The rich history of brewing in Scotland goes back 5,000 years and is prevalent in Scottish culture. In fact, the ancient technique of using bittering herbs such as heather, myrtle, and broom in beer-making continued longer in Scotland than in other parts of the world.
Today, Scotland’s brewing techniques are still notable. There are many well-established and up-and-coming breweries throughout the land, with large exports of unique craft beers. The American-Scottish Foundation has compiled a list of six bonny Scottish beers that you should give a taste.
HoppyNESS – Loch Ness Brewery
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Loch Ness Brewery is located on the shores of Scotland’s largest and most famous loch. The loch water is the very source of the brewery’s award winning range of beers. HoppyNess, Loch Ness’ American style pale ale, is one of its very finest brews. The golden orange ale has a fruity and spicy aroma, with a sweet, yet malty taste infused with pine. The herbal hops provide just the right amount of bitterness, paired with a grapefruit tang. This sunny, citrusy beer is a refreshing, light pale ale perfect after a hike around the loch. Find out more here.
Organic Blonde- Black Isle Brewing Company
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Black Isle Brewery is the UK’s premier organic brewery, making their beers exclusively with organic malt and hops grown on farms without chemicals. The brewery is based near Inverness, where the owners started off by brewing in a bucket in a shed in 1998. Their Organic Blonde is a light golden beer with hints of citrus and honey and a delicate hop bitterness. A full biscuity malt keeps the beer from being too fruity. Light, smooth, and extremely refreshing, this golden blonde ale always proves to be a crowd-pleaser. Find out more here.
Bearface Lager – Drygate Craft Brewery
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Drygate is a young Glasgow brewery which started in 2014, and since its birth has enjoyed considerable success. The new, hip brewery draws in a young crowd with its accessible brews and hipster-y label designs. The Bearface Lager is a favorite among Drygate drinkers. The pale lager is clean, crisp and citrusy with malt hops of calypso, amarillo and cascade. This citrus spiced lager is smooth and highly drinkable. The “Tennent’s” of craft beer, few drinkers would turn down a Bearface. Find out more here.
Cuillin Beast – Isle of Skye Brewing Co.
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The Isle of Sky Brewing Co. was formed one evening in 1992, when a few schoolteacher friends met in a pub and lamented the lack of good beer on Skye. Someone joked about setting up a brewery, and from that joke an award-winning brewing company was born. The Cuillin Beast is a pale, lightly sweet ale with traces of honey, caramel, cocoa and citrus. The beer is brewed with live Isle of Skye yeast and sweetened with organic Demerara sugar. Why is such a delicious beer named the Beast? Apparently, the foreman building the brewery asked if they made ‘beastie beer’. The old-fashioned beer currently brewing was so yeasty that the ale was alive with movement. Hence the Cuillin Beast was born. Find out more here.
Tundra – Black Wolf Brewery
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Black Wolf Brewery is a Stirling brewing company named after a legendary Scottish wolf. As this legend has it, many ages ago Viking invaders made to attack Stirling in the dead of night. A howling wolf alerted Stirling’s defenders, who were able to save their town. Tundra is light wheat ale dry-hopped with elderflowers for a fresh, citrus and floral flavour. The beer was a Gold Medal Winner at the prestigious World Beer Awards in 2014. The refreshing brew would be at home at a summer garden party, but with a name like Tundra, it may be equally as welcome on a cold winter’s night. Find out more here.
Kelpie Seaweed Ale – Williams Bros. Brewing Co.
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The Williams Bros. Brewing Co. started life in the humble ‘Glenbrew’ homebrew shop in Glasgow, and now has multiple breweries throughout scotland. Their Kelpie Seaweed Ale is a tribute to ancient Scottish brewing techniques. For one, the beer is a Scottish Gruit, which is an ale brewed with “ancient herbs.” Prior to the 1850’s, coastal alehouses in Scotland brewed with malted barley from fields fertilised by seaweed. This gave the barley a very specific, sea-filled flavor which the Kelpie Seaweed Ale recreates. The dark chocolate ale is brewed with sweet barley and mixed with sea salt. Although the over-all taste is rich with hints of caramel and roasted cocoa, the lightly salty finish will transport you right to the sea-side. Find out more here.