Edinburgh Factory

Unit 15 Bankhead Industrial Estate


History: While working as former the chief executive of Tennent’s owner C&C Group and more recently as the big boss at Scottish & Newcastle, John Dunsmore always had a dream of starting his own brand of beer right here in Scotland. In late 2015 his dream was made a reality when The Edinburgh Beer Factory started brewing for the first time. This is not a quaint location or a picturesque brewery. When designing it they wanted to celebrate the industrial process of making beer by showing off the mash tun, kettle, tanks and bottling line. They wanted total transparency for any visitors to see exactly how the beer is made. They describe the industrial warehouse space located in Bankhead just outside Edinburgh as “a stainless steel totem to modernity”. The company is also owned by him and his daughter, with the name for the venue inspired by two of John’s idols – Andy Warhol, whose New York studio was called The Factory, and Tony Wilson, the late founder of Manchester’s famous Factory Records.

The beer: They apparently use a historic brewing method here based on a Munich style but with “Italian brewing technology”. I don't really know what that means but it sounds very cool. The main beer to come out of the factory is a craft lager named Paolozzi after Eduardo Paolozzi, the Leith-born printmaker and sculptor credited as a founding figure of the Pop Art movement. Its bottles show designs from the famous man as well, and a donation from each bottle sold goes to the Paolozzi Foundation, which was set up after he passed away.

Favourite beer: At the 2017 World Beer Awards The Edinburgh Beer Factory saw great success with its “BUNK!” range of innovative beers. The Edinburgh Brown from the range was awarded the title of World’s Best American Brown Ale. If you are looking for something a bit different then their latest edition, Cherry Saison, may be for you. They have jazzed up the traditional Belgian style with whole cherries, adding a hint of tartness and sweetness to a dry, warming base.

Why visit? On a good day this pace is only 15 minutes' drive from the city centre. The tour is great with no strict structure like other tours I have been on, they actively want you to explore and ask questions so that you get the most out of it. For £15 you get two half pints of Paolozzi, as well as a tutored tasting from an actual brewer of the unfiltered version direct from the tanks. You can even sit down afterwards in their Taproom bar and watch the beer being made. Their brewery shop is also open to the public from Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm and on Saturdays 10am to 4pm.

Interesting fact: The award-winning Edinburgh Brown Ale is described as a "brewing collage" in true Paolozzi style: unpasteurised and unfiltered, it combines the sweet UK Brown Ale style – dosed with two American hop varieties (Centennial and Chinook to be exact) to up the juicy bitterness – with Edinburgh Ale yeast conveying a silky texture to the brew.

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