Nostalgia: Historic tales on tap

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A NEW microbrewery is looking to bring a more modern image to the world of real ale as it sets up shop in the Capital.

Pilot Beer, set up by ­Heriot-Watt University brewing graduates Patrick Jones and Matt Johnson, will brew its first batch next week from its premises on Jane Street, Leith.

Holyrood Brewery

Holyrood Brewery

They will be just the ­latest chapter in the city’s long ­association with brewing which stretches back more than 200 years.

The Holyrood Brewery, on Holyrood Road, is believed to have been the site of brewing since the 1770s, and the more modern facilities of the 1960s included a large-scale bottling plant and large open casks for fermentation. The brewery was closed in 1984.

Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar is said to have started brewing in 1717 and was at one time the largest and oldest surviving independent brewery in Scotland. Now owned by Greene King, it is still going strong today, creating the ­famous Belhaven Best.

Founded in 1869, the ­Caledonian Brewery in Slateford, one of the Capital’s most famous brewers, was originally the Lorimer and Clark Caledonian Brewery, after its founders George Lorimer and Robert Clark.

In 1856, William McEwan opened the Fountain Brewery in Fountainbridge, which would become the home of the famous 80/- and ­McEwan’s Export. In 1989, brewery workers Harry Traunter, John Smith and Tom Owens were celebrating after the brewery – by then part of Scottish & Newcastle – won a deal to remain independent Scottish company. Sadly the brewery closed in 2004.

Drybrough’s Brewery opened in 1778 in Craigmillar and thrived until 1987, when the brewery closed – and it is now used for housing.