They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
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"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor


Stewart Edinburgh No 3 Scotch Ale

. A shorter version appeared on facebook January 2009.

ABV: 4.3%
Origin: Loanhead, Midlothian, Scotland

Edinburgh No 3 Premium

I was recently enthusing to a Scottish friend and fellow beer enthusiast about the recent improvements in the Scottish brewing scene, to a somewhat arch and cynical response. “Aye, there are more brewers, it’s true,” my friend commented. “But they’re all brewing English beer.” Now, this is a bit of a negative way of looking at things — some Scottish brewers are innovating with new styles that could hardly be termed English, or indeed can be easily attributed to any specific country, while others are happy to trade on the Scotch whisky connection when indulging the newly discovered fashion for ageing beers in spirit casks. But it’s true that there doesn’t appear to be any great enthusiasm north of the border for reviving historic Scottish styles. Personally I find this rather disappointing, as I still retain a soft spot for the distinctive maltiness and biscuity quality peculiar to a pint of ‘heavy’ which goes back to regular visits to Glasgow in the 1980s, when it was only available chilled on keg, and preferably enjoyed in a pub open in the afternoon — back then, a novelty to anyone living in England.

I was delighted, then, to encounter this lovely brew on cask at the Guildford Arms in Edinburgh, which tastes as close to a real ale version of those industrial heavies as you could hope for. Former Bass brewer Steve Stewart set up the brewery with his partner Jo in 2004 and is making something of a virtue of brewing unmistakeably Scottish beers. This one is a robust chestnut colour, enriched with black and chocolate malts, with a foamy creamy coffee head. A malty gooseberry tart and autumn fruit aroma heralds a creamy, malty palate with chaffy cereal, nuts and ripe autumn fruit. The finish is tangy and lightly drying with plummy fruit notes lingering over more creamy malt. Well worth lingering over of an afternoon.

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