Trams: Haymarket pub launches commemorative beer

Graham Blaikie with the bar's new beer. Picture: Toby Wiliams
Graham Blaikie with the bar's new beer. Picture: Toby Wiliams
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A CITY pub hit by the ongoing disruption from the tram works has released its own branded beer to commemorate the project.

The Mercat Bar and Restaurant on West Maitland Street – one of the roads worst affected by the ongoing construction work – has launched the IPA with the help of West Lothian microbrewery Alchemy.

Bottles of the brew, named Cairnpapple, will feature a tongue in cheek reference to the years of disruption which has seen passing trade drop off.

Graham Blaikie, 36, who has owned the Mercat Bar for eight years, said: “I was getting all excited that the trams would be coming to an end.

“Originally, our plan was to have this specially bottled IPA to commemorate and celebrate the tram works being complete by August 1. I thought for something quirky we should do something to celebrate the end of the tram works, but then I found out they might still be going for another three months or so and I just wanted to drown my ­sorrows!”

Described as “lovely and refreshing”, the IPA was name by Alchemy head brewer James Davies after the West Lothian hill, an ancient ritual site, dating back to 3500BC.

The label on the bottle reads: “Specially bottled for the ­Mercat Bar to celebrate the opening of the £1 billion tram line. Better drink it now as it might take a while!”

The road works have forced the closure of most of the road since January 2012. And at least 300 metres of road between Haymarket and Shandwick had to be re-worked after a concrete pour failed to pass quality assurance tests.

Graham said: “I’ve seen other pubs which have been forced to close because of the lack of passing trade. It’s soul destroying, but you have just got to try and stay positive. I’m hoping the beer reminds ­people we’re still here.”

Graham is not the first trader in the area to poke fun at the project. Printmakers Copymade had a series of humorous anti-tram posters – the first being Tramspotting based on the iconic Trainspotting poster.

Gordon Henderson of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “It’s definitely the right approach to what is a very difficult situation and Graham has to be applauded for his ingenuity in the face of the trams.

CHEERS HERE

Cairnpapple IPA is the latest offering from Livingston microbrewery Alchemy.

It is described as a well-balanced, light- coloured, refreshing IPA with a floral aroma leading to a “pleasant lingering citrus taste”.

Named after the one of the county’s hills, a 550ml bottle costs £3.50.