Introducing the Fyne Ales Farmhouse Project

By Chris Black

At Fyne Ales, our brewery is firmly based in a working farm location in Glen Fyne. That, and the wider Argyll setting has played a huge part in the development of our brewery, and has provided much of the inspiration behind our beers. Highlander, our first beer, was named after the herd of Highland cows we took delivery of in the very same week we started brewing; our IPA series was named after well known lighthouses scattered along the Argyll coastline; and Jarl is named in honour of the Norse and Viking heritage of Mid-Argyll and the Mull of Kintyre. With this new project we wanted to take things a step further and let the actual recipes of our beers be influenced by our surroundings and farmhouse location, and so the Fyne Ales Farmhouse Project was born. 

As one of the country’s only true farmhouse breweries, we are taking inspiration from traditional farmhouse styles from around the world, and will be introducing a modern twist on each brew. These beers will reflect the importance of the four seasons in Glen Fyne, and will reference the rich history of Argyll. The beers are inspired by four fictional characters from the glen and surrounding area; The Farmer, The Cailleach, The Merchant and The Hermit.

The Farmer represents spring and is the first in the series. This beer is brewed as the sun begins to warm the earth, and The Farmer turns his mind to the season ahead and the years first brew. In the grist, he uses what he has at his disposal after the winter, but like Spring his beer is fresh and nourishing, with elegant and refined aromas from the yeast.

The Cailleach brews the Summer beer. A wild witch cast off into the upper reaches of the mountains, she knows the secrets of living off the land, foraging for the wild herbs and spices that grow around her. Her beer is light and full of life, using the riches of the season to add depth and flavour to the beer.

The Merchant has been all over the world sourcing ingredients from its furthest reaches. He returns from his travels in the autumn, and makes use of the exotic hops and spices he has come across in the last year. His beers are strong and dark, balanced by a sharply acidic edge.

The Hermit spends his time in the glen in perfect isolation, reflecting on a lifetime of solitude. To stay warm through the long winter he brews an extra strong and dark beer, that is rich and malty. Sometimes he experiments with the different ingredients that he has preserved for the season. 

All of these beers will have their own small-batch spin offs; this might be barrel ageing, or the addition of new ingredients or yeasts. The series will evolve over the years to come, and will remain a permanent fixture of the Fyne Ales brew schedule. They will be available in limited quantities in 750ml champagne bottles, each with a unique hand drawn label by illustrator Gavin Dunbar, that depicts each character and their season. Gavin has worked tirelessly on these designs, giving our beers a unique look and feel that compliments the work of our Brewers. 

These beers are not to be missed, and are something truly special from Fyne Ales. Once gone, they will not return until the following year, when they will have evolved into a new take on the season and style.

We will very shortly announce how we plan to launch the first of these special beers at the brewery.