Saturday, 8 September 2012

Beer Week day one

See this sickly sweet tablet fudge? Full of sugar. That’s you, that is.
That’s what you put in your beer.
That’s your main source of fermentables.

Where to start? In town early yesterday for the Scottish Brewing Archive Association conference, the theme of which was the commonality between whisky and beer making. This is not a theme I was terribly enthusiastic about initially, but the speakers – Douglas Murray from Diageo and Gordon Motion from Edrington – found plenty to stir my interest. One of the more interesting facts was that distillers actually encourage a lactic and acetic fermentation of their wash, as it gives more flavour to the whisky. Stuart Cail of Harviestoun followed up talking about aging Ola Dubh in Highland Park casks. The buffet was a cut above the usual standard too.

Afterwards there was a pub crawl of architecturally interesting pubs planned, to which I dragged a couple of folk from the conference. I say planned because we got to the second pub, the Laurieston Bar, and just got stuck there because it’s such a fantastic pub. Fortunately no members of the public we didn’t know had actually turned up for the crawl, so we were able to abandon the mission without problem.

Before I knew it it was time to head over to WEST for the ceremonial tapping of the specially brewed Beer Week beer:

I was delighted to see the beer being served by air pressure. Made it lovely and frothy. The Un-Kölsch has bready, Horlicksy malt and a crisp, citric aroma, with subdued bitterness finishing it off. Hopefully Ron will like it when he’s doing his lager talk on Monday.

I knew in advance that there would be too much going on for me to make it to everything, so I sadly missed a Meet the Brewer with Tryst, one of my favourite breweries, and the opening night of Inn Deep, which by all accounts was heaving. But we did get up to the Three Judges who had taken us all by surprise by putting on the first cask of Zombier in Glasgow. They sold a nine of a 6.9% in three and a half hours. Wow.

Beer Week carries on today.


  1. Surely whisky is essentially distilled beer, something it makers seem distinctly reluctant to admit.

  2. It is, sort of, but not really. On a very simplistic level it is. The actual details of the mashing and fermentation process differ quite dramatically.