As we are now into the second month of the year, it is time for the fifth in my series of fifty-two unsung Scottish beers that need to be in your viewfinder if you’ve never managed to try them before. So far as January ran its course we have had beers from Fyne Ales, Swannay, Broughton and Traquair House, and for this next instalment we move fifteen miles or so due east from the last of those to Tweedbank, the new(ish) home of Tempest Brewing Co.
Aside from all the newly-popular barrel-aged or soured styles that we have access to these days, there can’t be a more instantly divisive style out there than the lager. Through no fault of its own it has been sullied somewhat by the global brewing concerns as they sought to appeal to the everyman and woman drinkers out there. This is a crying shame, as the classic Helles and Pilsners of continental Europe are not only delicious but with nothing to hid behind also one of the hardest challenges for brewers to master. And with Easy Livin Pils, few have mastered them like Tempest.
5. Tempest Easy Livin Pils (5.0%)
Tempest Brewing Co, Tweedbank, Scottish Borders
330 ml bottle
Irrespective of its place as one of the world’s formative beer styles, Pilsners deserve to be in your fridge because they are completely approachable and when made this well, nigh-on unbeatable. As with all of their other beers, Tempest have added the twist of New Zealand hops to this Continental challenger, and being extensively dry-hopped it backs up the dry baseline from the malt with the expected hop bitterness but aided by a hugely uplifting hit of citrus that really surprises – and proves the adage that sometimes you can improve on perfection.
Throughout their career, this is the masterstroke of Tempest; this ability to create enormously drinkable beers by adding their trademark hit of South Pacific flavour. The vinousness of kiwi hops lends themselves beautifully to classical European and North American styles – there’s just something about their arrival into the world of Pilsner that truly works. If anyone you know loves lager then get them one of these and see where it takes them – Easy Livin is one of the most underrated beers in the UK and one of the very best lagers these islands have yet produced.
Pick it up here:
At Tempest’s online shop (as individual 330ml bottles)