Historic Kirkcaldy pub unveils first beer as it steps back into brewing
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The Harbour Bar has unveiled its first amber ale brewed with its own, unique Lang Toun yeast.
And Jon Stanley, who took over the running of the landmark pub following the death of long-standing owner Nick Bromfield, says there are more to come as he continues with his transformation of the bar which dates back to 1924. The building was previously a ship's chandlers with a history dating to around 1870.
One of his goals is to bring brewing back to the pub - Mr Bromfield curated The Fyfe Brewing Company, in the old sail works behind the venue and brewed beer commercially for the first time in the Kingdom since 1926.
Mr Stanley’s plan is to start a craft brewery making Belgian beer, and the response to his first beer going to tap has been very positive.
“The keg sold in two days which was great,” he said. “I thought it may last the week.
“Our first beer is an amber beer, and we have a witbier called Haar, and I’m just bottling a citrus-y beer.
“We brewed 650 litres of the first one in Glasgow, but as orders build up and sales become more solid, we will bring the brewery through to the pub.
“The facilities here aren’t suitable just now, but once we get a good order book and confidence selling beers we can start production.”
Omar - made with caramel and biscuit malt, and the Harbour Bar’s unique yeast - is also on tap at the Hanging Bat in Edinburgh. It is the result of months of work to get the perfect recipe.
It also marks the start of a project to brew Belgian style beers in Kirkcaldy from local ingredients, celebrating Fife’s historic links to the Low Countries. That includes the yeast.
Mr Stanley explained: “We found that Belgian yeast stops working in Scottish winters - so the Lang Toun yeast is is unique to us. We are looking at using ingredients from Fife or very close by.
“Long term, the brewery is a key part of the business. The model we are looking at is in the USA where they have been making Belgian style beers for 20 years - and doing it very well.”
The Harbour Bar was closed a year following Mr Bromfield’s death, and it has since been given a complete makeover by its new owner.
He has rebuilt the bar, changed the interior, added more windows and upgraded the kitchens to allow food to be served.
He has also added a chiller cellar, modernised the gents toilet - famous for pages of the Times newspaper being pinned above the urinals each morning - added a new toilet for women, and replaced the flooring and carpets.
“The reality is it is a tough time to launch any pub, but it has gone well. We are unique enough to bring people in, and the audience is changing. We still have our real ale groups, but there are more couples and and more women too - there is more focus on white wine sales at the bar as well as Belgian beer
“It’s been a case of listening to the feedback. It’s exciting and challenging.”