Tag Archives: Sinclair Orkney

Beer of the Week – Orkney Red MacGregor

The end is in sight, but there are still a few more amazing unsung Scottish beers on the horizon before we hit the 52nd and final beer in this series – and that beer, I should say at this point, is going to be the overall singlemost unsung beer we have currently in this part of the world. So stay tuned for that, due up on Friday the 29th of December. Before then, it’s time to head all the way to Orkney for beer #46.

It’s yet another version of the quasi-style that Scotland does better than anyone. I say quasi-style as a) it makes me sound sophisticated and b) this particular beer falls into the bracket we have seen a lot of so far. Red Ales. Ruby Ales. 80/-. Scottish Exports. Amber Ales. Essentially, what they sometimes hang on the great branching tree of bitter down in England, the roots of which don’t quite get past Carlisle. Anyway you care to categorise them, these beers are cask-hearty and taste amazing at this time of year. Like Orkney’s Red Macgregor.

46. Red MacGregor (4.0%)
The Orkney Brewery, Quoyloo, Orkney
Style: Ruby Ale
500ml bottle

Pick it up here:
At at Scottish Real Ales online (as individual 500ml bottles)

‘Delicate and sophisticated’ goes the byline, and I can totally get this as the amber ale here (or ruby) is toasty, with a caramel backbone and a fair bit of red berry fruit about it. Yet there’s an easy-going nature about it throughout. Soft and floral, this could be the ideal session beer for the late Autumn months as the nutty and bready quality give off a feeling of all the best desserts you can consume at this time of year.

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
26. Williams Bros Midnight Sun
27. BrewDog Kingpin
28. Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack
29. Deeside MacBeth
30. Drygate Ax Man Red Rye IPA
31. Swannay Orkney Session
32. Fallen Platform C
33. Black Isle Porter
34. Top Out Altbier
35. Black Metal Gates of Valhalla
36. Fierce Beer Cranachan Killer
37. Loch Lomond Southern Summit
38. Tempest Old Parochial
39. Williams Bros Profanity Stout
40. Windswept Tornado
41. Campervan Pacific Zest
42. Swannay Sneaky Wee Orkney Stout
43. Cromarty Ghost Town
44. Fyne Ales Vital Spark
45. Knops Musselburgh Broke

Beer of the Week – Orkney Dark Island

The weeks must be getting faster – May is here and it really doesn’t seem like seven days since the last Beer of the Week post. But there you go, we are now into the eighteenth featured unsung Scottish beer for you to try if you haven’t already, and the long lazy days of the Scottish summer can only be just around the corner. But before we all kick back with pale ales and crisp lagers, it’s time for another dark masterpiece.

Before we get to it, time for the elephant in the room. Of all the ‘unsung’ beers I have featured so far surely this one is the most sung about to date. Twice champion beer of Scotland, only this morning it was announced as champion old ale/strong mild at the 2017 Paisley Beer Festival. How can this beer fly under the radar? Well, all of those awards are for the cask version of course, and the bottled version – often surrounded by dozens of contemporaries on the shelves – is every bit as good and should in no way be overlooked. I’m talking about the mighty Orkney Dark Island.

18. Dark Island (4.6%)
Orkney Brewery, Orkney
Style: Old Ale/Stout
500 ml bottle

Pick it up here:
At Orkney’s online shop (as individual 500ml bottles)
At Beers of Europe (as a case of 12x500ml bottles)

If I’ve learned anything relating to the numerous awards and beer judging I have attended over the years, it’s that there’s no smoke without fire. Anything given multiple gongs is the real deal, whether you appreciate the style or have heard of the brewery or not. Dark Island is very much the real deal – a classic Scottish stout in every respect. It’s another that is not referred to as such (see also: Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve) but however you care to slice it, it ticks every box you would want to find in a stout.

For a start, Dark Island is the roastiest beer I have ever tasted, I think. I’ve had German rauchbiers and the like where it seems like the roasting process is continuing as you drink it – but in terms of the quintessential flavour profile for stout, this beer has it utterly covered. The roasted malt comes to the fore and rides over the dark fruits and chocolate that also ends up on the palate. Although this is the first entry for May it would be the perfect beer for late-September, as the leaves start to fall. But we have a lot of beers to get to before then – at any time of year Dark Island is the perfect companion.

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

Beer of the Week – Orkney Skull Splitter

Another weekend begins with a beery recommendation – every seven days throughout 2017 I’ll be shining a light on an unsung Scottish beer that you should track down if you haven’t tried it before, as it deserves to be in your drinking chalice of choice. From brand new beers to old classics, the series will feature a range of different beers from all corners of Scotland. For this eleventh instalment I’m taking a new look at a beer that does far better for it’s country overseas than at home.

I’ve been in several different bottle shops abroad and when I do it’s always a chance to check out what Scottish beer makes it overseas. Almost always there will be BrewDog, some Williams Bros maybe – and several bottles of this particular beer. It seems to have taken on the mantle of carrying the saltaire on its shoulders wherever someone thinks what Scottish beer should be. There aren’t many British labels that have the volume listed in ml and US fluid ounces, for one. I’m talking about the barley wine that puts in the air miles – Orkney Skull Splitter.

11. Skull Splitter (8.5%)
The Orkney Brewery, Orkney
Style: Scotch Ale/Barley Wine
330 ml bottle

Again, continuing the theme of this series, Skull Splitter straddles several beer styles – I’ve always thought of it as a barley wine (it definitely tastes like one) but Scotch Ale holds up with the malt bill and you could probably argue it’s an Old Ale as well. However you categorise it, the export market has been hugely kind to Skull Splitter – it is branded as a Scottish standard-bearer in the Viking fashion with Thorfinn Einarsson on the label looking like you made the worst mistake in history by knocking his pint over. But it’s a beer that really deserves attention on this side of the pond as well.

I’ve had plenty of these quasi-Scotch Wines recently (hey, someone has to) and Skull Splitter is the closest I’ve ever tasted to a liquidised dessert. You could pour this over sponge cake, it is pure rum n’ raisin. There’s figs in there too, and a touch of vanilla – and yet the one thing it lacks is that thunderous blow to match the name. That may come the next morning, but for an armchair fireside sipper after – or much better, during – dessert, Skull Splitter is a beer that deserves all of the attention it gets overseas in our own back yard.

Pick it up here:
At Orkney’s online shop (as individual 330ml 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

BeerCast #66 – Christmas Special 2011

Merry Christmas from the BeerCast to all of our readers and listeners! Our fifth annual Christmas Special podcast is another festive frenzy, as we review six seasonal beers and give our thoughts – both on the contents of the bottle and the ‘Christmassy Factor’ of the label (i.e. whether looking at it puts us in the festive mood). Our first beer brings the seasonal puns straight away – Cotleigh Red Nose Reinbeer (5.0%), from Somerset. We then head to Belgium and sample Het Anker Gouden Carolus Christmas (10.5%), before dealing with the litre growler containing Williams Brothers Nollaig (7.0%). Our fourth beer is another Scottish entrant – Sinclair Atlas Clootie Dumpling (4.3%), named after a traditional Orcadian pudding. After that, it’s back to the continent for De Ranke Père Noël (7.0%), and we finish on a traditional note with the 2011 vintage of Anchor Special Ale (5.5%) – which we taste every year on our Christmas BeerCast. The festive panel this time are Richard, Grooben and Shovels.





1. Red Nose Reinbeer
(5.0%abv)
Cotleigh Brewery, Wiveliscombe, Somerset.
500ml glass bottle

Cotleigh began as a five-barrel startup in an old farmhouse near Tiverton in Devon. Their first beer was Tawny Owl Bitter, debuting in 1979. Success came quickly enough for them to relocate from the Cotleigh Farmhouse to Wiveliscombe in Somerset within the year. Having expanded since, they produce a range of beers – the majority named after birds of prey. Having celebrated thirty years of brewing in 2009, they continue to support the Hawk and Owl Trust with charitable donations. Their Christmas beer might not feature an owl – but it does have a robin on the label, perched on the antlers of the maniacal reindeer…

What They Say
“Guaranteed to give you a nice red glow like Rudolph, this is a highly recommended drink. A smooth long lasting finish with chocolate, toffee and nuts. Pale, Crystal and Chocolate malts; Goldings, Fuggles and Northdown hops.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – I like it – toffee aroma, nice bit of roast, some fruit 7
Grooben – Doesn’t have that thick Christmassy thing going on 6
Shovels – Smoky aroma, slightly pruney, not my cup of tea 5

Label Christmas Rating
8/10 I bet that’s the reindeer Santa breaks out when he has to go through the Gorbals (Grooben)


2. Gouden Carolus Christmas
(10.5%abv)
Brouwerij Het Anker, Mechelen, Belgium.
330ml glass bottle

In 1471 a community of Beguines (a Catholic lay religious order) began a brewery in the Flanders town of Mechelen. Four hundred and one years later, the facility was acquired by Louis Van Breedam – who changed the name to Het Anker (the Anchor brewery). Fast-forward to 1960 and Het Anker produced a range of beer, owned a brasserie, and a local hotel. Their main line of beers these days are Gouden Carolus – named after the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (who was born in Mechelen; to a man titled ‘Philip the Handsome‘). Today we sample their festive Christmas beer.

What They Say
“A strong, dark ruby red beer with character, it contains an alcohol percentage of 10.5 % VOL. Brewed in August, the beer rests a few months to reach an optimal balance. Three kinds of hops and six different kinds of herbs and spices define the rich taste of this Christmas beer. Top-class!” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – That’s cracking – an awesomely Christmassy beer 9
Richard – Star anise flavour, more herby than spicy, great
Grooben – Sweet but not cloying, this really is top class 8

Label Christmas Rating
10/10I don’t think you can get much more Christmassy than that (Richard)


3. Nollaig
(7.0%abv)
Williams Brothers Brewery, Alloa, Scotland.
1 litre glass bottle

BeerCast fans will need little introduction to the beers from Alloa’s Williams Brothers Brewery. One of Scotland’s most prolific producers, the company began life in the Glasgow homebrew shop operated by siblings Bruce and Scott. Having an interest in historical recipes, their Heather Ales range includes the flagship Fraoch heather ale, Kelpie seaweed ale, and Alba – a 7.5% spruce beer we sampled in BeerCast #61. Today we try a brand new release (literally; it appeared the day before our recording) – Nollaig – a 7% beer brewed ‘with Christmas trees’.

What They Say
“We have brewed this special festive ale using malted barley, a variety of high impact specialist hops and hand picked spruce tips which are only ripe for picking during a two week window in the spring. The resiny sweetness of the spruce and malt is countered by a huge hop character, which is just delicious. Limited batch of 800 bottles.” [Label tasting notes]

What We Say
Grooben – Unusual and really sweet, it’s definitely been crafted 8
Shovels – Sweet, piney, sprucey, slightly bitter, it’s a cracker 8
Richard – Like drinking a Christmas tree – the hops make a difference, there’s other things to it 8

Label Christmas Rating
7/10 It’s like a no-frills present (Shovels) Without the tinsel it would be nothing, but it’s a good package (Grooben)


4. Clootie Dumpling
(4.3%abv)
Sinclair Orkney Brewery, Quoyloo, Scotland.
500ml glass bottle

Founded by Roger White in 1988, the award-winning Orkney brewery started in untypical surroundings – an old school house in Sandwick. In June 2004 they merged with the Atlas Brewery of Kinlochleven, to form Highland and Islands Breweries – which in turn was taken over by the Sinclair Brewery Ltd in 2006. Recently we sampled the punchy Skull Splitter as part of our big abv protest BeerCast #64, but today it’s their session-strength Christmas Beer. BeerCaster Grooben – who was raised on Orkney – confirms that a Clootie Dumpling is a traditional steamed suet pudding.

What They Say
“A light tawny beer. It has an aroma of spiced fruits and dried fruits, with hints of smooth roasted malt. Clootie Dumpling has a soft rounded palate, with flavours of dried fruits, citrus fruits and spices.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – I don’t mind the additions but it needs more body
Richard – Inoffensively spiced, but nice and gingerish 6
Grooben – It falls into the “let’s put spices into a beer” trap 5

Label Christmas Rating
4/10 It looks like a Christmas pudding, that’s Christmassy (Richard)


5. Père Noël
(7.0%abv)
Brouwerij De Ranke, Wevelgem, Belgium.
330ml glass bottle

In 1994, a Belgian by the name of Nino Bacelle – who came from a lemonade manufacturing background – began brewing at the Deca brewery in Woesten. Two years later, and with partner Guido Devos on board, Brouwerij Nino Bacelle became Brewery De Ranke. In 2008, they opened their own facility in Dottignies, producing 2,000hl of beer annually (60% of which was for export). Nino’s original 1994 beer is still going – Guldenberg – but they have several more, including a festive Christmas brew called (and with a label featuring) Père Noël.

What They Say
“A fantastic Christmas beer, but one that defies the universal custom of a stronger, spicier beer for the holiday season. It combines a fine balance of malt and hops, complex character, a refreshing dryness, and a gorgeous cellar aroma – but is distinguished by its festive copper colour.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – No huge departure here from Belgian beer in general
Shovels – For a Belgian, it’s not bad. I prefer the spruce beer 7
Grooben – It’s a good beer, decent amount of alcohol 7

Label Christmas Rating
7/10It’s a bit half-assed – a badly drawn Santa hugging a beer (Grooben)


6. Anchor Special Ale 2011
(5.5%abv)
Anchor Brewery, San Francisco.
535ml glass bottle

It wouldn’t be a BeerCast Christmas Special without the latest special festive ale from Anchor. Each year they produce a highly secret recipe, slightly different from all previous years – the 2011 vintage is the 37th in the series. The 2006 edition topped our beer rankings for a long time, and was eventually crowned beer of the year in our 2007 Beer of the Year show, (during which we also tasted the 2007 one). The 2008 version also scored well, before a dip over the last years with the 2009 and 2010. There are never any tasting notes as the San Francisco concern keep the exact ingredients classified, but expect spices, piney freshness and all kinds of winter flavours.

What They Say
“Created in the style of a dark and malty, strong scotch ale, with the addition of selected seasonal spices to compliment the festive season.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – Not as junipery as before, the sweetness comes out
Richard – More sprucey than other Anchors, but more balanced 8
Grooben – Backs up the aroma with flavour better than the previous couple of years 8

Label Christmas Rating
8/10 It is just a tree, but to us this beer is now synonymous with Christmas (Shovels)




Panellists
– (clockwise from top left) Shovels, Grooben, Richard

BeerCast panel verdict
Het Anker Gouden Carolus Christmas 26/30
Anchor Our Special Ale 2011 24½/30
Williams Brothers Nollaig 24/30
De Ranke Père Noël 21½/30
Cotleigh Red Nose Reinbeer 18/30
Sinclair Orkney Clootie Dumpling 17½/30


  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:



Keep those comments and emails coming in – many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to comment on our website this year. Our next podcast is the big one – our fifth annual BeerCast Beer of the Year show. We’ll have the five highest scoring beers from our podcasts this year, sampled by a specially extended panel. Stay tuned for a BOTY preview…

BeerCast #64 – Big BeerCast

Note to self…remember to take photo before drinking the beer

If you’ve been following the BeerCast for the past couple of weeks, you’ll (hopefully) know we’ve been talking a great deal about a recent piece of Government legislation. On the 1st of October, the UK Treasury raised duty on all beer over 7.5% – ostensibly to tackle ‘problem drinking’. We’ve written several posts on why we feel this is a bad idea (here, here and here) – and so today we’re holding a protest podcast. Richard, Shovels and Grooben get together to sample four British beers over 7.5%, and debate the state of UK alcohol taxation (along with vikings, addictive coffee and why you can never lose a greyhound). The four strong beers we drink responsibly are:- Sinclair Orkney Skull Splitter (8.5%), Traquair House Jacobite Ale (8.0%), Thornbridge St Petersburg (7.7%), and BrewDog Abstrakt AB:06 (11.2%). Fight the power!





1. Orkney Skull Splitter
(8.5%abv)
Sinclair Orkney Brewery, Quoyloo, Orkney Islands.
330ml glass bottle

Founded by Roger White in 1988, the award-winning Orkney brewery are another local producer who started in untypical surroundings – in this case an old school house in Sandwick. In June 2004 they merged with the Atlas Brewery of Kinlochleven, to form Highland and Islands Breweries – which in turn was taken over by the Sinclair Brewery Ltd in 2006. All the way back in January 2008, we sampled Orkney Dark Island as part of BeerCast #11. Drinkers in North America may know the brewery best for the very beer we’re sampling today – Skull Splitter is seemingly far more popular over the pond than back home.

What They Say
“Sophisticated, satiny smooth with a deceptively light character, it is a tribute to our colourful forbear Thorfinn Einarsson, the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Classic Skull Splitter aroma – sweet fruity caramel
Shovels – Not as syrupy as I remember, good balance
Grooben – I do like it but probably wouldn’t drink it much 6




2. Traquair Jacobite Ale
(8.0%abv)
Traquair House Brewery, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire.
330ml glass bottle

Traquair House is an extremely impressive, and very old, country estate about an hour south of Edinburgh. Famed in Scottish history for it’s association with the Jacobites, it also contains a thriving microbrewery – which begun in the 18th Century, brewing for the estate workers. The 20th Laird of Traquair re-founded the brewery in 1965, and they specialise in Scottish styles – that are all rich, dark, and above all – strong.

What They Say
“Brewed to celebrate the anniversary of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion the ale proved to be so popular it has become a permanent addition to the range. Based on an eighteenth century recipe the ale is spiced with coriander which gives a remarkably fresh aftertaste.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – Spices linger at the end, needs a bit more body 7
Richard – Not as spicy as I was expecting, it’s a nice old ale7
Grooben – Doesn’t bash you around the head for an 8%er 7




3. St Petersburg
(7.7%abv)
Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire.
500ml glass bottle

The first Thornbridge beer to make it onto one of our BeerCasts was their chestnut honey ale Bracia, back in BeerCast #61. A 10% powerhouse of flavour, we’re following that with another of their big hitters – the fantastic Russian Imperial Stout St Petersburg (7.7%). We already know it’s fantastic, as it was awarded one of our much-prized Best New Beer Awards for 2010. Doesn’t mean we can’t put in on a podcast…

What They Say
“Rich and dark with smoke, subtle peatiness and the power of the dark malts. Molasses and liquorice and chocolate goodness all wrapped up in a smooth, warming liquid.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Black, roasty, creamy, chocolatey, smoky, love it 9
Shovels – Lovely flavours – one of my favourite beers
Grooben – Doesn’t have any bitterness at the back of the palate you get with some strong stouts




4. Abstrakt AB:06
(11.2%abv)
BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
375ml glass bottle

BrewDog are without doubt the most talked-about brewery in Scotland, with their charismatic press releases and wacky ideas. Not afraid to experiment, there’s no denying they always elicit strong opinions. What is often overlooked amidst all the hoo-hah is that they have only been going for just over three years. Their ‘concept beer brand’ Abstrakt is already on the 7th version (a whisky aged Scotch Ale), the original, AB:01, made it to our most recent Beer of the Year Show, and AB:04 (a coffee, cacao and chili Imperial Stout) might just be the best beer they’ve ever made. Can AB:06 cut it?

What They Say
“AB06 is a 11.5% Imperial Black IPA which has been triple dry hopped. This beer is savage; boasting more bitterness and more hops than any BrewDog creation to date, combining loads of awesome malts and monumental amounts of our favourite hops.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – You can definitely tell it’s dry hopped, love those hops
Richard – Very good beer, this could be a great regular
Grooben – Decent, but I expected it to be better 7




Panellists
– (clockwise from top left) Shovels, Grooben, Richard

BeerCast panel verdict
Thornbridge St Petersburg 26/30
BrewDog Abstrakt AB:06 24/30
Sinclair Orkney Skullsplitter 21/30
Traquair House Jacobite Ale 21/30

  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:


Please keep those comments and emails coming in, and check back in a couple of weeks for our next podcast. In the meantime, keep drinking those strong beers wherever you are. In the UK, you can sign this petition against the duty rise. For the BBC article on responsible drinking we discussed during this episode – click here. We’ll be continuing with our strong beer month right the way throughout October. Fight the power!

Autumnal Ales

The concept of seasonality is now one of the hallmarks of modern cooking, pushed to the general public by the ranks of TV chefs and foodie magazines. Everything has a ‘time of year’, whether it’s the British asparagus, salty samphire, or humble mackerel (as one BeerCaster asked for in a fancy Edinburgh fishmonger’s, only to be embarrassed in front of a queue of shoppers when told there were none in the sea at that time of year). But can this approach be transferred to beer? Hops are seasonal, certainly, but after the harvest they can be dried and used at any time. It’s down to the styles and types of beer that can be varied depending on what the calendar says.

Now that Autumn is on us, it’s time to change the attitude and go for something different. The long summer (or in our case, short summer) is over, so the time for light hoppy pale ales is over. No need for urgent, tingling refreshment on a hot day now the clocks have gone back (or forward, as I put mine by mistake). Autumn brings crunchy leaves, darker nights, cool windy afternoons – and should be celebrated by the glorious British bitter. There can’t be another brewing nation on earth that can put out a finer nutty, foaming brown ale than us Brits – and now’s the time to partake.

So until the winter arrives and we all move on to warming stouts and porters, and then Christmas beers with alcohol and spice (before celebrating the return of Spring with zesty golden ales), take time out for a fruity, toffee-ish best bitter. Let the rich mouthfeel and malt characteristics reward you after that long Autumnal walk, or spot of Christmas Shopping (it’s never to early – and most breweries have online stores). Here are five choice Scottish beers for the season – Bitters, Ruby Ales, ESB’s, Amber Ales – all styles are well suited to this time of year. As we head towards November – have a seasonal beer on us.

1. Maverick (4.2%abv)
Fyne Ales, Cairndow, Argyll.
Classic fruity mahogany ale from BeerCast favourites Fyne Ales.

2. Red Kite (4.2%abv)
Black Isle Brewery, Munlochy, Black Isle.
Technically an amber ale, organically brewed north of Inverness.

3. Red Squirrel (3.9%abv)
Arran Brewery, Brodick, Isle of Arran.
Nutty, malty beer that donates to Red Squirrel charities on Arran.

4. St Magnus Ale (4.5%abv)
Highland Brewing Company, Swannay, Orkney.
Another nutty one, but with more roast than the Red Squirrel.

5. Red MacGregor (4.0%abv)
Sinclair Orkney Brewery, Quoyloo, Orkney.
Fruity ruby ale, current silver medal Champion Beer of Scotland.

(looking slightly further afield, five English beers that would go down very well on an Autumn evening are Bath Ales Barnstormer, York’s Yorkshire Terrier, Bristol Beer Factory No.7, Fuller’s ESB, and Daleside Old Leg Over).