The Skinny on... Pilot Beer

After ten years, over 1000 brewing sessions, and countless folk wound up on Twitter dot com, Patrick Jones from Leith brewery Pilot takes on this month's Q&A

Feature by Patrick Jones | 30 May 2023
  • Patrick Jones of Pilot Brewery, dressed as a peach to celebrate selling 10000 cans of Peach Melba at Cornelius Beers

What’s your favourite place to visit and why?

Tyninghame beach has become pretty special for me over the years. I go there when I need to clear my head or just for a bit of a mooch with the family. It was the first place I went with my boy when the first lockdown eased and we were allowed more than four metres from our houses. He was three and on his wee balance bike and we went rockpooling and just pissed ourselves laughing at hermit crabs. With hindsight it seems fairly clear we’d gone a bit mad.

Who was your hero growing up?

Malcolm Alker, the Salford RLFC hooker. He was everything I wasn’t: hard as nails, good at sport, a born leader etc. However, looking him up it seems he’s only two years older than me, so I must have been far far too old to be idolising a rugby league player. He’s also been locked up for armed robbery, so feet of clay and all that. I hope he’s doing alright now.

Whose work inspires you now?

Good old Mother Nature! Give me a pair of binoculars and a bird feeder and I’m happy. Birds are such angry little arseholes, I can watch them winding each other up for hours.

What is your favourite colour and why?

Fuchsia. It’s joyous, isn’t it.

Which three people would you invite to your dinner party and what are you cooking?

Tim Key, Kathy Burke, Josie Long. I’m going to knock up a lovely slow-cooked lamb curry. Get all the cooking out of the way beforehand so I can concentrate on serving up some impeccable vibes. Don’t really know why I’ve said vibes there tbh. 

What’s your all time favourite album?

…And Out Come The Wolves by Rancid. Music never enters your heart again in quite the same way it did when you were 15.

What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?

Transformers 2 or 3, can’t remember which. We were hungover and wanted to go to the cinema and somehow ended up seeing this. It was just utterly dreadful. Endless sequence after sequence of whirring noises and bits of unidentifiable CGI metal moving on screen. It was so obviously just a throwaway trash movie but it was like three hours long. Three hours. Who greenlit that? Why did nobody at the studio step in and say “It’s a daft film about giant robots lads, maybe an hour and a half is a bit more sensible”? Nothing made sense anymore in that cinema, neither the plot nor any of the life choices that had led us to that point.

What book would you take to a desert island?

Difficult one to answer this, trying to pitch it so you look just clever enough but not a total wank. I read an awful lot of sci-fi these days but for a desert island I’d want more of a bloody-minded page-turner. I’d probably go for something hard-boiled, The Maltese Falcon or Farewell, My Lovely, something like that.

When did you last cry?

Oh man, I cry at the drop of a hat these days. The last time was yesterday evening driving home when I thought I’d play the song that my partner is walking down the aisle to at our imminent wedding.

What are you most scared of?

As I get older it’s really the old classic: death. My boy’s six and the thought of not being there for him as he grows up terrifies me, proper lying awake at night stuff. Honourable mention to spiders.

When did you last vomit and why?

On my stag last Saturday. It was hardly LADS LADS LADS mankini stuff, but events conspired against me and two pints of cider needed out at high velocity. There’s a bit in Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom after they’ve ridden the mine train and are clinging to the side of a mountain when the floodwater behind them absolutely *fires* out of the cliff-face and it was honestly like that, swiftly followed by the brutal realisation that I’d just vomited up booze into a pub toilet at 42 years of age.

Tell us a secret?

I prefer wine to beer.

Which celebrity could you take in a fight?

Very few, if any, and it would have to be a lucky win. Maybe Professor Chris Whitty if I caught him on the hop.

If you could be reincarnated as an animal, which animal would it be?

A seagull. Soaring through the air as graceful as anything then just swooping down to nick some chips and wing it back to a chimney pot. Where’s your chips now, dickhead?

You recently celebrated 1000 brews at the brewery – which one was your favourite?

We take the piss out of it online but there’s something very funny about brewing Ultravilot, our Parma Violet hefeweizen. Just a bunch of normal guys sitting around getting paid to unwrap thousands of tiny packets of Parma Violets which we then put into a beer that reasonable people pay hard-earned money for then subsequently consume into their actual human bodies. What a world.

Catch Pilot at The Mash Up Festival, Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh, 2-3 Jun, and follow Pilot on Instagram and Twitter @pilotbeeruk