After a long and exhausting week at work, I like to unwind with a nice chilled glass of wine or bottle of beer. In the past I would have been happy to pop open a bottle or two of Peroni, San Miguel or Kronenbourg, although in recent times I have been doing my bit to sample some of the wonderful craft beers that are brewed across the UK.
According to SIBA - The Society of Independent Brewers, there are hundreds of independent microbrewers producing a wide range of bottled and cask ales, beers and lagers.
AleselA, run by HairyMonster Stuart Regan, are an online real ale and craft beer retail store, offering a comprehensive range of the high quality bottled ales produced by numerous microbreweries in Scotland, as well as a selection of American and European bottled beers.
In addition to the online side if their business, AleselA are members of Lanarkshire Farmer Markets and I have been lucky enough to meet them at my local market in Clarkston where I have sampled a number of great beers.
Here's their story;How did you get started?
After being made redundant after 17 years in the computer manufacturing industry I was encouraged to consider starting my own business. Everyone expected me to start a computing company but being a fan of real ale, I decided to take the opportunity to start a business which would let me combine work and pleasure. Surely this must be everyone's dream?
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
There are plenty of organisations out there who can give advice to small businesses. They are there to help so make sure you use them!
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
It would be great to finally get a premise in Glasgow to allow us to sell direct to the public. With more space we could also start shipping quality Scottish craft beers to the US and the rest of the world.
If you could only have one of your own products, what would it be & why?
Cromarty Brewing Co's Red Rocker combines the best of traditional Scottish brewing with new world hoppy beers. The best of both worlds.
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
The better half obviously, we can put the world to rights as usual and she can amuse me with her terrible jokes :-)
On the menu, i'll be keeping it simple and will be tucking into my favourites - lentil soup, chilli con carne, Thorntonhall Farmhouse Alba ice cream
Thanks to AleselA, I have been able to try lots of different craft beers from across scotland, some of them are brewed within just a 30 mile radius of home. Cairnpapple IPA by Alechemy Brewing in Livingston, California Common by Knops Beer Company in Edinburgh, and West Highland Way by Loch Lomond Brewery in Alexandria are three of my favourite but I know that over time that this list will grow with more recommendations from The HairyMonster.
With hundreds of craft and microbreweries across the UK, there are so may different styles and flavours out there waiting to be tasted. Next time you're in the mood for a cold beer, check out your local off licence for independent craft beers instead of plumping for the usual suspects. Each week when I do my own shopping, I buy two or three individual bottles of beer, it's a great way of trying new things and you never know when you'll find a new favourite.
In the words of acclaimed author, the late Hunter S. Thompson, "Good people drink good beer" What are you going to be drinking next?