Daily Archives: January 7, 2016

Six Scottish Beers You Need to Try

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 

Image via scotlandfoodanddrink.org

Image via scotlandfoodanddrink.org

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

Image via blackislebrewery.com

Image via blackislebrewery.com

 

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 

Image via drygate.com

Image via drygate.com

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. 

Image via skyeale.com

Image via skyeale.com

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 

Image via shop.blackwolfbrewery.com

Image via shop.blackwolfbrewery.com

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.

Image via vivianlouisecooks.wordpress.com

Image via vivianlouisecooks.wordpress.com

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.

Travel Itineraries Provided by VisitScotland

VisitScotland, a partner organization of The American-Scottish Foundation, has provided a set of travel itineraries coinciding with Scotland’s famous tourist routes.

coastaltouristroute Scotland has twelve famous tourist routes that lend to many new discoveries for travellers. The routes include coastal trails such as the Angus Coastal Route and the Fife Coastal Route, explorations of the Borders through the Borders Historic Route, and travels through the Highlands via the Highlands Tourist Route and the North & West Highlands Route. Scotland’s diverse landscape, remote towns and hidden villages are all waiting to be explored.

Find out more about these twelve tourist routes on VisitScotland.com

The detailed itineraries provided by VisitScotland are filled with activities to entertain and excite you as you travel through Scotland’s tourist routes.bluebell-wood-loch-eck-argyll These itineraries vary in length and theme.

They map out activities for visits lasting anywhere between two to fourteen days. The themes span Robert Burns, Scottish heroes, famous castles, and public transport.

inveraray-castle-argyllAn example of one itinerary celebrates ‘2016, the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design’ in Scotland, planning out four days in Glasgow, Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries & Galloway, and Argyll. The travel plans take you through museums, gardens, castles and more.

 

machrihanish-dunes-golf-club

Another itinerary, called “Scotland, the Home of Golf,” maps out a fourteen-day travel plan revolving around golfing throughout Scotland. This travel plan will have you swinging clubs in St Andrews, Aberdeen, Ayrshire and more.

To read more about these travel guides, or find help planning out your vacation, head to this link from VisitScotland and find the itinerary that’s right for you.

See you in Scotland!

Images via visitscotland.com

Making Scottish Fare in America: Full Scottish Breakfast

For ex-pats missing traditional Scottish fare, or for Americans wishing to give the cuisine a try, it can be difficult to recreate Scottish recipes with only American ingredients. But hae nae fear! The American-Scottish Foundation has written up a three- part guide to cooking up Scottish eats- even here in the USA.

Hungry for breakfast?

Image via visitscotland.com

Image via visitscotland.com

If you travel in Scotland, you’re likely to encounter a “Full Scottish Breakfast” somewhere along the way, whether at a cozy pub, a grand hotel or a tiny B & B.

The Scots’ classic “full” breakfast is sure to leave you feeling just that. Here is a guide to making your own.

 Full Scottish Breakfast

Juice- With or without pulp- or as the Scots say, “bits.”

A hot, strong pot of breakfast blend tea.

A small bowl of plain yogurt, with fruit and muesli toppings.  

A side of fresh fruit.

Oatcakes. These oat-crackers are a delicious breakfast treat, especially topped with a bit of jam. However, oatcakes can prove elusive in the USA. Worry not- oatcakes are surprisingly easy to bake yourself! Use this recipe from epicurious.com:

Image via recipeshubs.com

Image via recipeshubs.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 large baking sheets. Place oats in large bowl and sift flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in.
  2. Use your fingers to rub in shortening until the mixture is a coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir into a dough.
  3. Transfer dough to floured surface and roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds, and arrange with space on the baking sheets. 
  4. Bake oatcakes until edges are pale golden (Around 12 minutes.) Let cool for 5 minutes. 

A selection of cereals. A Scottish favourite is Weetabix, which thankfully is widely available in US grocery stores today!

Image via evokekitchens.ie

Image via evokekitchens.ie

A steaming bowl of porridge. Rather than using instant quaker oats, cook your oats the old-fashioned way, on the stove with milk, butter, and sugar.

Plenty of fresh toast, cut up and buttered to perfection.

Half of a tomato, broiled.

A strip of bacon. In the UK, bacon is closer to a thin slice of ham, so substitute as you wish!

A “banger” or two. (Link sausages.)

A tattie scone. Scottish potato scones are not easy to come by in the US, so we recommend cooking up your own with this recipe from bbcgoodfood.com:

Image via domesticsluttery.com

Image via domesticsluttery.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of Potatoes, peeled and cooked
  • 1/2 tsp spoon salt
  • 2oz butter
  • 4oz self raising flour

Recipe:

  1. Mash potatoes, mixing in the salt, butter and flour.
  2. Place on floured surface, knead lightly and roll out to a thickness of 1cm.
  3. Cut into triangles and cook on a hot, greased griddle for about 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve while they’re hot!

Sautéed mushrooms. Easily pan-fry with a bit of butter, salt and pepper.

Baked beans- From a can is fine!

One egg. Scrambled, poached, over-easy- that’s up to you!

And, finally, the famous black pudding. Black pudding is no sweet treat- it’s actually made of pigs’ blood, fat, oats, and spices. For those who want to try their hand at the savoury snack, here is a fairly simple recipe from epicurious.com:

Image via theguardian.com

Image via theguardian.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh pig’s blood
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups steel-cut (pinhead) oatmeal
  • 2 cups finely diced pork fat (or beef suet), finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease 2 glass loaf pans. (Metal will not work, unless well-lined with parchment.) Stir 1 teaspoon of salt into the blood.
  2. Boil 2 1/2 cups water and stir in the oats. Bring down to a simmer and stir occasionally for 15 minutes, until soft but not mushy.
  3. Pour the blood through a fine sieve into a large bowl, removing any lumps. Stir in the fat, onion, milk, pepper, allspice and remaining salt. Add the oatmeal and thoroughly mix. Divide the mixture into the pans, cover with foil, and bake for an hour, until firm. Let cool.
  4. To serve, cut a half-inch slice off the loaf and fry in butter or oil until the edges are slightly browned.

There you have it- a “Full Scottish Breakfast!” Aren’t you stuffed just thinking about it?

International Contemporary Circus Exposure 2016: Exclusive Opportunity for ASF Members

ASF Members and Friends can enjoy special ticket pricing for ‘Circus Now: International Contemporary Circus Exposure 2016’ at NYU Skirball Center (566 LaGuardia Place).

“Think you know circus? Think again. This January, for three spectacular nights, New York audiences are invited to re-imagine their perceptions of a timeless art, as the world’s most innovative and inspired companies take the stage for ‘Circus Now: International Contemporary Circus Exposure 2016.'”

“Be astounded at the innovation of the modern circus at Circus Now! Three nights of over 50 artists pushing the boundaries of the art.” – New York Magazine 

The ASF exclusive offer is a 25% discount off of all levels of tickets:

46c2c4fb-15b3-428f-a328-fddb6b8ede17Level 1 – $37.50 (reg. $50)

Level 2 – $33.75 (reg. $45)

Level 3 – $26.25 (reg. $35)

Level 4 – $26.25 (reg. $35)

To purchase discounted tickets use the official code: CN4

Order tickets by going online and entering the code, or by calling 888.611.8183 and mentioning the code. You can also bring a printout of this offer to the NYU Skirball Center Shagan Box Office – 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington.

Find out more about the different ‘Circus Now’ shows which the ASF discount applies for on NYUSkirball.org.