The past couple months have been crazy busy! The new flat has been fantastic–the neighborhood is perfect and we recently purchased a grill….not that it’s great grilling weather necessarily, but we’re making it work! My job at the wine shop didn’t work out as I had planned, but a couple weeks ago I put my CV in for a bar tending job at a beer bar called The Hanging Bat, and was hired as both a bar tender and as their head brewer! I’ve done a couple brews so far on the system—an Amber Pale Ale to test the efficiency and most recently a Rye IPA hopped with Pacific Gem and Dr. Rudi—two New Zealand varietals. It’s been a great experience so far and I’m excited to be working to create some fantastic beers (hopefully!) to sell at the bar.
Besides landing a great job at The Hanging Bat, since January my friend Kirsty and I have been working at Barney’s brewery several times a week. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve been learning a ton about all the different aspects of working in a small, 5 barrel microbrewery—from cleaning and filling casks, bottling and labeling, performing yeast cell counts to helping with all the aspects of a full brew day. It’s been great to put the material I’m learning in the classroom into practice.
On a different note, my friend Campbell is an avid coffee drinker and spends a lot of time at a particular coffee shop in Bruntsfield called the Artisan Roast. One of the barista’s and fellow coffee enthusiasts, Connor, asked Campbell if it would be possible to create a drinkable coffee stout—one that pulled out the favorable sweet, toffee like flavors, but left the astringent qualities that are often found in coffee beers. Those conversations led to Carey, Campbell and I designing and brewing a base oatmeal stout that we paired with several types of coffee brews by Conner, and ended with a beer called the Yoga Chef Stout. The result was a smooth, drinkable beer that had hints of orange, toffee and nutty flavors from the coffee that were complemented by the malty richness and full body of the oatmeal stout.
After enjoying a few bottles among ourselves, we decided to enter it into the 2nd Annual IBD Scottish Section Homebrewing Competition, and last weekend we took 1st place in the Specialty Beer category and 2nd overall in the entire competition! As part of our prize Carey, Campbell and I will have the opportunity to brew a full-scale batch of the Yoga Chef Stout at Stewart’s brewery and it will be sold on the market in Edinburgh this summer! Now we just have to figure out how to come up with 20 gallons of cold drip….
As I reflect on my time here, I find it hard to believe I’ve been in Scotland for nearly 7 months. I’ve learned so much from my courses, working and brewing outside of class and from my friends in the program. I’m excited to start working on my Master’s project this summer and anxious to see what comes from this experience when I get back home—but for now, I’m just enjoying every minute of calling Edinburgh my home.