Beer of the Week – Williams Bros Midnight Sun

Just as the weekend rolls into view once more, so does another quick-fire beer recommendation from yours truly. Each Friday throughout 2017 I will be nominating a Scottish beer that I believe is currently flying under the radar, but which in reality is a bona fide classic. If you’ve not tried it, then this will hopefully give you a push towards giving it a go and discovering just what I mean.

For this time, given that it is the last Friday in June and the start of the summer, it’s time to embrace the pouring rain currently being experienced with a spiced porter. Normally the provision of festive evenings and armchairs, there’s no better beer to reach for when the mid-point of the year brings with it horizontal sleet and a cloudbase fifty feet off the ground. Close the shutters, find that armchair and enjoy the incredible Midnight Sun.

26. Midnight Sun (5.6%)
Williams Bros, Alloa
Style: Porter
500 ml bottle

Pick it up here:
At Great Grog’s online shop (as individual 500ml bottles)

Let’s start with the elephant in the room – the spices. So often a foray into the spice rack can bring overload (whether in my cooking or some of the beers I’ve sampled over the years). In both, the key is subtlety and balance. Midnight Sun introduces only a single added ingredient in this regard – fresh root ginger. And it’s a revelation. So many spiced dark beers throw in cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and all kinds of other things. This is fine of course, but the more you add the harder that balance is to achieve. This is beer, not a chai latte.

The reason Midnight Sun works so brilliantly is the ginger adds its characteristic warming hum alongside that of the 5.6% alcohol, really elevating the finish – and with oats added to the beer as well the creaminess comes from the malt bill rather than unnecessary additions of vanilla, cinnamon or other sweeter spices. The ginger doesn’t overwhelm you – but it shouldn’t. Instead its spicing combines with the roasty chocolate malt to create a truly balanced beer and – in my eyes – the best ‘speciality’ beer being brewed in Scotland today. If you’ve never tried it, you really should – simple as that.

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
14. Alechemy 5ive Sisters
15. Loch Ness Light Ness
16. St Andrews Eighty Bob
17. Harviestoun The Ridge
18. Orkney Dark Island
19. Williams Bros Seven Giraffes
20. Cairngorm Black Gold
21. Strathaven Craigmill Mild
22. Black Isle Red Kite
23. Spey Valley Spey Stout
24. Top Out Schmankerl
25. Cross Borders Braw

3 thoughts on “Beer of the Week – Williams Bros Midnight Sun”

  1. It’s a nice beer … not had it in ages but may pick a few up …. don’t recall it being quite as lively as the head on the pint in ur picture suggests mind

  2. This beer, and infact the entire Williams Bros range is really very under-the-radar south of the border. When I lived in Edinburgh a few years ago I thought it was fantastic that Sainsbury’s stocked a fair few of their beers and they are all pretty consistently great, its a real shame that with the exception of Caesar/Augustus they are so hard to get hold of down south.

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