Cold Town House microbrewery tour: Here's what to expect from Edinburgh venue's eye-opening new guest experience

As one of the newer watering holes in Edinburgh's Old Town, Cold Town House has developed a strong reputation as one of its most popular venues.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 4:50 pm

The Grassmarket establishment has welcomed back scores of eaters and drinkers on a daily basis since reopening post-lockdown – with customers quick to book in for its craft beers and lap up the sunshine on the renowned rooftop terrace.

Pouring everything from pilsners and pale ales to ciders and cocktails, while serving up a range of mouth-watering pizzas and burgers, the bar’s offerings have made it a must-visit destination.

What’s perhaps lesser-known, for now, is visitors are for the first time being given a chance to see behind the scenes and understand how the city centre microbrewery operates.

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Edinburgh's Cold Town House is now offering guided group tours of its in-house microbrewery, which feature a four-sample tasting session. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

Cold Town House launched its guided group tours this summer so the public could discover how its beers are made, understand the historical significance of brewing in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket and follow the eye-opening process from tank to tap.

As a beer drinker, the chance to experience the tour for myself was special enough, however, the crisp pint of Cold Town Lager I was presented with on arrival set the tone for a highly memorable visit.

Tour guide and self-confessed “beer geek” Luke Bryant – one of two on-site brewers – warmly welcomed our group into the microbrewery’s presentation room which instantly grabs your attention, owing to the section of Edinburgh Castle wall that stylishly juts out behind Cold Town signage.

Luke’s seemingly endless knowledge on all things beer, lager and IPA proved infectious.

Cold Town House brewer Luke Bryant also leads the microbrewery visitor experience. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

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While he could’ve spoken about his passion for weeks on end, what stood out was the time Luke dedicated to taking questions and giving those on the tour a chance to try what Cold Town offers.

This began with a sniff – and taste, if you were so inclined – test of the various hops used in its brewing process.

Surrounded by decorative grown hops, and in view of the tanks which contain the much sought-after produce, the next stage saw our host emerge with tasting samples (four tasters-per-person).

The microbrewery tours at Cold Town House in Edinburgh's Grassmarket include the offer of a stone-baked pizza. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

Included in the quartet was a Pornstar Martini Ale which was a firm favourite.

While you maybe wouldn’t expect to taste passion fruit in a pint, this new combination is a surefire winner and already one of Cold Town's best-sellers.

The microbrewery knows that not all of its creations will be a hit, though.

That’s why having a range which does its best to cater to the tastes of beer and non-beer drinkers alike is at the heart of everything Cold Town does.

In June, the venue teamed up with LGBT+ rights charity Stonewall to launch a new limited edition Proud as Helles lager as part of Pride Month.

Cold Town Beer was originally released in 2018 on draught.

Since then, it’s brewed 20 different beers, including IPAs, saison and sour beers – all of which have different optimal serving temperatures, which our host has impressively committed to memory.

All good things do come to an end, though, and our microbrewery experience finished with an insightful look inside the tanks that churn out the beer which has become so revered.

Cold Town House’s tours run every second Thursday from 5.30pm and every second Saturday from 1pm, costing £30-per-adult.

To book, email [email protected].

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