In recent month I have taken a step back from the mainstream brewers in favour of sampling some of the wonderful craft beers that are produced by a growing number of independent breweries across the country. After drinking many bottles, (not at the same time), I thought that it made sense to introduce beer reviews to the blog and help raise the awareness of these skilled brewmasters.
After a visit to my local farmers market at Clarkston and a chat with Stuart of online beer merchant AleselA, I was armed with the first beers that would be up for review. Stuart knows that my own preference is for fresh, zesty Blonde beers so recommended LightNESS from Loch Ness Brewery, Crail Special from St.Andrews Brewing Co, and Pale 90/- from Luckie Ales.
The first beer to make its way into Gerry's Kitchen is Crail Special from St. Andrews Brewing Co. The original Crail Ale was first brewed to celebrate the Crail Food Festival 2012, which is a bright golden ale with long lasting citrus and floral flavours. In less than a year over 5000 bottles have been sold and this ale had gone on to be crowned Champion Beers of Fife at the Kingdom of Fife Real Ale, Cider & Perry Festival last week.
The Crail Special is a double hopped version of the popular Crail Ale. The bottle conditioned beer pours cloudy, (almost like a wheat beer) with a thin soapy head that dissipates quickly leaving a thin wispy foam. Strong grapefruit and bready yeast aromas fill your nose and the grapefruit flavours come through in the tasting balanced with a slight sweetness. The Crail Special is very crisp although not as zesty as I like, but does have a strong bitter finish, which comes from the use of the American Columbus hop. I apologise for the slight blurring of the above photo, but that may be down to the hefty 7% abv punch that comes with the Crail Special. In all seriousness though, it's smooth enough that you would never know that this special run beer is a higher strength offering.
This was the first beer from St. Andrews Brewing Co. that I have tasted and although I enjoyed the flavours, it's not one that I would rush back to buy again. That said, I am interested in tasting the original Crail Ale to see what all the fuss is about, as well as a few of the other brews from the East Coast Brewery.
I will continue to post up small review pieces on the bottles or draught craft beers that I will be drinking over the coming months. Of course, if anyone has any beers that they think I should be trying next, feel free to get in touch.