Ever since we first came up with the idea of opening a coffee shop, before Brew Lab was even thought of, we've wanted to create a space that opened in the evening and offered a place between a coffee shop and a bar. Over the last four years, what has become very clear is that people love spending time in Brew Lab. That has finally given us the confidence to extend the experience into the evening.
This week, after much delaying, we're launching a new and exciting side to Brew Lab; one that takes the same meticulous approach we give to coffee, and applies it to the sort of things we love to drink when we're not working here - beer, wine and cocktails.
From Thursday we'll be open until 9pm, 5 days a week (Wed-Sun). We'll have a new menu offering two outstanding beers, two 'real' wines, two seasonal cocktails as well as a simple food menu of locally sourced cheese and cured meats. And, of course, we'll continue to serve the speciality coffee that we have become known for.
We sure love beer, almost as much as we love coffee. In the last few years the Scottish (and wider UK) beer scene has exploded, just like the speciality coffee scene. We feel that there are a lot of parallels between the two. We've installed beer taps at the end of the bar, and we'll be serving two different beers that will change frequently. We won't be aiming to please every type of beer drinker - we'll just be looking to showcase the amazing beers we love to drink. I suppose you could call what we'll be serving 'craft beer', but that goes without saying really.
To start, we've partnered up with Edinburgh's Pilot Beer - a small brewery based in Leith who brew unfined (that's code for 'is occasionally a bit hazy' but also code for 'very tasty and totally vegan') beer that is really very good.
Wine has always been a passion of one of our co-founders, Tom. After working in the trade for Majestic, Valvonna & Crolla and Harvey Nics, he got distracted by coffee and opened Brew Lab. We've always wanted to put that passion to good use though, so now we're bringing wine into Brew Lab.
We'll be working with Henri of Edinburgh who import some very exciting organic, biodynamic and 'real' or 'natural' wines from France and wider afield. We'll have two wines on which will change regularly - sometimes a white and a red, sometimes two whites (and occasionally maybe an orange or rose) - but our menu will be dictated by the season and whatever we feel is awesome at the time.
We spent a lot of last year travelling around beer and coffee festivals to promote our cold brew coffee. We realised that cold brew was such a versatile mixing ingredient, and teamed up with Arbikie Highland Estate to create some innovative cocktails using our cold brew and their spirits. Arbikie Highland Estate is first a foremost a potato farm, but they use some of their potatoes (that are too ugly for the supermarkets!) to distill one of the few potato vodkas available in the UK. It's an outstanding vodka - creamy and sweet and makes for a superior coffee martini when paired with our cold brew. They also turn their potato base spirit into a gin using botanicals from around the area of the East Coast they are based, including juniper from their very own orchard.
We'll be serving an evolving range of cocktails using Arbikie's spirits, our cold brew, and a range of home made syrups, cold extractions and bitters.
We get very excited about non-alcoholic drinks too. Last summer we discovered Left Field Kombucha at the Assembly Food Festival and were really impressed with their fermented tea soda. We'll also have a changing menu of drinks from the likes of Edinburgh's Root Soda, Kitsch and Bon Accord.
We'll be keeping our evening food menu simple and high quality, just like our existing brunch and lunch menus. We've teamed up with Edinburgh's Mellis Cheese and East Coast Cured to offer some tasty cheese and cured meat boards, as well as offering some alternatives for those who aren't as carnivorous.
Let us know what you think, and we look forward to seeing you from Thursday 20th April.