So pop art was invented by Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein, right? Wrong! It’s origins, I discovered recently lie just north of the world-renowned artistic hub that is Edinburgh. Eduardo Paolozzi was born in Leith in 1924 to Italian immigrant parents and died in 2005. A sculptor and artist, his eclectic approach is summed up by his maxim ‘sublime in the everyday‘. He believed in the beauty of everything around us, a concept which enabled him, for example, to turn scrap metal into art. A pivotal moment came in 1952 when he gave a lecture entitled ‘Bunk’ to a group of artists, in which he extolled the artistic worth of a series of pioneering collages which he projected on to a large screen. These were made from everyday objects, including pin-up postcards, magazine advertisements and shredded bits of newspaper and, as a consequence of this lecture, the notion of Pop Art was born.
So what has this to do with alcohol, I hear you ask? In one word, beer and, more specifically, a German-style lager, brimming with flavour, from the independent, family-owned Edinburgh Beer Factory. Named in honour of the great man, Paolozzi Lager is an unpasteurised 5.2% ABV ‘Helles’, made with water that has been neutralised before minerals are added to replicate Munich-style water. Two types of malted barley (Lager malt and caramalt) are used plus two classic European hops, Hallertau and Saaz and post-fermentation, the beer is cold-conditioned for 5-6 weeks in true ‘lagering’ style. The result is a smooth, malty, flavourful lager with low bitterness plus a rich mouthfeel, a subtle touch of sweetness and a slightly darker tone than a traditional Munich Helles (the caramalt is accentuated at the mash stage, using a slightly higher temperature to achieve this effect).