Barney’s Beer, The Royal Dick

Summerhall, Edinburgh

What is it: Andrew Barnett, the owner of Barney’s beers, moved to Edinburgh over 20 years ago to study brewing and distilling at Heriot-Watt University. After passing his degree he went on to work at the iconic Fountainbridge Brewery to learn his trade. In 2010, he decided to go out on his own and took over a microbrewery which was attached to the Falkirk bar, Behind The Wall. His next step was to look for premises in the capital, Andrew filed an application to renovate an old clinic and some stables in the Summerhall complex that was formerly the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School. Previous to this, the site was home to the historic Summerhall Brewery, which was originally founded at Summerhall in 1705 and ran for over 200 years until it was demolished in 1913. Barney’s started brewing at Summerhall in July 2012 in time to supply the venue’s Royal Dick Bar for the festival that year. All Barney's Beer products are now brewed at Summerhall, making it the only micro-brewery in Edinburgh that I know of. (However, I am not sure if the Edinburgh Beer Factory classes itself as a microbrewery.)

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Interesting fact: Barney’s Beer launched just in time for The Summerhall becoming a multi-arts complex and events venue in 2012 and in the UK, only London's Barbican Centre and Birmingham's mac (Midlands Art Centre) are bigger. Formerly home to the veterinary school of the University of Edinburgh, it is now one of the major venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe each year with a programme of about 200 productions.

The location: The brewery is right next to the Royal Dick bar and Pickerings Gin also distil their gin here, so you could find yourself spending quite some time eating and drinking at this venue, which is never a bad thing in my eyes. It is a microbrewery, so don't expect all the bells and whistles you will find at the big shiny brewery, but this place has been built with passion and love and you can really feel it as you go around.

The beers: More than 16 different beers are created here. With it being small, this means you can experiment and constantly come up with new beers all the time. The range varies from pale ales to IPA and everything in-between. There is a real focus to detail here and a passion for creating proper beer.

My favourite: I have quite a few favourites from Barney’s range. If I had to choose then it would probably be the Volcano IPA. It comes in at 5 per cent ABV and is fresh, zingy and really tasty. They also do a Double Volcano IPA, which does what is says on the bottle, giving a intense higher strength version of the Volcano IPA.

Why visit? Over the Edinburgh Fringe festival this year you can visit Barney’s Beer and get a real insight into the operation, be shown the ins and outs of this small operation, and receive a lesson on the history and science of the brewing trade trade, as well as sampling their most popular beers. Tours will run from Thursday to Sunday in the afternoons throughout the festival by the brewer himself. I would recommend booking ahead.

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