Made of London 

Here I am in London enjoying one of my favourite beers. 

London Pride is said to be made of London. It tastes a wee bit Scottish to me. The recipe from which it is brewed has varied a bit down the years but it is still recognisably the same superb ale that I first enjoyed an awfully long time ago. 

Having liked it a lot at the Parcel Yard at King’s Cross, one of the finest pubs in England, I also enjoyed it in the wonderful Red Lion at the Westminster end of Whitehall. (Pity about all them stairs up to the toilets.)

But best of all it is in Southwark near my hotel at the White Hart, a genuinely good pub (where there is level access to the toilets).

Some years ago, I visited the Fuller’s brewery at Chiswick where wonderful beer has been brewed beside the River Thames since Queen Victoria was still a young lass. 

London Pride was long a pleasantly pretty  flower in Edinburgh gardens. For this visitor from Edinburgh it is a pleasantly proper pint in London. 

By Allan McLean, a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers. 


Far from the mad crowd 

Illustration shows a gone view during Festivals in Edinburgh, looking out on some of the recent crowds from inside a nice refuge. A pub.

Another I tried another day was a bit quieter. Inside and out. Nothing I would recognise as beer. Crowds went elsewhere of course. 

At least the pictured pub serves proper pints. Of local beer too. Unlike the empty pub that was apparently promoting fizz from Bedford, a town some marketeer had decided was “the soul of beer since 1876”.

In Edinburgh, the city that by and after 1876 was the greatest the world has ever seen for the brewing of beer. 

Allan McLean 

Get on yer drinking boots 

This view is in the Edinburgh Beer Factory at Sighthill in the world’s most important beer city. 

You thought the originator of pop art was an American named Andy Warhol? Actually pop art originated in Scotland with the Leith-born artist Eduardo Paolozzi.

This is recalled in the name of a rather good lager, Paolozzi, from the Edinburgh Beer Factory, where they started brewing less than a couple of years ago.

I may have more to say another day. But meantime: cheers! 

Allan McLean is a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers 

Ales a-plenty 

Scotland offers many more beers than it used to. Even if a lot are of similar strength and style. 

When I was a lad, in a Scottish pub you ordered heavy or light, or maybe export. Then there was “special”, which was too often less than ordinary. 

In that era Edinburgh brews tended to dominate the Scottish ale scene. And lager tended to be from Glasgow or Alloa. 

We remembered East Lothian sometimes too. 

I am reminded of that last point thanks to the latest “Raise Your Glass! ” exhibition. There have been two in Edinburgh and one in Alloa. Now there is one in Musselburgh. 

It offers many aspects that the others did not show. That makes it worth a visit even if you saw a previous exhibition. 

The new one features the story of brewing in Musselburgh and Fisherrow between 1697 and 1971. The show is open free of charge in Musselburgh Museum along the High Street between 10.30am and 4pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 3 June.

Then bring tae me a pint

This picture might have been almost any glass that had just held a pint of ale. Clearly a good one to judge by the remaining froth that we used to call “Brussels lace” in Yorkshire long ago. 

Actually it was one of the many new brews. A good one. Whether you are Scottish or English or whatever, you might like it. 

It is from the Tryst Brewery, who used to brew elsewhere but not far off. It is a beer redolent of the history and the appreciation of those who once would have sold beef cattle after a long walk along drove roads. Tryst brew some good Falkirk area ale. 

This one is Drovers’ 80/-.

I found it in the Cask &Barrel South Side, an Edinburgh pub to which I will return. 

Allan McLean is a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers