From North of the Border

Today is St. Andrew’s Day, the National Day for Scotland. On this day, the Saltire flies from official buildings across the land, and Scots ex-pats and descendants the world over recall the homeland with fondness.

It’s also a good day to drink Scottish beer. The beers of Scotland are historically more malt-based and less hoppy than their English cousins, although they are just as prone to a wide spectrum of nuance, variation, and subtle surprise.  The Scots also preserve an ancient tradition of brewing with herbs other indigenous adjuncts. Looking for a good one? Try these recommendations:

Harviestoun Brewery:
Old Engine Oil (strong dark ale, 6% ABV), and its strongder, darker cousins, the Ola Dubh line. These are aged in Highland Park whisky barrels of 12, 16, 30, or even 40-year vingates (the whisky, not the beer). These are full-forced intense brews that are to be respected — and loved.

Orkney Brewery:
Most famous for the recently-controversial Skullsplitter (an excellent Wee Heavy), they also brew the wonderful Red MacGregor and the dark stout Dragonhead. Worth seeking out!

Williams Brothers Brewery:
Personal favorites of The Editors here at PermsPick’s, this creative brewery has a line of historically-inspired ales that trace their native roots back thousands of years. Fraoch (Heather Ale) is their flagship brew; equally delicious are the Grozet (Gooseberry & wheat), Ebulum (Elderberry), Kelpie (Seaweed Stout) and Alba (Pine).

Belhaven Brewery:
Their St. Andrew’s Ale is a great example of the classic Scottish Ale: malt-forward and easy-going; the Twisted Thistle is a wonderful north-of-the-border take on the English IPA style.


Slàinte mhòr!


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Filed under beer history, beer pick, Scottish Beer, Uncategorized

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