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Beer Holiday Robert Burns

Beer Holiday Robert Burns

Posted on Jan 23rd 2023

Written by
Surdyk's Staff

It’s time to celebrate!

Do you know Robert Burns?

If you don't, it's time you get to know him!

Turn your icy and frigid January nights into an evening of warming whiskey, comforting food, and good jokes!


Robert Burns’ birthday remains one of the more interesting celebrations of the year, especially for those who don't hail from Scotland. The event celebrates the work of the National Poet of Scotland, as well as Scottish culture and heritage. If you’re not familiar with Burns, you’ve certainly heard his most known work “Auld Lang Syne” (that song people sing/play at midnight on New Year’s).


A Burns Supper is held near or on January 25th, the birthday of Robert Burns, and the meal always includes at least a dram of whisky to toast throughout the evening. There are many toasts during the celebration, as well as poems, food, and jokes.


The night traditionally begins with the host giving a brief speech before a soup course. The main course served is Scotland’s most iconic culinary creation, haggis. It is marched in with a bagpiper and laid out on the main table. Someone then recites Burn’s “Address to a Haggis,” during which the reciter dramatically raises a knife and plunges it into the haggis, slicing it open to serve. The haggis is usually accompanied by sides of neeps (mashed rutabaga) and tatties (mashed potato).


Photo via Daily Hive

There may be more courses depending on the event, but after the food the revelry continues with a speech on the memory of Robert Burns and his works, both in Scots and English, and their impact on poetry and song. The speaker then raises a toast to Burns before the next speech. The next traditional speech is the “Address to the Lassies,” delivered by one of the male guests. The speaker then raises another toast, and then passes the floor to one of the women in the room. She then gives a speech as well, “Reply to the Laddies.” And of course, another whisky toast is made.

Photo via Daily Hive

More of Robert Burns’ poems and songs are recited and sung before the last drops of whisky are sipped. The celebration is officially ended in the Scottish tradition of guests standing, linking arms or hands, and singing “Auld Lang Syne.”


If you’ve never experienced one of these celebrations, they are well worth the time. Usually, cultural heritage groups like the Saint Andrew’s Society or expats will host a formal event. And if you are looking for something a little more low-key, cracking open a book of Robert Burns’ works is just as acceptable. The day is centered around the life and words of Robert Burns, but it’s also a great excuse to open something different. Pull down that special occasion whisky or have a glass of another distinctly Scottish item, Wee Heavy Ale.

-Consultant, Dale Johnson

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