Stewart Brewing, Embra
From the moment Steve Stewart got a homebrew kit for his 16th birthday things were set in motion that could realistically only result in him launching his own brewery. After getting this gift, a triumph of progressive parenting, he went on to study at the nearby Heriot-Watt University on their esteemed Brewing and Distilling degree programme.
After a short spell as a postgraduate in Glasgow Steve quickly found gainful employment with Bass Brewery. Over the next seven years he would learn the day to day practicalities of commercial brewing alongside other aspects of the business as he helped to re-launch Caffreys in the UK.
Towards the end of his time with Bass Steve worked with the Harpoon Brewery in Boston (that’s Massachusetts not Lincolnshire). What a time and place to find yourself as a brewer and beer lover. It seems that this really turned Steve on to the emerging craft beer scene on the other side of the pond and he wanted to bring this back home. To Edinburgh.
After watching his brother fight cancer, Steve and his wife Jo were even more determined to do their own thing. And in 2004 Stewart Brewing was launched.
It would be easy to say that the rest is history but the truth is that it was a lot of hard graft. For a while Steve was the only full time employee, both making and selling the beer. But hard work tends to pay off eventually.
Stewart Brewing is now 22 full-time staff, still independent and ‘very Edinburgh’ with a recently opened Growler Shop by the water in Leith. There is also an experimental brew-it-yourself Craft Beer Kitchen which has been going from strength to strength since its inception in 2012.
The core range of beers now includes the likes of Edinburgh Gold (featured back in September 2014), a decidedly Scottish 80/- (pronounced 80 shilling) and this week’s beer.
Embra is an accomplished amber ale that has previously been awarded Scotland’s Best Bottled Beer. We’re big fans of amber ales here at BeerBods (especially Gordon) and this is no exception. True to style is a beer which is a pale ale at heart, only one with enough malt to show off the dominant hops and where the end result isn’t overly bitter. In this case it’s the Chinook hop which adds the bitterness and hints of pine needles.
At 5% abv it’s rather drinkable so we’ll apologise in advance that we could only squeeze the one bottle in your box. Serve lightly chilled with a piece of rich fruit cake and some crumbly cheese as a snack.