Kelburn Carte Blanche hit the spot - again, pale and fruity, but with a slowly appearing bitter hit at the end of the sip. I wonder how many people were drinking this, rather than Deuchars. Red Smiddy was also on, but not tried. Cafe Royal is worth checking out, although I'd like to go back when a little quieter - the decor is wonderful.
Finally, worth a mention is Royal Mile Whiskies - great staff, and enough Whisky to satisfy every taste - as well as a decent range of scottish ales (McWilliams, Brewdog, Orkney, Fyne). Thanks for the advice, guys.
Things I learned in Edinburgh: 1. Deuchars do loads of beers - not only IPA and 80 Shilling. Seasonals range from Blueberry infused creations to IPA's with US hops. Didn't see any of them, though. 2. There are a lot of Americans. 3. Despite bars and pubs having hundreds of Whiskies available, people still drink Bells and Jack Daniels. Sigh. 4. Next time I must leave enough time to visit the Bow Bar.