From Plough to Pint.
University is back in full swing after a relaxing and beer filled Xmas break, and 2012 is already looking like it’s going to be a great year in the world of craft beer. So for my first proper post of the year I’ll be taking a look at a young and interesting brewery, Scottish Borders Brewery.
The reason for this is that John from Scottish Borders Brewery was in my favourite local pub the Free Trade Inn recently giving a talk, and with all their beers on the bar, it would have been rude not to sample the lot! The brewery has only been operational for about a year, and is unique for its ‘Plough to Pint’ ethos. Based on a farm near Jedburgh, all their beers are brewed with barley grown on the farm, and water welled on site too, a really good selling point! The main thing that struck me about their beers was the amount of flavour for beers with such a low alcohol content, and as John explained, this is so you can enjoy a great tasting pint and still be able to drive home, or at least not stink of booze when returning to an angry wife when late home from ‘work’! This has proved popular in the rural pubs which are the brewery’s main customers.
Wee Beastie and Foxy Blonde are the most popular of their ales, the latter being my favourite of theirs, but every beer they do is full of flavour and wonderfully moreish. It is refreshing to see beer being brewed in this way, as a lot of the new wave of craft brewers tend to put out incredible beers, but with a high alcohol content limiting the amount you can enjoy, especially if you have to be up in the morning or drive home! My only problem is that I would like to see some more adventurous hops being used, or just more hops in general, but it is clear to see that this isn’t what Scottish Borders Brewery is about, and it is nice to enjoy a few pints of a tasty session ale once in a while. So check them out if you see them on a bar near you, you won’t be disappointed, and thanks to John for a great evening.
As usual here are some of the best beers I have enjoyed from the past few weeks:
Leeds Brewery – Pale: A smooth, straw coloured ale that is well balanced with a light bitterness. Very easy drinking session beer from a great brewery.
Summer Wine – Cohort: This is an amazing beer, a double black Belgian rye PA. If that doesn’t confuse you I don’t know what will! Very dark with a dark brown head, complex aroma with delicate smoky smells and hints of citrus hops. The taste is a malty sweetness at first with hints of coffee and a subtly dry and hoppy finish, which then leaves a lasting burnt flavour in your mouth. So much going on in this beer and one that you should definitely try.
Ilkly Brewing Company – Ilkly Pale: This beer is similar to Tyne Bank’s Southern Star, but toned down slightly. Like Southern Star it is hopped with Nelson Sauvin, but it is less winey with a shorter finish. All the same flavours but in a lighter format, very easy to drink a lot of this beer!
Summer Wine – Covenant: The bottle describes this beer as an ‘Aromatic Red Ale’, and it certainly is that! The fresh hoppy and fruity smells explode out of the glass, and the taste matches them. Layers of hoppy bitterness which develop in your mouth, with hints of spice and a lingering finish. A bold craft beer from one of Britain’s best breweries.