I have a keen interest in most types of drinks, but one I’ve never really been into is beer, despite my dad and friends being regular lager drinkers. I always thought they had an unpleasant stale smell, and tasted worse. The last time I tried a beer was several years ago, probably a mass-market lager like Budweiser or Tennent’s.
Having recently watched Olly Smith’s Ale Trails on The Travel Channel and seen the wide variety of styles around, I thought now was the time to dive into the world of beers and see if there was a style I liked. I popped into my local wine shop (Who also happen to have a good selection of craft beers) and asked the gentleman to select a few styles of Scottish beers to get me started.
I took out my finest chalice (Well, my only one!) and got to work. First up was the lightest of the trio, Brewdog’s Kingpin 4.7% “21st Century Lager” from Aberdeenshire, which came in a 330ml can. Pale in colour, it definitely had a far fresher smell what I remembered from those I had tried in the past. It had a cleaner, crisper taste, but the aftertaste still had some of that almost staleness I wasn’t so keen on. It was much better than what I had tried before, so I was optimistic that I would find a style I liked.
The superbly named “The Pale Armadillo” pale ale from Tempest Brewing Co in the Scottish borders was next. It came in a 330ml bottle, at a surprisingly low 3.8%. In the glass, it was a touch darker, with a more robust fruity aroma. It had more flavour too, and was a world apart from what I’ve tried before. It had a bitter finish, but it tickled my taste-buds more than the lager.
Last up was the undeniably Scottish ruby ale, Red MacGregor, from The Orkney Brewery. It was a much darker brown in the glass, with a malty, biscuity aroma. The taste was more robust and malty too, and more bitter, without the juicy fruity taste of the other two. I’d never tried as dark a beer before, and although I didn’t love it immediately, the taste started to grow on me.
I’m glad I decided to give beer another chance, as there are so many producers and styles out there. Next month, I have a trip to Dublin arranged, so a trip to the Guinness Storehouse tour is a must. Cheers!