Congratulations To The Edinburgh Skeptics
A big round of applause, ladies and gents, for mates of The Peartree, the Edinburgh Skeptics.
The Skeptic Magazine sponsored Ockham Award, announced at this year's QEDcon, was given for an outstanding event or campaign over the last year, with the shortlist featuring, amongst others, the very funny Robin Ince and a global (yes, global) atheism conference.
So for Edinburgh Skeptics to win with their "Skeptics On The Fringe" event is an exceptional achievement which we'd like to congratulate them on.
They hold regular events all over the city, including upstairs in The Counting House, and are a very friendly bunch who seem to find some big names to give talks while working on a shoestring budget - if you'd like to get involved all of the relevant details can be found on their website, edinburghskeptics.co.uk/
The Great Edinburgh Beer Experiment
This year the 30 Days of IPA project (which we're sure you've noticed we're a part of) is doing something a little different - a scientific experiment to test one of the oldest beer legends out there, that the months-long voyage from Britain to India actually improved the flavour of India Pale Ale.
The original recipe, around a hundred and fifty years old, had a slightly stronger ABV than most IPAs have these days, and with a lot of hops added at the final stages of brewing, two measures that were designed to preserve the beer for longer than was normal for brews of the time.
It wasn't really to the taste of the time though, which was for sweet, malty ales - some went so far as to call it undrinkable - but by the time the beer had reached India it had mellowed and been transformed into a drink that could fetch high prices and would be served alongside the finest wines.
So to test this three different brewers have produced three different IPAs, two in traditional wooden casks and a third in a modern plastic lined aluminium cask. They have all been brewed to something close to the original recipe, so they should be able to survive our little plan...
One cask of each beer is currently being stored in a modern, climate controlled beer cellar. Three identical casks, meanwhile, are being stored in the hold of a small ship while it sails the Firth of Forth and the surrounding coastal waters for two months, constantly rocking the beer around and replicating some of the conditions it would have experienced in the 19th century.
But the final test is, as they say, in the tasting, which is where you, our (hopefully) ale loving reader come into the equation. We'll be cracking all six casks open on 25th of April in The Counting House, the very apt 18th Century ballroom and function suite above The Peartree. We'll then hold a blind tasting of all six beers to see if we can find any major change in the flavour and aroma.
This is a unique chance to sample some very unique beers which haven't been brewed and conditioned in this manner for nearly two hundred years, and also an opportunity to be involved in a genuinely new piece of public science! Tickets cost £12.50 (£10 for students and CAMRA members), and are available at the bar while stocks last - for your money you get six half pints and a little place in the annals of human knowledge!
Meet The Brewers
To launch this year's 30 Days of IPA project we're very proud to be playing host to a tun* of brewers this Easter Sunday, the 1st of April.
We'll be pouring a selection of live cask ales in the sheltered section at the back of the beer garden (the weather will be lovely we're sure, it's spring after all...) and you'll have a chance to inspect the raw ingredients and chat to the people who create one of the most life-affirming fluids on the planet!
From 2 to 4pm - after that the brewers will be "off duty" but if last year is anything to go by they'll be hanging around until the last cask is dry!
* We've got no idea what the collective noun for brewers is, but "tun" seemed appropriate. If you've got a better idea, suggestions to our twitter account!
St Patrick's Day 2013
It's St Patrick's Day! A day to celebrate all that's great about Ireland, its history, culture and, of course, its long history of brewing and distilling. From Guinness, probably the best known and most loved stout on the planet (actually, the universe, pending any major discoveries), to smooth triple-distilled Irish whiskey, including our drink of the month, Jameson Irish Whiskey. In honour of this auspicious day, here's our favourite facts about St Patrick's Day and all that surrounds it:
1: St Patrick was born somewhere in mainland Britain (some argue for Dumbarton), but as a young man he was captured in a pirate raid and sold as a slave in Ireland.
2: Legend has it that St Patrick banished snakes from Ireland - while the veracity of this is uncertain, it's still the case that no snakes have been native to the island since the last ice age.
3: The title "Saint" is partly honorary - the Catholic Church had no formal canonization process for hundreds of years after St Patrick's death, and he has never been officially declared a saint.
4: Irish whiskey is produced in a very similar way to Scots whisky, the main difference being that Irish whiskey is usually distilled three times as opposed to one or two times in Scotland. If you want to sound like an expert, just mutter something about "the smooth, delicate flavour imparted by the final run through the spirit still" as you sip your Jameson.
5: The shamrock was only adopted as a symbol of Ireland as recently as the 18th century. All Aer Lingus flights use "shamrock" as part of their air-traffic-control callsign.
As our many regulars know, a SNAPfax can save you a fortune on lots of different things, including hefty 25% off all drinks in the Peartree! As with every deal you'll find a few terms and conditions attached - for example, lots of bars don't offer the SNAPfax deal on a Friday evening when they're pretty busy anyway - well the Peartree isn't just any bar, our busy periods are more closely linked to the weather than anything else, so our deal works a little differently.
To avoid disappointment please note that our SNAPfax deal is only valid when the temperature is under 10 degrees centigrade! (That's 50F in old money).
If you take a look at the thermometer over on the right you'll now see a little icon indicating whether our SNAPfax deal is currently running. It updates every hour, and the data is supplied by Edinburgh Airport's weather station. This restriction is at the manager's discretion, so you might find it's still on if it's 28 degrees and hammering down with rain - just ask at the bar.
RBS 6 Nations 2013
It All Kicks Off
We love a bit of rugby, and the Six Nations is a highlight of the year! Join us for each and every game on the big screen and enjoy the best atmosphere outside Murrayfield itself! (In fact, if the wind is in the right direction you can hear the stadium roar from the beer garden.)
We'll also be providing our own take on the tournament in the form of our exclusive rugby blog, Dunny's Odd Shaped Balls, with in-depth analysis and plenty of rugby based banter!
|Sat 2nd Feb||13:30||Wales V Ireland||Millenium|
|Sat 2nd Feb||16:00||England V Scotland||Twickenham|
|Sun 3rd Feb||15:00||Italy V France||Stadio Olimpico|
|Sat 9th Feb||14:30||Scotland V Italy||Murrayfield|
|Sat 9th Feb||17:00||France V Wales||Stade de France|
|Sun 10th Feb||15:00||Ireland V England||Aviva Stadium|
|Sat 23rd Feb||14:30||Italy V Wales||Stadio Olimpico|
|Sat 23rd Feb||17:00||England V France||Twickenham|
|Sun 24th Feb||14:00||Scotland V Ireland||Murrayfield|
|Sat 9th March||14:30||Scotland V Wales||Murrayfield|
|Sat 9th March||17:00||Ireland V France||Aviva Stadium|
|Sun 10th March||15:00||England V Italy||Twickenham|
|Sat 16th March||14:30||Italy V Ireland||Stadio Olimpico|
|Sat 16th March||15:00||Wales V England||Millenium Stadium|
|Sat 16th March||17:00||France V Scotland||Stad de France|
Burns Night - As Authentic As It Gets
Where better to celebrate Burns Night than the same place Burns himself would sit down to supper with his friends in Edinburgh?
Enjoy the original 18th Century splendour of The Counting House, feast on a traditional supper of haggis, neeps and tatties, treat yourself to a wee dram from our extensive single malt whisky collection, and dance the night away!
Welcome to 2013! And with the new year comes a new drink of the month, and quite fittingly it's a new take on some old favourites, traditional ginger beer and Famous Grouse whisky. The Grouse range has been steadily increasing over the years, from Snow Grouse (designed to go over ice) and the subtly finished Naked Grouse to Murrayfield limited editions and the exceedingly rare and pricey Famous Goose.
The latest addition is the aptly named Ginger Grouse, a blend of spicy traditional ginger beer and just a hint of classic Famous Grouse whisky adding a mellow smokiness.
- Grouse are one of the few vertabrates who eat pine needles.
- You'll find The Macallan, The Glenrothes and Highland Park in a bottle of classic Famous Grouse.
- The tail feathers of the Black Grouse are a traditional hat ornament.
- The rare Scottish Capercaillie is a type of grouse.
- The bird you'll find on the bottle is the Red Grouse which feeds mainly on heather.
- Famous Grouse's quirky TV adverts are well known - browse some of the classic ads here.
2013 in The Peartree
The Christmas decor is coming down, the tree (Christmas, not Pear) is being logged to give us a weeks carbon-free fuel for the fire (and a very nice pine smell) and the hangovers are receding a little (for the inventor of the Bloody Mary, we give thanks).
So 2012 is done and dusted, and apart from a notable absence of Mayan apocalypses it was a fun year - but 2013 is going to be even better.
The days are already getting longer, and the summer looms believe it or not. We traditionally have a little hot spell in early March when the beer garden starts filling up, and that's only seven weekends away! Then there's graduation season which lets us meet the parents of lots of our favourite regulars from the last four years (no humiliating stories in front of them, we promise!) and as soon as that's done we're into the sunny weather!
We're also hoping to have some very exciting news for you later in the year, but it's all very hush-hush so we can't give you any more information just now...
Hogmanay Party Detail!
Join us for a hell of a Hogmanay party split between three venues, The Peartree, The Blind Poet and The Counting House. We'll have music from some of the biggest local bands playing, with the bouncy and energetic Victorian Trout Conspiracy headlining - these guys have been the big breakthrough act of 2012, playing all over the city and attracting a cult following very quickly indeed, they were a highlight of our Festival lineup and they're returning for New Year and bringing some mates with them.
The bands will be performing upstairs in The Counting House and we'll have live feeds being piped to the sound systems downstairs. Tickets are available through Ticket Scotland (full details here), or if you just fancy a night out then entry to the Peartree and Blind Poet is entirely free, although we do tend to fill up quickly, so it's well worth getting in early.
If you want to get advance notice of events like this (including a chance to buy tickets before we open them up to the general public) just make sure you're signed up to our mailing list.
Coca Cola Designated Drivers
It's that time of year again - the nights have drawn in, there's a definite chill in the air, and festive lights are going up left right and centre, and Christmas parties stalk the streets. It's also traditionally the time of year when the police put a lot of time and money into drink-driving campaigns, and with good reason, the statistics show that people are much more likely to be involved in a drink-driving related accident during December.
So don't chance it - and to encourage responsible partying we're teaming up with Coca Cola to provide free soft drinks to the designated driver with any group. From the 10th of December just buy a Coke at the bar, tell the staff that you're a designated driver and the next one is free, courtesy of us and Coca Cola.
And if you're lucky enough to be a passenger? Well, you don't need us to tell you that Coke is one of the most versatile mixers out there do you? They also do a nice line in iconic Christmas adverts!
Wild Turkey American Honey
Wild Turkey American Honey is the new drink this month, and it's a new twist on an old favourite. Wild Turkey 101 has been a staple of the Edinburgh bar scene for years, and any self-respecting bourbon collection will have a bottle of this complex overproof whiskey. It's a fine example of the genre, but if you don't like bourbon it may not be to your taste.
So, as malt whisky branched out into liqueurs like Drambuie and Baileys, Wild Turkey have tweaked their classic recipe into something slightly sweeter - but only slightly. This isn't a sickly sweet liqueur, it's simply a background of honey, vanilla and citrus which mellows the bourbon even further. Over ice it's crisp and refreshing, mixed into a tall drink it becomes a perfect balance for citrus juices, cola or cranberry.
And this being the Scottish winter, well, you've got to try it in a hot chocolate, a shot in your coffee or as the basis for an alternative Hot Toddy.
...and back to "normal"...
Thanks to everyone who joined us for a brilliant Halloween! But that's all over, the clocks have gone back and we're peering over the edge and into the abyss that is an Edinburgh winter.
Don't Panic! There are several reasons to love this time of year:
- Hot Chocolate. On its own or even a shot of Kahlua, Malibu, Creme de Menthe or whatever flavour you like your chocolate with.
- Real fires. There's nothing quite like warming yourself up in front of a roaring fire, and because of some "grandfather rights" in the smokeless rules we're allowed to keep a proper open fire burning all through the winter. Just wait until the remains of the Christmas Tree go on in January, it's a fabulous smell. Bring your own marshmallows.
- The Sky At Night. Even with the light pollution of a city you can still spot Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades and, of course, the Moon while sitting in the garden with a beer. Bring a small pair of binoculars and you can even see some of Jupiter's moons.
- Christmas and Hogmanay. Because everybody loves a party. (More to follow on that front!)
We like Halloween - as you might have guessed from the frankly disturbing new colour scheme (that's what you get when you ask your webmonkey to make it look "hideous" we suppose...).
We'll have the pub all dressed up, we've asked Lady Fergusson (our resident ghost) to put in an appearance, and the staff will be equipped with proton packs for the evening. Just remember not to cross the streams, that would be bad.
Music will be provided by the horrifically good 'Victorian Trout Conspiracy' (scroll down for some video), and their full 14 member line-up at that! Think Ska meets gypsy rock and you're nearly there...
From 9pm we'll also have a magician doing the rounds, baffling, bamboozling and brainbending.
So get your best fancy dress out and head down for a ghoulish night in an 18th Century pub which has seen more than its fair share of spirits (pun well and truly intended).
We'll also be holding a special Halloween Aftermath party on the 1st of November, featuring Ash Pryce and Chimaera Productions presenting a theatrical performance of "Shattered" a 3 piece monologue written by folk with mental health problems with all profits donated to charity.
As you've probably noticed from the rather striking banners this month, Malibu Red is our current drink of the month. Everybody knows Malibu (and if you don't, where have you been?), a smooth and sweet rum with a wonderful coconut flavour and aroma. Well now it's being joined by Malibu Red, which still has the coconut hit, but is enhanced with a fiery, smoky tequila. It's a fantastic drink, mellow and complex with great complementary flavours - try a simply shot over ice and you won't be disappointed, but where this drink really shines is with mixers or as a full-on cocktail.
A Facebook survey has shown that pineapple is a particular favourite (hence the enduring if retro appeal of the Pina Colada), but cranberry, cola and lemonade are also proving popular...as are a huge number of different mixers, this seems to be one of the most versatile drinks out there at the moment!
To explore the official recommendations, take a look at the Malibu Red website, or if you want to get creative just pop into the bar and start mixing it up!
"Stompable, Danceable, Chantable, Shoutable"
Jajderian ("Just a simple girl with an evil plan") runs the J in the Field blog, and recently reviewed Victorian Trout Conspiracy, the bouncy ska-style band which have been making waves in pubs all over Edinburgh, including the Peartree.
Victorian Trout Conspiracy can reduce in size, fitting into the smallest of spaces, like at the end of the Pear Tree's brilliant Pressure Valve Open Mic night, where the troupe is reduced to four or five players, lacking not a drop of that infectious energy, that love of performance, that charm that can only be found coming from under the brim of a nice hat.
Read the full review here→
North American Invasion!
We've always been fans of Americana in the Peartree. American football, hockey, bourbon, Canadian Club, they all hold a special little place in our hearts (or stomachs in the case of the latter two). Edinburgh University North American Society have adopted us as one of their regular haunts over the last few years, a fact that is quite probably related to the fact that we're one of the few bars willing to stay open at silly hours of the morning to allow some Big Screen Superbowl every year.
And now they've officially adopted us, so we're now a home-from-home for around 300 Canadians and another 1,400-ish from the good old US of A. Members get some very special deals at the bar and (as always) we'll be showing the lasest NFL action every Sunday evening.
So whether you're from Canada or the States, or even if you're just a fan of North American culture, take a look at what they have to offer! Their website contains full details of the society, events calendar and much more.
Jeremiah Weed is our current drink of the month, and an interesting beverage it is. There's two versions, the Root Brew and the Sour Mash Brew.
The Root Brew is based on that Mark Twain staple, root beer. For those who haven't tried root beer, it's similar to ginger beer, and like ginger beer it was traditionally slightly alcoholic, but is more commonly sold as a soft drink these days. Jeremiah Weed are taking a stand though, and re-introducing the classic grown-up root beer, and very nice it is too. Root Brew doesn't have quite the same fiery bite as ginger beer, it's more of a mellow hint behind the more traditional botanicals. Nice stuff!
The Sour Mash Brew adds that other Deep South staple, sour mash bourbon, for a ready made all-American classic which we're sure will go down well with our NFL following contingent.
Both come with a special glass - but in a welcome change from oversize flutes and miniature yard glasses, this one is simply a jam jar. Yes, a jam jar. With a handle. Brilliant!
Ideally sip one whilst slowly rafting down the Mississippi wearing a battered straw hat and singing the blues. Also available at the bar.
Victorian Trout Conspiracy on The Kopparberg Stage
We were very proud to host Victorian Trout Conspiracy recently, what can only be described as a Ska/Gypsy/Folk/Rock/Comedy band. They've been making waves all over the city (pun well and truly intended), and we managed to catch some of their set on film.
With the Fringe drawing to a close it seems it's traditional to look back and complain that things aren't as good as they used to be. There are plenty of blogs and news sites bemoaning the increased cost, bloated size and an all-round lack of the edgy, adventurous spirit which the Fringe was founded upon.
It's not been like that for everyone though. Despite the dreich and unpleasant weather we had for much of August, The Peartree has had another record-breaking year, and we put a large chunk of that down to the Free Fringe movement, who we've worked with for the last few years. (And, obviously, our wonderful and hardworking staff, helpful regulars and our Mums.)
Many venues charge a significant amount of money to host a show. To be fair, they often supply a host of services in return, but with potential audiences being more and more careful with their money it's a big gamble to take. If you want to break even, let alone make a profit, you need a sell-out show and a reasonably hefty ticket price.
But we've found that we don't need to charge a fortune. We can supply the venue for free, and simply having an audience there is the payoff. People come to see the shows, and a significant proportion of them stay for a coffee, a pint or a glass of wine, which is where we make our money. The performers can't lose - they don't have to pay out a four-figure sum to present their show, so there's no big gamble. They can even make a profit through donations at the end of the show, the better the show the more they make. And the audience can see a show, enjoy a drink and still have change from a fiver. Everyone's happy! (Especially The Boss).
There are a couple of stand-out successes among the capital's venues, pubs and restaurants. The Peartree House pub, which has run some of the hugely popular Laughing Horse Free Festival events out of its linked venue, The Counting House, has had, according to manager George Fyvie, its "best year yet". He said: "We've had to regularly turn huge queues of people away from The Counting House. I just counted 117 that I turned back from the last show."
And in between these shows punters are sitting in the Peartree courtyard and eating and drinking. Fyvie recalls that "probably for the first few days it was a little slow". Now, however he is "just looking forward to September for a day off".
~ The Herald
The Real Summer Spritz
Scotland has a long historic connection with Italy, from coffee to ice-cream there are Italians behind some of the most famous and best loved Scottish food and drink. Joining these ranks is Aperol, a semi-bitter aperitif. We've been stocking it for a few weeks now and it's been flying, probably because it's such a wonderful summer drink. The main flavour is orange and rhubarb with a slightly bitter hit from the various herbs used in the recipe, followed by a long and smooth floral/citrus finish - it's reminiscent of a mellow Campari.
Bonus time - it's only 11% ABV, so you can add it to sparkling white wine and soda for a crisp and refreshing long drink that won't leave you feeling like you've been in the sun too long! Aperol is, in fact, the original base for the Spritz. Over the years the Spritz (also known as the Spritzer) has been "watered down" into a simple mix of white wine and soda, but if you want to try the original version (and a far superior one in our opinion) then just pop in and ask for an Aperol Spritz - in fact it's proving so popular that groups in the garden have been buying jugfulls of it!
Peartree Named As Top Fringe Bar
Societe Perrier have named The Peartree one of their top places to drink during the Edinburgh Festivals! Their reason, brilliant beer garden aside, was our location smack bang in the middle of one of the busiest areas of the city when it comes to shows. We're two minutes from George Square, Underbelly, The Gilded Balloon, the Spiegeltent and Potterow. The Pleasance and Chambers Street C-Venues are a little further away, a whole four minutes walk. And, of course, between ourselves, the Counting House and the Blind Poet, we're an major venue in our own right.
Better than that, we're one of the Free Edinburgh Festival Fringe venues, so catching a show with us will cost you precisely nothing, leaving a few pounds spare for an extra beer or a flame grilled burger from the beer garden BBQ. See you soon!
Comedy, music & kids shows, throughout August
Once again The Peartree, Blind Poet and Counting House are teaming up with Laughing Horse's Free Edinburgh Festival Fringe to bring you a month full of entirely free shows! With ticket prices for the Fringe now approaching those of the International Arts Festival the free movement has been gathering momentum over the last few years. There is no door charge, tickets are entirely free and you don't even have to buy a drink - just get here early for your favourite show and enjoy! If you're particularly impressed with an act you'll have the opportunity to leave a donation to the performers, but there's no obligation!
For shows in the Peartree, Counting House, Blind Poet and several other Edinburgh bars please see our shiny new Free Fringe website!
Beer Garden Video
We snapped this recently - a time-lapse camera on top of the stage and a sunny day in the garden!