As the week draws to a close it is time to focus attention once more on another unsung hero of Scottish brewing. This weekly series exists to look at those beers – new and old – that deserve to be on your drinking radar, so that you can hopefully seek them out and discover another classic (if you haven’t managed to try them already, of course). For this entry, the seventh in the series, I’m casting the spotlight not towards a noble 80/- or Scotch Ale but something much more of the moment – a stout that embraces added ingredients…and aluminium.
Since Paul Fallen took back his brand from contract-brewing at Traditional Scottish Ales in Throsk and installed his own kit in an old station building near Kippen he has really shown what he is capable of. You get the impression that the frustration of relying on someone else weighed heavy on him, and released from all of that the gloves have well and truly come off. That switch occurred nearly three years ago, and a lot has happened since – not least of which the decision to move away from glass and install a canning line. This is the latest box to be ticked at Fallen; since the start of the year the cans have taken the place of bottles – and it is the call of the ringpull that leads to a beer that needs to be in your collection – Fallen Chew Chew.
7. Chew Chew (6.0%)
Fallen Brewing Co, Kippen, Stirlingshire
Style: Milk Stout
330 ml can
Actually it doesn’t really matter how it comes to you – bottles of Chew Chew are still available at the moment (check the link to Alesela at the end of this short piece). Chew Chew could be packaged in tupperware and it would still be amazing. You may not get to taste many salted caramel milk stouts – hell, you may not want to – but this beer succeeds (in fact it more than succeeds) because of the balance of flavours in has. And that is the reason why we all drink beer, irrespective of what goes into it and what you pour it out from.
The key to Chew Chew is that its not overly sweet – which is one heck of an achievement given it is brewed with dark Belgian candi syrup and lactose. There are two things that make this happen – the first is the Hebridean sea salt, which really comes out on the initial flavour and offsets the first whack of the sugars. Then you have the unheralded flaked oats that push the body of the beer into a creaminess to help the milk sugars but beef up the entire thing as you drink it. This is a beer, above all, about balance – in fact, it is a lesson in the mastery of balance. To get all of these additions singing is a stunning achievement – and Fallen Chew Chew is a stunning beer.
Pick it up here:
At Online via Alesela (as individual 330ml cans or 500ml bottles)