Fyne Ales Blog

New Brew News: Fyne Ales Workbench IPA Project & First Draft

by Iain Smith

Sanda Blonde, Fyne Ales core IPA, has been picking-up plaudits ever-since we first brewed it in 2013. Our pale, Nelson Sauvin-centred IPA has proudly been our representation of what a modern, British IPA should be for four years, but four years is a long time in the craft beer industry. So, in line with our continuous efforts to review and improve on our beers, it’s time for something new.

Introducing the Workbench IPA Project, and the first beer in a new series of hop-forward, prototype beers: Workbench IPA – First Draft.

Workbench IPA Project began with a collective blind tasting of Sanda Blonde alongside beers we considered some of the best examples of IPAs being brewed around the UK. Beers were evaluated not only on preference, but also on their flavour profiles, with the team contributing to a collective discussion about what they look for in an IPA between 5-6% ABV. While Sanda Blonde fared well in the blind taste-test scoring, finishing third out of seven beers, it fell well behind the two leaders.

The consensus of opinion was that while Sanda Blonde was clean, refreshing and highly drinkable, it wasn’t forward enough with the bright fruity and floral hop flavours that modern drinkers have come to demand in their IPAs. It ticked the boxes for bitterness and resinous levels, but the leaders in the style offered more distinct hop-characters and therefore, more balance.

But how could we bring that balance to our core-range IPA? We decided to find out with a series of prototype IPAs exploring hop-infusion methods and combinations, ideas taken from the brewers’ workbench, brought to life as small-batch brews.

Workbench IPA – First Draft is the first beer in this small-batch series, and possibly the most straight-forward when it comes to trying to achieve our goal. How do we get more fruity and floral hop flavours into an IPA? Use fruity and floral hops, and lots of them. Being one of the only breweries in the UK with a fullsize hopback, we are well-equipped for, and practiced in using whole-leaf hops to produce fruity and floral flavours, and for First Draft, we use two of our favourite hops, Citra and Nelson Sauvin for base flavours. To push the hop flavours even further, First Draft also features the biggest dry-hopping of any beer Fyne Ales has ever produced, using Mosaic and Summit T90 hop pellets to give the beer sweet stone-fruit flavours with a pink-grapefruit and peppery grass finish.

In the spirit of doing things differently, we also took different approaches to bottling and branding the prototype beers. We commissioned artist Kev Grey to create a hand-drawn illustration for a single-wrap label design, and we bottle-conditioned the beer in order to preserve as much of the fresh hop flavours as possible. This is more than just a new beer, this is a new approach, and we’re very, very excited about hearing what you think of it.

We need your help. We want to know what you like about each draft and what you like less, we want your feedback to help inform the recipes for future prototypes, with the ultimate goal of creating a new, core-range IPA that will replace Sanda Blonde. So, when First Draft debuts on keg at FyneFest 2017, or when you pick up a bottle the week after, fire up your phone, and send us a tweet (#FyneWorkbench), a Facebook message or check First Draft in on Untappd or Ratebeer so we can see what you think about the beer, and help us make Second Draft even better than the first.

For those who love Sanda Blonde (which includes quite a few of us), fear not, we’re keeping the bottles around until the Workbench IPA Project is complete and at that point, we’ll have something even better ready to take its place!

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New Brew News: BA Wee Heavy

by Iain Smith

Today in Campbeltown, Fyne Ales is previewing a new beer as part of the Springbank open day! Well, new-ish beer…

Introducing Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy, a whisky-barrel-aged version of our rich, dark scotch ale, weighing in at 6.7%.

We’ve proudly worked with Springbank distillery for a few years now, producing Fynebank, our smoked golden ale and 2014’s Kilkerran Stout, a version of our Sublime Stout aged in Kilkerran barrels. The latter was a huge success as a special-release beer, and we were delighted when the Springbank team offered us more casks for our experimental beer facility, based in the original Fyne Ales brewery.

Our Wee Heavy was the perfect beer to spend some time in the wood – it’s sweet, rich character balancing against the whisky’s intense smokiness, striking up a truly Scottish flavour combination.

The beer will be available in cask at events in the near future, including FyneFest, before a limited bottle release later this year. Keep an eye out for the a blog about the bottle release in the coming weeks!
 

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Fyne Ales on Tour - Summer 2017 Events Calendar

by Iain Smith

With Summer right around the corner, we wanted to give everyone a heads up on where and when they can catch Fyne Ales on the road in the next few months. We’ve got plenty of events lined up, so check out the list below and hopefully we’ll catch you soon!

This blog will be updated as new events are added to the calendar.

Click the event name for more information.

Saturday 5 - Saturday 26 August

Fyne Ales @ Circus Hub

The team at Underbelly are letting Fyne Ales take over their pop-up bar alongside their venues in The Meadows in Edinburgh for the full Edinburgh Festival. Read more.

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Friday 18 - Saturday 19 August

Shelton Bros: The Festival (Atlanta, GA)

Jamie's heading stateside with some fresh kegs to pour for our US friends across the two day festival in Georgia.

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Saturday 19 August

Meet The Brewer - Duke's Head (London)

Head Brewer Malc is heading down to the capital for an evening of beer and insight into what we get up to in the glen. Head along for your chance to hear all about our latest brews and the plans in place for the rest of the summer.

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Thursday 24 August

Oban Games

Piping, traditional sports, birds of prey and beer – what more could you ask for in a day out in scenic Oban? Catch our pop-up bar for a pint between activities, or to sup while taking in the spectacle!

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Friday 25 – Saturday 26 August

Beer Makes Glasgow

From the ashes of the of the Great Scottish Beer Celebration, Beer Makes Glasgow has emerged. Same venue (Glasgow School of Art), same dates and same great beer being poured by some of Scotland's best breweries.

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Past events:

Thurs 26 May

Springbank Open Day (Campbeltown)

This Thursday we’ll be heading up the road to Campbeltown with our pop-up bar to served delicious beer for our friends at the Springbank Open Day! We’re previewing a special release beer at the event – a Kilkerran barrel-aged version of our dark scotch ale, wee heavy!

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Friday 27 May

Jammin Launches (London/Glasgow)

Catch us at Craft Beer Co Clerkenwell or Doghouse Merchant City this Friday night where we’ll be pouring loads of beers alongside our pals from Orbit Beers, including our collab brew – Jammin’. Be the first to experience the moreish, intensely-fruity double-berry sour on Friday night.

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Friday 27 – Saturday 28 May

Woodscrak 2017 (Italy)

We’re super-excited to be heading back to the continent for this year’s Woodscrak festival, hosted by Italian craft brewers, CRAK. Head Brewer, Malcolm, will be at the festival offering beer and chat for those who can understand him through his delightful Aberdeenshire accent.

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Friday 27 – Saturday 28 May

Land o' Burns Weekender (Ayrshire)

You’ll find our beers down in Ayrshire for the Land o’ Burns Beer Festival this weekend, along with a mix of live music and fun activities in the wider festival!

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Friday 2 – Sunday 4 June

FyneFest 2017 (Fyne Ales brewery)

If you’re reading this, you probably already know a bit about our summer festival. Here’s a website with lots of words about it: FyneFest.com

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Friday 30 June – Saturday 1 July

Craft Beer Discovery (Falkirk)

Craft beer takes over the home of The Bairns for a midsummer celebration of all things beery and good. We’ll be pouring our cracking beers pitch-side at Falkirk stadium for a couple of days at the end of June.

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Tuesday 18 July

Inveraray Games

Taking charge of the bar for this year’s highland games down the road in Inveraray, we’ll be serving beers to quench the thirst of the cyclists, runners, dancers and wrestlers, as well as those watching.

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Friday 21 – Saturday 22 July

West End Beer Festival (Glasgow)

Returning for a third year, the West End Beer Festival takes place at Hillhead Sports Club with a raft of cracking Scottish breweries set to pour some of Scotland’s finest craft beers over three sessions.

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Saturday 22 July

Taynuilt Highland Games

If the big-city vibe of the WEBF isn't your pint of ale, we'll be rocking a more traditional bar at this year's Taynuilt Highland Games to keep the dancers, pipers and erm, other event people suitably refreshed.

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Tuesday 25 – Friday 28 July

Meet the Makers @ The Beer Kitchen (Glasgow, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Aberdeen)

Members of the team are heading on the road to visit the four Beer Kitchen venues in Scotland on sucessive events for Meet The Maker events! Head down to your nearest bar to chat about (and drink) some of our award-winning beers in the stylish surroundings of Innis & Gunn's on-sales ventures.

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Wednesday 26 – Sunday 30 July

Edinburgh Food Festival

Get ready for this year’s fringe by indulging in some of Scotland’s finest produce, including a range of Fyne Ales beers! We’ll be making our way to the nation’s capital for the party in George Square Gardens.

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