Friday, 23 December 2011

Scotland in Bloom : Breweries

WOW what a year.

Ive been big into beer since 2007, and the scene in the Edinburgh and Scotland has fair changed since then, but its really been this year that the market has bloomed.

In the third part of this Year in Review i look at Breweries.

Well where to start, the Breweries in Scotland just seem to be going from Strength to Strength.

First off many breweries came out with New and exciting beers,  the likes of Fyne ales Cherry stout, Sublime stout and West Highland IPA, Knopps with his best beer yet, the 3 Threads (ive still to try the stout) and Stewarts with the Wonderfully chilli version of the Cauld Reekie. Then theres been the Ocassional Sighting from Luckie, the brown stout being particularly good. There have been several new breweries many of whom still need to appear in Edinburgh so while its good to see them springing up, ive no idea how good they are yet.

But there are Two breweries that have stood out this year, first off is Black Isle, the excitement there started when they announced that they were enticing one of the Brewers from the well respected Marble Brewery. This alone was enough to whet my appetite. Now dont get me wrong Black Isle beers have never been bad, in fact the very limited Black Isle Export stout was always one of my Top Scottish beers, but Marble rightly have a reputation for excellence and the arrival of one of there top brewers could only be a GREAT thing. It didnt take Colin long to get going, during the Stockbridge Tap festival he threw some Raspberries into the Wheat beer to produce a wonderfully sweet summer beer. But it was the Production of new beers that brought the most excitement, from the almost perfect Black stout through  the Chilli porter, Coffee porter and Pacific Red. And of course when talking Black Isle we cant miss out that fact that there brought up Master Chef Winner Tim Anderson to brew his Red Hop Chilli bock, Now while red hot was pushing it, it was a great Collaboration beer and we can only hope they try to bring him back again.

The other stand out brewer is of course Tempest, there cant be many drinkers in Scotland who havent heard and seeked out Tempest beer.  While they were around in 2010 they were very hard to find and it was 2011 they really kicked of. The first to wow me of course was their Elemental Porter. The Chipotle Spiced Extra Porter was better still but has only appeared once to my knowledge. The Single Hop Citra is one of the best single hop beers i have ever had. The biggest fuss seemed to be around the kegged Brave New World, but while a good beer its not really my thing. But then good bless them they started to release some limited bottles. At last Tempest at home. I could really do with some more Caligula. The bottles have cleverly gone down the route of The Kernel with a standard Design with the name stamped on the Label.
This is great as it allows them to produce new beers with out massive label design cost and i can only hope we see many new beers from them in the new year.

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