There are so many amazing beers emanating from north of the border at the moment that it can not only be hard to keep up, but nearly impossible to put everything into context. Scotland has some truly classic beers – whether recognised as such or those that fly under the radar. So in this weekly series I will be shining a spotlight on one in particular each Friday, giving you the chance to add one to your tasting cupboard if you’ve never tried it. For this fifth edition there is yet another unsung hero to seek out.
I say unsung because the output of the Cromarty Brewing Company has attracted plaudits from day one (not least from myself), and of course the hop-lovers gravitate towards the incredible AKA IPA (again, not least myself). Yet there are many other beers from the same stable that are just as worthy of your time and one of the very best of those is one of the first beers ever released by Craig Middleton as he began his career. A week shy of five years ago, Cromarty launched their beers to the public at the Kilderkin in Edinburgh, and one of the brand new releases then tastes just as good now as it did then – Brewed Awakening.
6. Brewed Awakening (4.7%)
Cromarty Brewing Co, Cromarty
500 ml bottle
Talking of AKA, whilst hops get the headlines it is malt that really matters – irrespective of the aroma and bitterness, if a beer lacks body and depth then you’ll not head back for a second. For those who are unsure of what I mean by this, head for your nearest stout. The addition of different dark malts on top of the typical pale give so much to the mouthfeel – and beers like Brewed Awakening that also contain oats, wheat and the added extra of coffee really give you a baseline upon which to build. Hops are of the moment, but it is malt that carries the day.
And in Cromarty’s coffee stout they do so with abandon. The Inverness-ground beans give a massive espresso aroma to the beer, and also a corresponding flavour – but the balance of dark and roasted malt plus the slight creaminess from the oats really put this beer into a class apart. I’ve had many coffee beers where the final flavour is acrid or overly bitter, almost slightly burnt, but Brewed Awakening rises above with a hit of coffee flavour that really works. It is the roast that you can taste, and in a beer that perfectly encapsulates what the addition of coffee can do to a stout. Brewed Awakening is a true classic.
Pick it up here:
At Cromarty’s online shop (as individual 500ml bottles)