After the Caledonian, Loanhead’s Stewart Brewery are probably the closest producer to BeerCast headquarters in Edinburgh. Throughout the real ale pubs in the city, their beers such as Edinburgh Gold and Copper Cascade are found fairly regularly. Within the last few weeks they have launched a new range of bottle-conditioned beers, so we had to snap a few up to sample. Historically, Stewart have concentrated on cask ales, so their lineup of three new beers (plus Edinburgh Gold) in hand-filled bottles is a welcome change of direction.
Stewart’s first amber ale pours a hazy, opaque dark orange colour – all of their bottle-conditioned range state that they are ‘naturally cloudy’. It smells hoppy with a slight mustiness from the yeast, but none of the promised fruit aromas. It’s very bitter, the hops really coming out on the palate – Embra has almost a pale ale tang to it. It is quite drinkable at 5% though.
Hollyrood smells almost exactly like Edinburgh Gold, the grapefruit citrus flavours are really apparent from the off. Comparisons with their other beer continue on the palate, although Holyrood is slightly more bitter in the finish. This one’s pretty hazy too, although a lighter golden colour than the Embra. It’s pretty refreshing though, with the biscuity aftertaste.
St. Giles (5.0%)
Stewart’s newest dark beer is named after the historical kirk that stands on the Royal Mile, and is classed as a ‘smooth, malty contemporary taste of Edinburgh’. It’s got a wonderful aroma to it, roasted malt and a slight smokeyness that comes through like a porter. Highly carbonated, it fizzes away in the glass as the head vanishes. Tasting very similar to a porter, it’s the pick of the bunch and has a great strength of flavour.