Tempest Brew Co – Cresta Black


I got my hands on Cresta Black by Tempest Brew Co at the Mash Tun on Easter road in Edinburgh.

As always I’ll start of with some information about the brewery.

Tempest Brew Co was established in Kelso in 2010 by Gavin Meiklejohn. Initially used to produce some interesting beer for his pub and restaurant an 800 litre brewhouse was fabricated from a mixture of new and used equipment. When it became apparent that 800L of beer wasn’t going to meet demand the brewhouse was rehashed into a 1600L capacity. 

The hard work is paying off and demand for Tempest beer has meant they are in the process of moving to a new brewhouse and production facility.This will create the space needed to meet demand for their current range, barrel age their beer and create seasonal beers along with some special projects!

This stout is made using four different grains Oats, Barley, Rye and Wheat along with a mixture of English and American hops, mashed with a box of walnut clif bars.

The colour is black with an off white head.

The nose is roasted malt, some chocolate and coffee with a slight sweet almost berry like smell in the background.

The taste is of dark berries, bitter chocolate, coffee and nuts.

The mouth feel is soft with a smooth finish.

A really nice stout! I hope to see some more Tempest beer further north soon!



The Hanging Bat!


I was lucky enough to be one of people who descended on Lothian Road for the soft opening of The Hanging Bat bar.

As you come into the bar you are greeted by a comfortable wooden interior with low lighting and a mixture of wooden and leather seating. 
The bar itself is polished wood with 14 keg taps and 6 cask taps (the cask taps are crowned with wooden bats) and staffed by fantastically knowledgeable and friendly staff!
On this occasion there were 18 beers on cask and keg from breweries all based in the UK. Behind the bar there is also a glass fronted fridge containing some of the casks in one of the most fantastic displays I’ve seen in a bar in Scotland!
On premises there is also a brew kit which will be used to produce beer for the bar along with allowing some of the customers to brew their own beers under the supervision of the staff at the bar, this to me is not only a novel way of getting people into the bar but a tremendous way to educate people about beer! The first brew will be taking place next week!
While we were sitting in the bar we were not only treated to fantastic beer but some great food! The staff were making their way through the bar offering people chili dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and macaroni cheese. the food was of a very high standard and accompanied my glass of Tempest’s Brave New World perfectly!
The bar has also taken the idea of a tasting board to a whole new level. In exchange for £10 you will receive a third glass (which is yours to keep) filled with some fantastic beer and five bottle caps with the Hanging bat logo on them. Every time that you visit the bar subsequently you will receive another third of a beer of your choice in exchange for a bottle cap (two bottle caps for a higher ABV beer) which for those who enjoy tasting different beers is a great idea, for those who are trying different beers for the first time is an inexpensive way of making craft beer accessible! To me this is a simple idea with a touch of genius!
The bar will open officially on Monday the 19th of November and whether interested in beer or not please get yourself down there it may change the way you look at beer! 
A huge thank you to the staff, Chris and Bruce for working so hard and making this possible!

Orkney Brewing


Since I’m on holiday I thought I’d do a big blog about the company who first got me into trying different beers in 2007.

The Orkney brewery (Sinclair brewery) is based Quoyloo near Stromness on Orkney’s Mainland. In 2006 Norman Sinclair set up his new company Sinclair Breweries Ltd and purchased 2 breweries – The Orkney Brewery and Atlas Brewery in Kinlochleven.

The brewery currently produce a range of  six cask ales also available in bottles, a “specialist” ale Dark island reserve and a seasonal ale Clootie dumpling

I’ll be reviewing five of their beers in this blog

The first beer I’ll be reviewing is from the Atlas range, Latitude pilsner.

A golden colour with a soapy white head.

The nose is or lemon, some grass, sweet malt and some biscuit.

The taste is lemon, bitter herbal hops, malt and grass.

There is some bitterness left on the tongue a refreshing pilsner.

Number two of five is Northern Light a pale ale made with Hallertauer Hersbrucker, Saaz and Liberty hops.

A pale golden colour with a thin white head.

The aroma is lemon, herbs, citrus peel and some ginger.

Tastes of lemon, some sweet bread, some light carbonation and some green apple.

The after taste is of bitter hops and a drying mouth feel.

Third is Red MacGregor, made with crystal and chocolate malts along with cascade hops.

A dark amber colour with a white head.

The nose is fruity hops, red berries, some citrus fruits and dark malts.

The taste is of red fruits, cherry, chocolate, malts followed by some bitter hops.

An oily finish with some fruit from the hops left on the tongue.

The penultimate beer is Raven ale a classic bitter made using Fuggles and Golding hops.

A golden coloured beer with a white head.

A slightly spicy nose with some malt, autumn fruits and floral hops.

The taste has some slight spice, green apples, herbal hops and some malt.

The after taste is bitter with an oily finish.

That last beer I tried was Dragonhead a stout brewed with Roasted barley, Chocolate malt and Wheat along with Golding Hops.

This beer is black as night with a thick tan coloured head.

The nose is of roasted coffee, dark chocolate and also some smokiness.

The taste is of coffee, smoke and an almost chocolate milkshake!

The mouth feel is thick with a smoky after taste.

These beers are available pretty widely from Tesco, http://www.alesela.co.uk/ and http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/.


Clootie Dumpling – Orkney brewery (Sinclair brewery)


Made by the Orkney brewery (Sinclair brewery) in Quoyloo this beer is only available from mid November until mid January.

To make things easier I should probably explain what a clootie dumpling is.

A traditional dessert pudding a clootie dumpling is made with flour, breadcrumbs, dried fruit (sultanas and currants), suet, sugar and spice with some milk to bind it, and sometimes golden syrup. Ingredients are mixed well into a dough, then wrapped up in a floured cloth, placed in a large pan of boiling water and simmered for a couple of hours before being lifted out and dried before the fire or in an oven.

The hops used in this beer are Bramling gold, First gold and Fuggles.

The beer is a ruby colour with a soapy white head.
The nose is spiced fruits, cinnamon, brown sugar and some roasted malt.
The taste is of spiced pear, some cinnamon, nutmeg, malt and floral hops.
The mouth feel is oily with some light spice left on the tongue.
Grab this while you can as it’s only available until mid January!

Project Norway Part 3 – Haand Bryggeriet


Haand Bryggeriet Dark force is the third Norwegian beer I tried from Christer at Beer Norway.

Haand Bryggeriet are based in Drammen, which is around 50km from the capital Oslo.

The brew house is a wooden building which is nearly 200 years old. When it was first built it was partly used as stables, just after the turn of the 20th century it was converted into a car workshop . This was followed by a small hosiery factory and lastly a micro brewery.

The brewery has four brewers who work on a voluntary basis brewing in their spare time. They are incredibly enthusiastic about their beer and having tasted beers around Europe wanted to produce something of their own.

The brewery’s capacity is 18 bbl capacity depending on what is being brewed.

On to the beer!

Dark force is an imperial or double wheat stout, made from mainly wheat malt and lots of dark roasted malts

This beer is black with a huge mocha coloured head.

Nose is roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, a little of the alcohol and some dark fruit sweetness.

The beer tastes of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, some brown sugar, dates and some treacle

The mouth feel is full and the aftertaste is of bitter coffee.

The wheat for me really gives this beer a huge body and helps the taste of this beer stay in your mouth for almost an hour after you’ve actually consumed it! Another fantastic beer!

Haand Bryggeriet’s beers are available from only two stores that I’m aware of Dunnottar Wines & Spirits based in Stonehaven and their sister store the Deeside Drinks Emporium in Banchory https://www.facebook.com/dunnottar.wines. I couldn’t find any websites which stocked Haand Bryggeriet’s beers in the UK but if there are any places I’ve missed please tell me an I’ll update the blog accordingly.




The Fallen brewing company


The first thing I’m going to run through is the background to The Fallen Brewing Company as I detailed in my earlier blog.

The Fallen brewing company has been set up by Paul Fallen, a former home brewer who decided to try his hand at brewing commercially. The brewery is based in near Kippen in Stirlingshire and their products have only been on the market since July.

The beer for this brewery is being brewed on contract by Traditional Scottish Ales. From talking to brewer Paul Fallen he’s itching to get in to his new brew house as I don’t think he has the control over his brews that he wants. He hopes to have the agreement for the new brew house signed and keys picked up by the end of November.

Fallen currently have a range of four beers but are planning more recipes as we speak along with some monthly specials!

In this blog I’ll be looking at the two Fallen beers that I haven’t tried Dragonfly and Blackhouse.

I started with Dragonfly which is a 4.6% American red ale.

Dark amber colour with an off white head.
The nose is malt, pumpernickel bread, some sweetness and citrus.
Bitter citrus at the front followed by malt sweetness and pumpkin seeds with slight spice (nutmeg) as it moves down the tongue.
Bitter aftertaste of hops & drying.
The next beer I tried was Blackhouse, a 5% ABV smoked porter.
The nose is rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee and some light smoke.
The taste has a milky feel to it, it has roasted coffee, dark chocolate and some light smoke again.
The aftertaste is smokey with a full mouth feel.
These are two very good beers I purchased from Tomlinson’s Beer shop Inverness and are also available from http://www.alesela.co.uk/shop/index.php?brewerid=74

Project Norway – Ægir Brewery Skumring


Sorry for the time delay in getting these done I’ve been on night shift for the past three nights so I’m a little behind!

The next beer I tried from Christer was Skumring by Ægir Brewery


Ægir Brewery are based in Flåm western Norway.Ægir in Norse mythology is described as a giant. He is the brother of the wind and of Elden and he is ruler of the sea.

The poem Lokasenna (Old Norse “Loki’s Quarrel”) centres around Loki fighting with other gods; Loki puts forth two stanzas of insults while the receiving figure responds with a single stanza, and then another figure chimes in. The poem begins with a prose introduction detailing that Ægir, a figure associated with the sea, is hosting a feast in his hall for a number of the gods and elves. There, the gods praise Ægir’s servers Fimafeng and Eldir. Loki “could not bear to hear that,” and kills the servant Fimafeng. In response, the gods grab their shields, shrieking at Loki, and chase him out of the hall and to the woods. The gods then return to the hall, and continue drinking

I hope this is accurate as Norse mythology isn’t my specialist subject!

The brewery opened in June 2007 and has the capacity to brew at 10hl in the pubbryggeriet and an annual capacity of around 1200hl.

Most of the produced beer goes to resale in Norway, and some for export.

Already in the third year of brewing operations, due to the small capacity Ægir’s beers are bottled under license in Belgium.

A new production brewery was built in Flam and deployed in June 2012. The new brewery will have a capacity of 35hl per brew, and an annual capacity of over 6000hl. Capacity can be expanded over time to more than 20000hl annually.

In autumn 2011 the brewery took a new step in installing a small roaster and expanding the product range. Initially Ægir will produce aquavit, and both Whiskey and Single Malt Whisky in the long term.

Finally on to the beer!

Skumring is an abbey dubbel style beer at 7% ABV.

I love the look of this beer. It is almost burnt caramel in colour with a slightly off white thick head.
The nose is Belgian yeast, dates, toffee, malt and raisins
The taste is not what I expected! Burnt sugar, malt, dark fruit, some almost hop bitterness and a Hint of the 7% ABV.
The mouth feel is thick and leaves and almost syrupy feel in the mouth.
I really enjoyed this beer.
As far as I’m aware this brewery is not currently selling it’s beer in the UK but I hope to see it soon!

Lervig Rye IPA! (Project Norway)


The first beer I’m going to review of the eight I was lucky enough to get from Christer at Beer Norway is Lervig’s Rye IPA.

Lervig Aktiebryggeri are a brewery based in Stavanger in Norway and began to produce beer in 2005. Lervig came into being after ringnes AS, which took over the production of bottled Tou beer, decided in 2003 to shut down its production in Stavanger leaving 107 people without a job. Local unions and celebrities in Stavanger discussed a boycott of Ringnes products. Even local pub owners threatened to cancel their contracts with Ringnes.

Behind the creation of the brewery stood the Mack Brewery, which aided the founding of this brewery with is brewing expertise. All Lervig beer were produced in Tromsø at Mack until August 2005.

Since then, all the beer has been produced in Hillevåg, Stavanger. The bottle and box lines were completed in late 2007. The brewery currently has a compact and modern production facilities with high production capacity.

Lervig currently have three different product lines in their current line up, Standard product, Brand and Brewers reserve consisting of nine beers in total.

So on to the review.
The first thing I’ll say about this beer is I love the label design!
The beer pours an amber colour with a thin white head.
The nose is citrus, rye and west coast hops which are a huge part of the aroma of this beer.
The taste is of bitter hops along with citrus and some rye. The taste is bitter and you can amost feel it prickle the back of your throat.
The finish of this beer is dry and the bitterness lingers in your mouth for a long time after!
The only Lervig beer I can find on the market in the UK at the moment is a collaboration with Mikkeller. http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/mikkeller-lervig-double-eye-pa.
A great start to my week of Norwegian beers!
Cheers and don’t forget to visit www.beernorway.com!

Project Norway!


Thanks to my friend Christer at Beer Norway I’m happy to announce that Project Norway is about to be launched!

Starting tonight and spanning until Thursday the 15th of November I will be reviewing a total of eight Norwegian beers!

The beers I will be writing about are beers brewed by three Norwegian breweries, Lervig, Haand Bryggeriet and Ægir Bryggeri. Nogne Ø have been omitted as they are already available all over the UK.

I will also write about the breweries, where they are from and hopefully be able to tell you where to get some of their beers around the UK.


Cromarty Brewing – AKA IPA


This is the new IPA brewed by Cromarty and needless to say I’m excited!

This beer is made using a mix of American and European hops containing the perle, cascade, columbus and dana varieties.

This beer is an amber colour with an off white head.

The smell of this beer hits you almost from across the room. It has grapefruit, mango and some red fruits but it also has the herbal bitterness in the background from the European hops.

The taste is of grapefruit, lemon zest, lychee and some herbal bitterness. As the flavour lingers on the tongue the beer become more bitter almost like dried herbs truly outstanding!

The aftertaste is bitter and drying with and oily feel in the mouth.

Another fantastic beer by Cromarty brewing!