Q: Why the name Edinburgh Beer Factory?
Ben: We take our inspiration from Eduardo Paolozzi, who was fascinated by industry and industrial machinery. He would repurpose old pieces of machines and fashion them into works of art. We wanted to capture the idea of art meeting science, which is the essence of a brewery.
Q: How long have you/the brewery been making beer for?
A: We are just over three years old.
Q: What got you into brewing?
Martin: I studied Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University which is a course that lends itself quite handily to brewing. I wanted to work in an industry where I could get passionate about what I was making and who doesn’t get passionate about beer? I started off joining AB InBev as a Graduate Trainee where I learned the ins and outs of brewing however made the move to the craft world soon after as this is where the innovation and creative side of brewing happens. It’s this exciting and fast paced atmosphere within the craft beer community which gets me out of bed. I joined Edinburgh Beer Factory in September 2016 and have had a blast being part of a brewery that keeps winning awards and has grown massively in volume and product range since I joined.
Q: When you’re not brewing what are your hobbies?
Martin: Anything on two wheels. I love motorbiking on Big Val, my Kawasaki Versys. I have ridden all over the UK in the last year including several camping trips as well as completing the North Coast 500, finishing on the Isle of Islay and having a pint of Paolozzi in the Machrie Hotel – our most westerly customer in the UK. Who knows what this year will hold? Either Europe or a return the Isle of Man for the TT.
I also love pedal powered action on two wheels, mainly mountain biking however I have a road bike too for training and getting around Edinburgh. I’ve pedalled the mountain bike all over the UK from the summit of Mount Snowdon to the World Cup trails at Fort William. I’m looking forward to a week in Morzine with friends in the summer where we’ll be taking advantage of the chairlifts to get as much downhill action as possible.
Q: What’s your favourite style of beer?
Martin: My favourite style is an American or Belgian Wit Beer. I love the light and interesting flavours that many brewers use in these styles from herb to fruit additions that make for an easy drinking, refreshing beer. The best I have tasted so far was Mana Wheat by Maui Brewing Co. Brewed with pineapples it is a smooth, almost sweet, and moreish treat. I have only found it in one outlet in the UK, which was in London, so if you hear of any more UK stockists give me a shout. When I contacted Maui Brewing Co., they weren’t aware they were available in the UK so it is an elusive one!
Q: If you could only have one of your brews for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? (I know it’s like picking a favourite child!)
Martin: Untitled IPA. It’s my youngest child but it’s a prodigy. Brewed with the latest hops to come out of Eastern Europe, it still packs that massive hop aroma hit but with new interesting flavours that are not quite prevalent in the IPA world yet. Styrian Wolf hops give a thick, chewy blackcurrant flavour which makes for a great tasting and interesting IPA.
Q: You are in a supermarket, in the Beer aisle of course, what would you buy? (your wonderful beer isn’t on sale unfortunately!)
Martin: I find myself in this aisle every time I visit the supermarket. I love seeing that craft beer is now able to get into the hands of those who otherwise would never have tried it so it’s always great to see who is making an appearance. Both London Beer Factory and Vocation Brewery are making some fantastic beers that are available nationwide in supermarkets and my favourite supermarket beer is toss up between LBF’s Hazy Daze IPA and Vocation’s Pride and Joy IPA. I’m looking forward to their first Wit Beer.
Q: What new flavour combination would you love to try/what new hops would you like to work with?
Martin: Our latest project at EBF was our Untitled IPA which looked at using new varieties of hops coming out of Eastern Europe which could deliver the kind of punchy flavours associated with New World hops from the US whilst also being different. There are lots of cool things going on in Slovenia and Germany right now with some weird and wonderful hop varieties hitting the scene.
Aside from hops, we’ll be experimenting with herbal bittering methods. In days of old, before hops were used in beer, people were using different herbs such as bog myrtle and meadowsweet to flavour their beer. We have always looked at creating beer styles that are more interesting than the norm and striking a balance between herbal and hop flavours can create a cracking beer. Our early experiments with this idea led to the creation of Z.E.E.P – our lemon and rosemary pale ale. Watch this space.
Q: What brewery you would like to collaborate with and why?
Ben: We are currently collaborating with London Beer Factory, one of our Brewers has gone down to London to brew a restyle of a London classic and LBF are sending a brewer north of the border to brew a Scottish twist on a classic ale (the exact details I can’t yet disclose unfortunately). I’m excited to taste the results, the water compositions are quite disparate (comparing London and Edinburgh) so it could be a surprising experience for both Brewers.
Q: Has Edinburgh Beer Factory won any awards?
A: Here are a couple of awards we wouldn’t mind bragging about!
- Paolozzi (Filtered) has won the best Helles Style Lager in the UK in 2016, 2017 and 2018 (World Beer Awards) – three years in a row!
- Edinburgh Beer Factory was awarded the UK’s Best Brewery in 2018 (World Beer Awards)
- We have also won Breakthrough Brewery of the year and Beer Destination of the Year (both Scottish Beer Awards)
Here is their sign off from the email – that’s an awesome looking award list!
Q: Any mishaps at Edinburgh Beer Factory?
A: “Italian Situation”
As for funny stories, the thing that springs to mind would be that our bottling line was imported from Italy, but all the instructions were in Italian! This led to no end of teething problems and Brewers questioning whether they should take evening classes. Because of this, the first 4000 bottles were labelled by hand.
Thanks to Ben and Martin from Edinburgh Beer Factory for taking part! To find out more about one of Scotland’s most exciting breweries check out the following;
- EBF have a Shop and a Taproom in the Brewery that is Open Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat 11am – 5pm (til 9pm on Fridays) and that Brewery Tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays!