Craft Beer Tasting

Red Kite Ale, Black Isle Brewing Company, 4.2% ABV red kite ale black isle breweryA fine looking ale this is.  Another Scottish brewery featuring on

Black Isle claim to be the UK’s premier organic brewery making world class beers from the finest organic malt and hops grown on farms without chemicals, as nature intended.

Based near Inverness, the capital of the Highlands of Scotland, it is our beautiful, unspoilt, unpolluted, wild, and not a little bit wet highland home – and we love it! We have our own organic farm where we grow malting barley for brewing. We even have our own brewery house cow, called Molly, who eats the malt from the brewery mash tun and gives us 20 pints of fresh creamy milk every day.


We live, work and brew delicious organic beer at Allangrange, translated from the Gaelic as “a fertile field of corn.” We see ourselves and what we do, as a natural link between our traditional cultural heritage and the contemporary craft beer world.

Please see their website for more or follow them on Twitter.

They describe the Red Kite Ale as follows:

As the name suggests, this amber ale lifts the spirits by infusing classic British hops with a malty backbone to create this medium bodied thirst quencher. It’s the perfect year-round beer – refreshing in summer and satisfying in winter.
A corker with a winter vegetable soup and equally at home when sharing your mouth with a Glenmorangie 18-year-old malt.

My thoughts: red kite ale black isle breweryWell, it’s nice. It’s very nice, in fact, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything special.  In fact, on the bottle they talk about blackcurrants and things, quite frankly I didn’t get any of that.  What I got was an enjoyable, red ale.  A bit biscuity, a good bitterness (in fact, if you asked me to pick a style, I would have said English Bitter).

Other than that it was a great colour and the head was creamy and long lasting, which I like.

I would happily drink it again and again (and again), but don’t take my word for it- try it yourself!

Craft Beer Tasting

Dark Island, Orkney Brewery, 4.6% dar island orkney breweryThis one should be good!

The tranquil Orkney Islands, with their fertile farming lands and fishing grounds, have been inhabited for over 5000 years. The Orkney brewery is housed in the former schoolhouse in Quoyloo 1 mile from Skara Brae in the heart of Neolithic Orkney…


You’ll find everything you need on their website (/home.html) or you can get them on twitter @OrkneyBrewery.

Dark Island is an iconic beer: a standard-bearer for traditional Scottish ales. In cask, this beer has twice won CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Scotland.

On the nose, this dark beer offers bitter chocolate, figs, toffee and hints of fruit.

On the palate, this resolves into beautiful, silky-smooth, coffee-and-chocolate flavours, followed by figs, dates and dried fruits, with a very appealing, lingering aftertaste of fruits and hop bitterness.

A very dark beer with a deep ruby tint, displaying a tight, smooth, almost white head

Chocolate, winter fruits and dried fruits, with hints of smooth roasted malt, coffee, nuts and toffee

Chocolate, coffee and roast malt flavours, giving way to warm winter fruits and a balanced, more-ish aftertaste

Key Ingredients
Chocolate malt, crystal malt and wheat give this beer its smooth, full-bodied, maltiness and sweetness; First Gold and Goldings hops combine with the malt flavours to deliver the winter fruits and dried fruits aspects

My orkney brewery dark island

A very dark colour with a hint of rich ruby in it if held up to bright light- quite beautiful.  A creamy, pale, beige head.  A slightly alcoholic bite on the nose, but mainly rich, roasty coffee and chocolate.

Full of flavour.  The roast coffee and chocolate on the nose follows through to the taste, along with something like a sticky toffee pudding- dried fruit and caramel.  A dry finish despite the sweetness you would have thought from the flavours.  More effervescent than I was expecting, resulting in a bit of a smoky aftertaste as the roast aromas are given off.

A real winner- can I have some more?

Craft Beer Tasting

Jarl blond ale, Fyne Ales, 3.8% ABV fyne ales jarl

 Jarl. An interesting name and an interesting ale, too.

From their :

Modern British Beers
At Fyne Ales we are all about producing an outstanding range of modern British beers, which we make in a spectacular location, and with integrity in everything we do. Our beers are built on the British Cask Ale tradition, Britain’s contribution to the global beer culture. This is a method that allows us to pack large amounts of flavour into relatively low alcohol beers. To this we have added a focus on new beer styles and big flavoured hops from the New World. This enables us to produce bold hop-forward beers that retain balance and subtlety.

They call it a hoppy, blond session ale. and describe it as:

Light and golden colour with a strong citrus and hop aroma. Citrus and grassy hop flavours dominate the palate with a light and refreshing dry finish. A superbly drinkable beer.

Follow them on Twitter.

My views: jarl fyne ales

It’s certainly a blond ale.  A light, golden colour and very clear with good carbonation, beautiful lacing on the glass.  It has a good, biscuity malt backbone.  Hops are citrussy, I didn’t find it grassy as they say.  The yeast has impartet the expected peppery, clovey bite to the flavour which I felt was just right and, true to style, not overpowering.

Considering that this comes in at 3.8% ABV I was really surprised at the depth of flavour and the sense of body for this beer.  It had great mouthfeel- a little creamy due to the carbonation and thick head.  All round a jolly nice beer to drink, and at that ABV you could afford to have a couple!

Have you tried Jarl?

Craft Beer Tasting

Gladeye IPA, Drygate Brewing Company, 5.5% ABV drygate gladeye IPA


Uh… OK?


The Brewery launched in May 2014 under the seven-peaked roof of an old box factory (providing the inspiration for the Drygate logo). On the site of the brewery there is a restaurant, events space, sun terrace and bottle shop. The beer hall has a huge floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the brewery which means  you can sit and watch the next batch of beer being brewed. You can also get involved and brew your own (the experiential element they tout there).  You can find out all you could possibly want to know on their website:  You’ll find specifics about the Gladeye IPA there too. You can also follow them on Twitter- they seem like a nice bunch: @drygate.  Drygate is a collaboration between two much better-known Scottish breweries. Williams Bros (see here) and the C&C Group (Tennent’s and Magners).

What they say about the beer:beerliever Drygate Gladeye IPA


What I thought:

Firstly- easy on the CAPS lock, guys.  The label is cool- Drygate have used Glasgow School of Art alumni for their artwork, and it is a nice touch, but on to the drinking…

Delicious.  The Gladeye IPA is a very balanced beer, with lovely citrus aroma.  There is some malty caramel in there.  For an IPA, it was much maltier than I was expecting, with a rich mouthfeel.  The knock-on effect of this was that it was also much less hoppy than I was expecting.  This is probably because IPAs are getting hoppier and hoppier, and in comparison to what you might call by modern standards “an american IPA” this was a little underwhelming, and very British- maybe a bit more reserved than a brash American upstart.

If you’re looking for an easy-drinking 5.5% ale, then this is a great place to start.

Craft Beer

Oak Aged Treacle Porter, Innis & Gunn, 7.4% ABV

Beerliever Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Treacle PorterInnis & Gunn are an Edinburgh based brewery with a catalogue of interesting sounding specialty beers like this Oak Aged Treacle Porter. More info about the brewery and their selection .

What they say:
Rich and complex porter inspired by a 1929 book by F. Marian McNeill called ‘The Scots Cellar’, which contains a recipe which incorporates treacle at the end of the brewing process. This book suggests that treacle was added to beers as long as 100 years ago to create a more rounded mouthfeel and longer finish.

What I thought:
Visually it’s a beautiful deep red colour. Not much head to speak of, and retention Beerliever Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Treacle Porterof what there was was a bit lacking. Definitely the smell of treacle on the nose along with complex malts. Unfortunately that’s where my enjoyment stopped. For me the treacle flavour was completely overpowering and really all that I could taste. It was not like any porter I’ve had before, and one which I probably wouldn’t walk 500 miles for.

Have you tried this beer?  Do you agree or disagree with my review?  Leave a comment below!



Craft Beer Tasting

7 Giraffes, Williams Bros Brewing Co, 5.1% ABV

7 Giraffes is an ale from the Williams Brothers Brewing Company based in Alloa, Scotland. An eclectic brewery with a number of unique beers on offer.

Beerliever Williams Bros 7 GiraffesMuch more information can be found about their history here. Find them on Twitter.

The name of the beer comes from the 7 different malts used, and, allegedly, the fact that a little girl thought that a 7 looks like a giraffe.

What they say about the beer:
A blend of 7 grains, 3 hop strains and a late infusion of Elderflower & Lemon: This aromatic IPA was named by Scott’s daughter. It pours a deep gold with aroma’s of elderflower and citrus hops, followed by sweet caramel. On the tongue the biscuity malts are perfectly balanced with the bitterness of the hops, freshness of the lemon & lingering floral elderflower aftertaste. An extraordinary brew. (Source)Beerliever Williams Bros 7 Giraffes

What I think about it:
First off, it’s a gorgeous, bright, sunshine gold. Simply beautiful! On the nose it’s immediately hoppy and the word I want to use to describe it is ‘exciting’. To taste, there’s a lot of hoppiness in terms of character and aroma, then the bitterness kicks in as a delayed reaction in just the right way which isn’t overpowering. For such a light ale this is definitely a great candidate for a summer barbecue.  For me, the elderflower wasn’t the most prominent flavour- maybe that’s a good thing- I felt like the character was coming from the hops.Beerliever Williams Bros 7 Giraffes

Have you tried Williams Bros Brewing Company 7 Giraffes?  Leave a comment below!