Fourth time lucky.
On Monday night, I arrived too late at my accommodation to make the walk out to this pub.
On Tuesday night, a massive hailstorm intervened, and I went to the Holyrood 9A instead.
On Wednesday night, I had intended to walk over, but a combination of leaving my daytime activity quite late, and more poor weather meant another abandonment and a trip to the Inn on the Mile instead.
Tonight I was determined to get out here. The lure of 20 taps of ale and smoked meat was just too much to resist. It was only a mile or so from my accommodation, so I set out down Cowgate, through the Grass Market and beyond, reminded of many Rebus novels as I traversed the streets of Edinburgh. A short time later and The Hanging Bat was in sight. You don’t always expect pubs to be rammed on a Thursday night (unless there’s some Europa league match on). Actually, there was one on, but it was not showing here as this is not a football watching pub. Although there was a guy in the corner watching the match on his iPad.
I found a table and a stool, bagged them with judicious use of coat and wooly hat (from Wooly Things) and then headed to the bar to order my dinner and sample a few beverages.
The dinner choice was easy (there’s loads to choose from, but I’d already made my mind up after looking at the menus online). A simple dish of pulled pork, a freshly baked bun and some potato wedges. You can mix and match lots of different smoked meats and side dishes, but I was just keeping things classic tonight.
The beer choice was much harder, but only because there is so much to choose from. Six ales on cask and fourteen on keg. And I lost count of how many bottles there were in the fridge (including plenty of good ciders, no Magners nonsense here).
Luckily, there’s a very simple way to make your life easier. You can order a “flight”, something that you may have seen around a bit nowadays. In The Hanging Bat, the flight consists of five 1/3 pints. But they don’t pour them all at once so that they start to get warm or lose any carbonation. You request your flight, choose your first beer and then get four tokens (appropriately enough, bottle tops) to order your next drinks. There’s nothing stopping you from ordering them all there and then, but you don’t have to, so you can enjoy your first one and then plot your next move on the board, just like chess.
You could even start talking with your fellow drinkers and get a recommendation of something that you wouldn’t have chosen. There is also free wifi in here, so you can look beers up on Untappd and see what your friends or just random other drinkers have said about them. My journey began with Almasty passion fruit ice cream pale ale, a fruity pale ale which didn’t taste of ice cream but of fruity and hoppy goodness. A lovely start.
Shortly afterwards my food arrived so I popped back to the bar to pick up another couple of drinks, a Tempest Red Eye Flight mocha porter (delicious coffee and chocolate flavours) :-
and a Luckie Ales Yellae Lintae bitter, which was a standard ale:-
Both were enjoyed whilst tucking in to the wonderful and juicy pulled pork, some of the best I’ve ever had.
To finish off a lovely evening, a few more drinks, an Almasty/London brewing collaboration called Camillo (a negroni ale), a Swannay Muckle IPA and a Spring and Summer Mosaic session IPA.
This is a perfect pub for a beer adventurer like me. Trying new beers is a favourite thing of mine, and to do that in a nice environment, with some good food to accompany, is just perfect.
One final note – the toilets. Not something I want to spend a lot of time talking about on a food and drink blog, but they are worthy of a small footnote. To make the urinals in the gents, they have essentially cut diagonally through a metal beer cask to produce a very inventive piece of toilet equipment. The sinks are similarly inventive.
100% MOFAD approved, of course, and it’s pretty certain that this will be April’s pub of the month because it was so great.