Tea and beer combined in new drink

Our girl Nicola Scrimgeour tests the tea beer. 'Picture: Neil Hanna

Our girl Nicola Scrimgeour tests the tea beer. 'Picture: Neil Hanna

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A special beer infused with tea has been developed by a couple of businesses, combining two of Edinburgh’s favourite tipples in one bottle.

The collaboration between Eteaket and Barney’s Beer could see afternoon tea continuing into the wee small hours, but non-drinkers need not feel left out, as the canny developers have also come up with a beer-flavoured tea.

Sarah Chanter, 28, general manager at Eteaket, said it took months of experimenting to devise the brews.

She said: “We blend a lot of our own teas and we love experimenting with using tea in different ways. We’ve already had a lot of success with tea cocktails and tea mixed with beer just seemed like a logical next step. We approached Barney’s Beer because they seem like a similar company to us, plus I’ve very much enjoyed their beer in the past.”

After a few false starts – including a “weird” chilli Rooibos beer infusion – the project found the perfect mixture.

The Smoky Lapsang Porter and the Breakfast Brew tea are already going down a storm in a teacup, being sold to thirsty punters at Eteaket and top chef Tom Kitchin’s Michelin-starred Stockbridge eatery The Scran and Scallie. It will also be on tap at the upcoming Summerhall Beer Festival, running November 15-17.

Barney’s Beer owner Andrew “Barney” Barnett, 46, who is also organising the beer festival, said: “Porter, which we have mixed in with Lapsang Souchong to make our beer, is a type of stout that is currently seeing a bit of a renaissance in popularity. Back in the 19th century it was what everyone drank.”

Porter is typically black or dark brown, and its strength can range from four to 6.5 per cent.

Mr Barnett said: “Ours is five per cent and it’s already going down very well. There was quite a bit of excitement around its creation and we did some small taste testings with people who know their beer. They described it as ‘interesting’ and ‘esoteric’.”

The project follows on from a number of others taken on by both ventures, including an Eteaket tea made to complement Edinburgh perfumier Penhaligon’s scents, and a Science Festival event which saw Barney’s brew a beer from the first “pure yeast culture”, created in 1883.

‘Smoky finish’

Nicola Scrimgeour takes the tea beer for a taste test.

“I spent a year living in Germany so I’m no stranger to a well-brewed beer, but this one is certainly something different! It has a smooth taste and a smoky finish with the flavour of the Lapsang tea really coming through.

“It’s not overpowering at all, and the flavours complement each other well. I didn’t think tea and beer could mix, but this bottled brew has proved me wrong.”