Beer of the Week – Alechemy Five Sisters

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 in Beer of the Week | No Comments

As the week draws to a close it does so with the added boost of a beer or two. But if you were contemplating a single beer – one that sums up what Scottish brewing is about, what to choose? Well you came to the right place, as every Friday on the BeerCast I’ll be highlighting an unsung hero of brewing north of the border, and explaining just why it should be in your possession as swiftly as possible. It’s the fourteenth step of the journey, and we are in Livingston.

There you’ll find Alechemy Brewing, recently having moved but with a hugely welcome investment they have been able to expand and are now looking towards a future filled with canning, exports and Alechemy-branded bars. It’s fantastic news but of course wouldn’t mean much if the beers weren’t up to the task. They are, of course, and the latest Beer of the Week is one of the first they ever produced – and it’s another fantastic Scottish Red Ale – Alechemy Five (or 5ive) Sisters.

14. Five Sisters (4.3%)
Alechemy Brewing Co, Livingston, West Lothian
Style: Red IPA
500 ml bottle

Whether the 5 is silent or not, this is a enormously welcoming beer. Named after the quintet of shale bings near the town – spoil heaps to you and me – that are a local landmark (and can be seen by anyone flying into or out of Edinburgh airport), this is a throwback to the earliest days of the brewery when alongside beers such as Cockleroy and Cairnpapple their IPAs took their titles from nearby landmasses. Those two were black and golden and became Black Aye PA and Ritual respectively – but Five Sisters has retained its geographic moniker and carries the day with it.

An inviting colour, it is really a hop-forward amber ale but the enormous nose is pure Chinook; that balancing act of leafy, spicy herbal and slightly zesty citrus. There’s a fair bit of caramel in the flavour – which for me is the signature taste of a Scottish red ale (check Skye Red five beers ago). Yet unlike that beer this one rounds out with less of the nutty bitterness and more of the citrus hop flavour. It really is a fantastic act of balance and a beer you could literally drink for as long as you wanted. Five or 5ive, it is a stone-cold cla55ic.

Pick it up here:
At Hippo Beers online (as individual 500ml 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
9. Isle of Skye Red
10. Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve
11. Orkney Skull Splitter
12. Windswept Wolf
13. Kelburn Dark Moor

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