What happens when a non-beer drinker joins #Tryanuary

January always inspires us to start new activities from our New Year’s resolutions list, but nothing stops us from quit them after a couple of weeks. So instead of a long-term project, I scrolled down in Twitter to look for new things that I could only try this month in Edinburgh.

Salt Horse Beer Shop & Bar

Among all the comments, it was the hashtag #Tryanuary that caught my attention. After a quick search, I learned that it was a UK campaign that started in 2015 to “encourage people to support independent breweries, pubs, bars”, and it takes place every year. That probably sounded really interesting for a beer drinker, but not for me. And yet, I gave it a thought.

Meeting friends and colleagues in a pub to have a beer is a pretty common situation, so I realised that learning a bit more about this drink could be useful in future social events. Maybe I could even find the perfect beer for me. I was going to do it. As I had zero idea about this matter, I decided that the best option would be to join a beer tour. After reading a good number of customers’ reviews, I booked the Old Town Tour from ScotBeer Tours. Was it a good idea? Well, let me tell you what I took from this experience:

Know the city

The tour starts right outside City Chambers on the Royal Mile, so we walked around the famous road and learnt about the main buildings and how their History is related to beer. It can be great for visitors, as they get to know the city and rest afterwards with a nice beer in their hands.

Meet new people

For most people, it’s always nicer to try new things together with someone else. But if your friends don’t feel like joining you, you are traveling solo in the city, or you’re just new in town: don’t worry. One of the biggest advantages about being part of a tour is that you won’t be alone!

Discover new venues

Of course, as a non-beer drinker, I didn’t know about this beer specialized place called Salt Horse and the 400 different beers that they offer, but I’m sure that even locals and beer geeks will discover thanks to this tour a couple of new bars or small and old pubs to visit again.

Very Berry Beer from Fierce Beer

Explore new flavors

I was clueless about beer all these years and I didn’t know that there were more choices than just a lager (honestly, I didn’t even know what a lager was). So it was really enjoyable to easily understand why every beer tastes different and discover new and delicious flavours, like the Very Berry beer from the Fierce Beer company.

Learn History

My main reason to recommend you this two and a half hours tour is certainly the interesting information that they share. Did you know that women were the only ones making beer at the beginning? Now you do, and you can learn so much more if you take the tour!

When beer is not reason enough for you to be part of Tryanuary, the help from a cheerful and friendly guide can add value to the experience. But you can absolutely have a great time by yourself, friends or family members; you can organize your own bar hoping and try atypical beers, join the different events happening this month, or visit some breweries in the city to support local business. At the end, the important thing is to step out of your comfort zone. I’m glad that Tryanuary made me do it.

Writer and photographer in Edinburgh