Beer of the Week – Skye Red

Posted by on Mar 3, 2017 in Beer of the Week | One Comment

Friday has rolled around again so it’s time to fire up the spotlight and shine it on another Scottish beer that deserves a place in your beer cupboard. We are inundated with IPAs, sours and all kinds of amazing flavours from around the world (and long may that continue) but you also need to keep the classics in mind – and that’s why this series exists; these are 52 of the most unsung beers from Scotland that you should seek out, if you’ve never tried them before. This next instalment sees us reach another month and celebrate March with a red ale.

There are few more evocative parts of Scotland than the Isle of Skye, and the brewery there (there’s always a brewery close by) has taken the local environment to heart. This particular beer is their flagship and used to be known as Red Cuillin after the sunset striking the nearby mountains, but changed name when the brewery rebranded in mid-2014. The recipes remained the same however and this particular beer – the first that the brewery produced, back in 1995, has remained at the forefront of their lineup. It is the quite brilliant Skye Red.

9. Skye Red (4.2%)
Isle of Skye Brewery, Uig, Skye
Style: Red Ale
500 ml bottle

When you think of red ales at first your mind tends to wander over the Irish Sea, but Scotland has given the world some of the very best (it’s a guarantee that Skye’s won’t be the only version in this series). There’s a history of brewing bitter-ish beers up here of course, with the Shilling beers of lore, and it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to introduce some Crystal malt – as is the case with Skye Red – and you instantly get a deeper caramel element to the flavour. This works perfectly with the UK hops and leaves a nigh-perfect red ale as the result.

Skye Red is one of the nuttiest beers I have had – there’s a touch of the ESB about it – but it has more sweetness than the first beer in this series (Fyne Ales Highlander) for instance. Everything is in balance and nothing leaps out, which is something that keeps you coming back. Session Beers might be one of the newer trends to hit craft brewing – part of the natural cycle of hop-led boom and palate-led bust I guess – but for one of the formative Scottish session ales, brewed the same way for 22 years and counting, you need look no further than this supreme example.

Pick it up here:
At Isle of Skye’s online shop (as a case of 12x500ml bottles)

Beer of the Week Series:
1. Fyne Ales Highlander
2. Swannay Old Norway
3. Broughton Old Jock
4. Traquair House Ale
5. Tempest Easy Livin Pils
6. Cromarty Brewed Awakening
7. Fallen Chew Chew
8. Black Isle Hibernator

1 Comment

  1. Stravaiging around Scotland
    March 3, 2017

    Skye Red is one of my favourites, very nutty as you say. Another good red ale is Big Red from Blackwolf.

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