Sunday, 30 June 2019

600: Loch Ness Brewery | Dark Ness

20190630_173145The Brewery: “The Loch Ness Brewing Company was first created adjacent to the shores of the mysterious stretch of water and home to the world’s most infamous monster – “Nessie”…….In late 2016 The Loch Ness Beer brand was rescued by a partnership between two well established Highland businesses - The Cobbs Group and Cairngorm Brewery. By pooling together resources the brand was rescued, ensuring it's continuation as a Highland produced craft beer…….The award winning Cairngorm Brewery has taken the reigns in developing an extended range of Loch Ness Beers - influenced by their brewing heritage. Loch Ness Beer was back on the shelves before Nessie had a chance to make her next appearance!”

The Beer: “A full, flavoursome stout, with chocolate malt & roast barley combining beautifully with clear Highland Water…..A creamy head with aromas of coffee & sweet chocolate, leading to hints of espresso & luxurious black cherry.”

Is is only fitting that the last of my beers from Scotland for now is another milestone in the Archives’ existence and a very worthy marker it was too. Another lovely rich full bodied stout whose taste wasn’t at all diminished, having followed on soon after the intense Double Espresso. June 2019.

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling

599: Black Wolf Brewery | Valente’s Double Espresso

20190630_155408The Brewery: “Many moons ago, in the black of the night, Viking invaders were about to attack our hometown of Stirling, when a howling wolf alerted the defenders, who saved the town. We raise a glass to that wolf. The Black Wolf.”

The Beer: “Straddling beer and coffee, this stylish libation is both Alpha and Omega. With a welcoming aroma created from double strength coffee beans, accompanied by a silky smooth texture and a rich dark nature, it is clear as a full moon why it was awarded gold at the 2012 World Beer Awards……This sumptuous mocha brew is an excellent beer to imbibe with a decadent desert or as an avant-garde aperitif.”

Well this was certainly different – I’ve never tasted anything quite like it – and the aroma as soon as the top was off was very inviting – but then I like coffee anyway. Certainly not one to be guzzled – the flavour is very intense and it is 6% A.B.V – but one to sip and savour. June 2019.

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

598: Skye | Red

20190626_210516The Brewery: “One evening in 1992, some schoolteacher friends met in a local pub – and conversation turned to the lack of good beer on Skye. Someone jokingly suggested that setting up a brewery would be the only way to remedy the situation. At the time there were just six small independent breweries in Scotland – and none on Skye. Could it really work? It could, and it did. Three years later, we were finally ready to brew our first ale – Red Cuillin. It was such a success, we still brew it to the same recipe today. Only the name has changed – we now call it Skye Red.”

The Beer: “Malted barley is a vital part of the Scottish brewing tradition. We use three different varieties to create the deep colour and smooth nuttiness; each grain is milled right here in our brewery, giving us complete control over flavour and freshness. Then we balance this rich brew with just the right amount of Challenger and Fuggle hops.”

Having enjoyed a bottle of Sky Black back in 2016 I was keen to try another another beer from them. My keenness was rewarded with another great tasting ale. I hope the opportunity to try more Skye ales presents itself soon. 4.2% A.B.V. June 2019.

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

597: Hadrian Border Brewery | Secret Kingdom

20190623_194020The Brewery: “The foundations were laid on 9th June 1994 when we took over the Border Brewery Company in Berwick upon Tweed (pictured). This was an 8 barrel brew plant with 15 barrels of fermenting capacity, selling 2 barrels per week at that time”…read more

The Beer: “Dark, rich and full-bodied slightly roasted with a malty palate ending with a pleasant bitterness.”

Not north of the border this one so a bit of an imposter in this series of Scottish ales procured during a stay with friends in Falkirk over Easter. It’s a very welcome one though as it was a lovely drop and much preferred over their Farne Island, sampled during our stay in Tyne & Wear last year. 4.3% A.B.V. June 2019.

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

596: Inveralmond | Lia Fail

20190622_194825The Brewery: “Opened on 14th May 1997, The Inveralmond Brewery is at the very heart of our beer. Situated in Perth, the brewery nestles between the fabulous rolling hills of Perthshire, the mighty Grampian mountain range and is surrounded by crystal clear rivers, providing inspiration and nourishment for the beers we produce and export around the globe.”

The Beer: “To craft LIA FAIL our brewers selected flavour packed dark crystal and chocolate malts. This combination creates a warming malty body bursting with nutty, chocolate notes that we have balanced with spicy aromas from Cascade and Fuggles hops. It finishes full, mellow and satisfying. Hops: Challenger, Cascade, Fuggles. Malts: Pale ale, Dark Crystal, Chocolate, Wheat”

Oh yum, gorgeous. A combination of flavours that was to my palate what good music is to my ears. So glad to come across another one of their beers after first trying the Ossian. 4.7% A.B.V though so no lightweight. June 2019

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

595: Kelburn Brewery | Dark Moor

20190622_185835The Brewery: “The Kelburn Brewing Company is a family run business based in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, Scotland. It is run by Derek Moore, his son Ross and daughter Karen.The company was formed in October 2001 and commenced brewing in April 2002……In the mid seventies, Derek realised that the quality of ale in the U.K. left something to be desired and determined to do something about it….As a science graduate from Paisley University he had some knowledge of the brewing process and decided to develop this through his experiments in home brewing. He was greatly assisted by the brewers at the now sadly defunct Strathalbyn Brewery.”

The Beer: “Smooth, dark and dangerous, this ale is designed to warm the cockles of your heart whilst sitting around the ingle after a long cold winter’s day outdoors. Although dark and and robust the aftertones of liquorice and blackcurrant make this an ale of complex character, not to be missed.”

You know me, I like a dark beer every now and again and this did not disappoint. Lot’s going on but very smooth. I was annoyed with both myself, for not noticing that it was out of date when I bought it, and the shop for still having it on the shelf. It was still clear and tasted fine but would like to try a fresher sample sometime too. 4.5% A.B.V. June 2019

The Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

594: Arran Brewery | Sunset

20190621_205604The Brewery: “Combining the art of traditional brewing methods with the island’s unique water and only the finest natural ingredients the brewery produces a wide range of beers and ales to suit every palette”………”Nestled between the islands largest mountain, Goatfell and the imposing Brodick Castle lies Arran Brewery which has been brewing award winning craft beer for over a decade.”

The Beer: Nose: Citrusy grapefruit notes are abundant, backed up with some essences of used leather and a scent of smokiness to finish off….Palate: Powerful flavour of citrus fruits from the hops. There are dry notes of grape fruit, wood, some smoke just like the aroma of the beer….Finish: Soft fizzy mouth feel throughout with a rather clean and crisp finish; very light-bodied and mild flavoured ale.”

Yep, you’re right, I wasn’t keen, just too citrusy for me. Nothing wrong with it, it was crystal clear but I certainly didn’t find it mild flavoured. I’d avoid it in a bar unless there was nothing else. Each to their own of course and one for a hot summers night perhaps, around the BBQ.

4.4% A.B.V. The Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling. June 2019

593: Cairngorm Brewing Company | Stag

20190621_194438The Brewery: “Cairngorm Brewery Company is a craft brewery established in 2001, situated in the village of Aviemore within the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands of Scotland.”

The Beer: “Mahogany ale - fuggles hops are added to give an initial bitterness that is balanced by a caramel finish….The Stag – The undisputed Monarch of the Glen. Stag _- the most regal of beers! Good strong flavours without being too strong overall, a beer with real character that you can enjoy all evening.”

The second of my ten beers procured from The Real Ale Shop and I suspect it will end up as one of my favourites of the ten. The description says it all - tasted a lot stronger than the 4.1% ABV might suggest. No fruitiness. June 2019.

592: The Orkney Brewery | Raven Ale

20190621_183048The Brewery: “….Our processes create only the finest hand-crafted ales, using the traditional methods developed and handed down through time. Only the finest ingredients and purest Orcadian water can create these outstanding, full-of-flavour ales. So next time you sip one of our brews, you can be sure it was made with the best malt, hops, yeast, Orcadian water — and a long, long history of making quality ales……”

The Beer: “Raven Ale dominant malt character is a balance between juicy pale ale malt and a biscuity, toasty malt flavour this give way to a clean spicy orange bitterness. Aromas of orange, lemon and fresh apple”

The first of ten beers from north of the border procured from The Real Ale Shop whilst staying with friends near Falkirk over Easter. I flew up for the weekend so said friends kindly brought down my purchases to a caravanning meet up in the Cotswolds  a few weeks ago.

This was the first of three in this particular ‘research’ session - easy drinking but I let it down by being in too much of a rush and not waiting for it to chill sufficiently. The fruitiness was not overpowering though which was good. 3.8% A.B.V. June 2019

Friday, 21 June 2019

591: Weetwood Ales | Revelry

20190620_195755The Brewery: “Weetwood Ales began brewing in 1992 when finding a great pint of cask ale was a challenge. The brewery was founded by Adrian Slater, a skilled brewer, and Roger Langford, a farmer with space in a barn and a love for proper beer. Roger’s farm is in Weetwood Common, near Tarporley in Cheshire and the brewery took the name”

The Beer: “An uncomplicated easy drinking beer to please the crowds. Simply brewed with pale malt, a touch of wheat and British hops.”

The last of my beers from Cheshire for now and probably the one I enjoyed the least of the three - nowt wrong with it mind and very flavoursome. Just not my favourite style. Noticeably quite strong and a good summer ale, served slightly colder than the usual. 5% A.B.V. June 2019

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

590: Weetwood Ales | Old Dog

20190615_192013The Brewery: “Weetwood Ales began brewing in 1992 when finding a great pint of cask ale was a challenge. The brewery was founded by Adrian Slater, a skilled brewer, and Roger Langford, a farmer with space in a barn and a love for proper beer. Roger’s farm is in Weetwood Common, near Tarporley in Cheshire and the brewery took the name”

The Beer: “No need for new tricks here, this is as traditional as it gets. Maris Otter and dark roasted malts create a wonderful deep colour and buckets of English hop varieties combine for extra flavour.

How odd. I fully expected to enjoy this more than the Eastgate Amber Ale given my usual preferences for darker beers. It was enjoyable enough certainly and I can only put it down to the fact the Eastgate was the first (and second) after a long dry week and this followed on the next night.  4.5% A.B.V.

June 2019

Saturday, 15 June 2019

589: Weetwood Ales | Eastgate

20190614_201253The Brewery: “Weetwood Ales began brewing in 1992 when finding a great pint of cask ale was a challenge. The brewery was founded by Adrian Slater, a skilled brewer, and Roger Langford, a farmer with space in a barn and a love for proper beer. Roger’s farm is in Weetwood Common, near Tarporley in Cheshire and the brewery took the name”

The Beer: “Brewed for the centenary of Chester’s Eastgate clock. A Champion beer of Cheshire, brewed exclusively with whole leaf Cascade hops for a fruity foretaste and distinctly hoppy flavour. Has a long sweet finish and a very large fan base.”

Ok, those who look as this blog regularly - both of you - will assume from the description that I wouldn’t enjoy this much, but in fact I did. Certainly there was a slightly sweet finish but it wasn’t too hoppy for my fussy palate. In the interests of thorough research I had a second which I’d put in the fridge at the same time. It was, understandably cooler but this didn’t impair the flavour at all. I was really quite refreshing. 4.2% A.B.V. Thanks to Sandra for procuring on my behalf and bringing to a recent caravanning meet up.

June 2019

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

588: Dorset Brewing Co. | Durdle Door

20190529_173701The Brewery: “Dorset Brewing Company was founded in 1996, when Giles Smeath restored an 800-year-old brewing tradition to the Dorset port of Weymouth in the heart of the World Heritage Coastline (the Jurassic Coast)……Dorset Brewing Company relocated in 2011 to Crossways and upgraded to a state-of-the-art spring water-fed brewhouse capable of crafting 1.5 million pints a year.”

The Beer: “Rusty full bodied ale with a warm caramel flavour and hints of marmalade on the nose.”

One of the events of our special caravanning meet up was a beer and cheese ‘festival’. Lot’s of beers from all over the country were on offer, the idea being that you sampled a drop of many rather than a whole bottle of few. This was one of the left overs and very nice it was too. As the label says, a classic premium ale – not too sweet though a bit more bitterness would have satisfied my fussy palate even more. 5% A.B.V. May 2019