I recieved a nice little package of Scottish beers courtesy of my Scottish friend, Lachie. Cheers for these bud!
One of the bottles was Crabbie's Ginger Beer, which has featured on the blog already. If my opinion on that has changed, I'll post an update. The other three were as follows.
First up is Deuchars IPA, from Caledonian, AKA the Edinburgh Brewery, a beer that I don't believe I've ever seen around Cork but I reckon it's available elsewhere in the country. This English-style IPA has a nose of cool herbal and floral hops atop a creamy malt biscuit base, with great balance but not a whole lot else. The taste is much better, with bitter citrus fruit rind leading into warmer toffee-hinted malts, while the elderflower note from the hops stays around throughout.
Low key, easy-going and very refreshing, it's definitely one worth exploring.
Harviestoun are more widely available in this country, with Dunnes Stores stocking their Bitter & Twisted, Old Engine Oil and this, Schiehallion, a lager. It looks and smells like any good pale lager, with grainy light malt propping up the lovely - and very prominent - hop profile. Once again, good balance and not much else. Also, once again, things get much better on the palate, with gorgeous citric hop notes interspersed with notes of bubblegum.
Another very refreshing beer, and a totally satisfying lager.
Finally, we come to Orkney's Dark Island. I've heard great things about this, and it was definitely the beer I was most excited for of the bunch. True to it's name, it is indeed dark, almost black in fact. Darkness is on the nose too, in the shape of the wonderful dark fruit that I just adore in a beer. This is balanced by some bitter coffee, liquorice and, after some warming up, chocolate notes. The taste is similarly delicious, with a rather porter-like opening of coffee and smoke turning quickly into sticky fruit and chocolate notes, with hints of spice and fruit zest, and just a suggestion of Christmas pudding in the finish. Very enjoyable and very impressive richness and complexity, when you consider it's a beer of merely 4.6% ABV.
Certainly the most enjoyable of the three, go try it if you can.