Yesterday we went south of the border for our second best new British beer of 2010 – Thornbridge’s awesome 7.7% imperial stout Saint Petersburg. Today we come back north to bring you the third in our best of 2010 series (in order of release) – the star of June’s Scottish Real Ale Festival, a golden session beer from Argyll.
Fyne Ales Jarl (4.0%)
Fyne Ales, Cairndow, Argyll
(cask only, released June 2010)
Every once in a while a beer turns up that proves why British beers are the best in the world. It’s all very well singing the praises of mighty abv concoctions (which we’re guilty of as much as the next beer website) – but people who snub ‘weaker’ beers for Imperial balsamic-infused walnut porters are missing out. Sometimes a beer like Jarl, the 4% summer seasonal from Argyll’s Fyne Ales, comes along and reminds you that session beers need not be bland or insipid.
One reason for this could be the involvement of one of the breakout hops of 2010 – Citra. This Sierra Nevada-backed powerhouse screams pineapple and tropical fruit from the off, with a lovely slightly bitter grapefruity aftertaste. Jarl was created for Fyne Ales’ summer beer festival in June, and made it down to Edinburgh for the annual SRAF – in fact it was so new it wasn’t even in the official guide. The Viking-themed Jarl (named after the Norse Earls who battled for much of Scotland) was definitely the find of the festival.
We’ve visited Fyne Ales a few times, as BeerCaster MrB hails from nearby Ardrishaig (nearby in Argyll terms, i.e. 30 miles away at the other end of the loch). The Delaps have been quietly winning plaudits and expanding their range further south for a few years now, which is great to see. Last month they collaborated on a beer with ex-Thornbridge brewer Kelly Ryan (who once worked at Fyne). FyneBridge Black IPA was very well received in London, and has recently been spotted at the Three Judges in Glasgow. They have also announced planning approval for a brewery tap, which is fantastic news for the future.
Join us tomorrow for the next in our ‘best of new brews’ feature. Due to the popularity of Jarl, Fyne Ales have decided to add it to their regular range from January 2011 on cask and February 2011 in bottles.