Wanting to showcase some of Scotland’s finest ales, a Small Bottle Fair was held recently. Six Scottish breweries and a couple of distributors were exhibiting. You were On arrival you were provided with a small glass, and tasters from bottles were given – as many as you wanted. There was a supply of water to rinse glasses, and vases to dispose of unwanted liquid (beer or rinse water). And it wasn’t all men! There was a good turn out with a convivial atmosphere with lots of people comparing notes.
Mr EF went off to sup some beer and tried the following beers on your behalf!
Alchemy Brewing of Livingston. Head Brewer & Director James began brewing whilst at university in Edinburgh. After studying chemistry and brewing yeast for his PhD he came back to brewing after working in the pharmaceutical industry. Sadly their website is rather out of date.
Almighty Mofo 7.1%. Very flavoursome.
Carynx – Black Saison 6.0%. Limited Edition to celebrate their 200th brew! A very lively (carbonated) beer.
Onyx Black IPA 6.5%. Quite bitter, and not much head.
Stewart Brewing based in Loanhead set up in 2004. They go from strength to strength winning many awards.If you’ve got a thirst to create your own beer, you can at Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen.
Cauld Reekie 6.2%. This beer has just won Europe Gold in the World Beer Award European 2014. It has liquorice/chocolate flavours, and is quite bitter.
Brew Dog of Aberdeen. Set up by Martin and Ian when they were just 24 in 2007. The company now boasts more than 200 staff and in 2013 brewed 53,500 HL of beer, has more than 14,000 shareholders (which is a story in itself) and 13 bars.
Punk IPA 5.6%. Lots of flavour. Grapefruit notes. Spikey finish.
Cromarty Brewing of Cromarty. This is a family run business started in 2011. Craig the Head Brewer is another graduate from the Herriot Watt Brewing Science course. On this occasion the Kiwheat was not to my liking. It had a rather a sour citrus flavour.
Fyne Ales. started brewing back in 2001. Tuggy and Jamie Delap were determined to bring fine ales to an area of the country where little was to be found. Their beers have since won many awards.
Cool as a Cucumber – a collaboration with the Wild Beer company based down in Somerset. 2.9%. Cucumbers and a ‘garden full of mint’ incorporated in this beer, which you can taste. Overall a clean pallet cleanser.
Land Slide 6.0%. A bitter brown ale, and a bit fruity. I found this average.
Vital Spark. 4.4%. Lively (carbonated) and dry dark ale.
Top Out of Loanhead. This brewery only launched in July 2013. Suffice to say, they are brewing some good beer.
Staple 4.0% Pale ale. Clean, hoppy, slightly citrus.
Schmankerl 4.9% wheat beer. Clean, slightly sweet and fruity.
The Cone 6.8% IPA. Classic IPA, but more carbonated and more fruity. Good.
Smoked Porter 5.6%. Lovely smoked flavour, hint of sweetness, and chocolate. Nicely Hopped. This was my beer of the day!
Last but no means least two from the distributors:
Berliner. Very sour with a citrus nose. definite pallet cleanser.
Oatmeal stout (from the Netherlands) 9.8%. Big chocolate flavours, smooth and sweetish. Hint of coffee bean flavour.
Visit the Great Grog Shop 2 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh or Telephone 0131 667 2855). You can check out all the prices on their beer list.