5 craft beers from Scotland that you have to try
- Craig Angus
- 29 August 2017
From sweet stouts to crisp pilsners, there's a world of fascinating beers north of the border that'll quench your thirst
We're fond of a wee drink in Scotland, so we are. Fond of cracking open a cold one in the sun, of a nip of whisky next to the fire in winter, of a wee glass of wine or two at dinner. It's part of our cultural fabric and we do it well.
No surprise then, that in this country we're fully on board with the craft beer revolution. With giants like Brewdog shipping their produce the world over, and tiny micro-breweries making use of old farmhouses, disused railway stations and remote islands, there's a lot to choose from and a lot to discover. We've had a look and come up with five that are worth a try.
Williams Brothers Good Times
A delicious golden ale from Williams Brothers that truly provides what it advertises on the bottle. A sparkling, refreshing beverage, its ingredients include gooseberries and elderflower, which gives a distinctive – but not overwhelming – flavour. Based in Alloa, a traditional centre of Scottish brewing, Williams Brothers have an impressive range, from Seaweed Ales to IPA/Lager Hybrids, and from Strawberry Pale Ales to Festive Spruce Beer. Good Times might just be the best of all, though.
Drygate Outaspace Apple Ale
Drygate describes its Outaspace Apple Ale as an 'improbable concoction' and on paper it's hard not to argue. Apples normally mix with cider, right? So what's this ale all about? In truth, it's a bold creation, the apples giving the Outaspace the sort of kick you'd get from a sour beer, with hints of liquorice and cinnamon giving the unusual flavour an extra kick. Fortune favours the brave and, with the Outaspace, the risk pays off.
1814 Spey Valley Lager
Sometimes a refreshing pilsner is just the ticket, whether its something to complement a spicy meal, or we're having unseasonably warm weather. There are a few north of Hadrian's Wall, with the omnipresent West Brewery's St Mungo leading the way, and Stewarts' Brewery offers a cool alternative with the Germanic influence of their Franz Craft Lager. Up in Speyside, an area better known for the malt whisky trail, the Spey Valley Brewery's 1814 Lager is a wonderful creation; a Pilsner-style beer made with that famous Speyside water, an abundance of Czech and German hops and a genuine Pilsner yeast strain.
Fallen Brewery Chew Chew
A salted caramel milk stout from Fallen, a brewery based at an old railway station in Kippen, rural Stirlingshire. It sounds like it might be overwhelmingly sweet, but thankfully its Chew Chew is a stout you'll return to over and over again. Brewed with dark Belgian candi syrup, lactose and sea salt, chocolate and fudge flavours permeate this delicious can. You'll crack open another, and then another, and then another...
Swannay Brewery Scapa Special
Swannay Brewery, located 30 minutes from Kirkwall, the remote capital of the Orkney Islands, has produced a classic pale ale from the end of the world. Packed full of subtle flavour, the Scapa Special is a highly sessionable and easily drinkable beverage, with its citrus aroma giving way to a dry biscuity finish. The label design, which shows a sinking ship, depicts the voluntary scuttling of an internet German fleet at the close of World War 1. Swannay is a brewery in touch with the history of its land and water, and they make delicious drinks too.