Fyne Ales Blog

New(ish) Brew News – Holly Daze

by Iain Smith

2002, a landmark year in history. We said hello to the Euro, the Queen celebrated fifty years living in her big house in London, Spider-man swung onto the big screen (the first one) and somehow Robbie Williams had the biggest selling album in the UK. It was also the first time that small farmhouse brewery in Argyll brewed a special Christmas beer, a delicious 5% amber ale called Holly Daze.

Fifteen years later, it’s back.

It’s not the first time that Holly Daze has made a return during the festive season, but it is the first time it’s been back on the taps in a couple of years, rolling out of the brewery in cask and mini-casks from Monday.

Holly Daze is a dark amber ale that we’ve always proudly believed is the best non-Christmassy Christmas beer you’re likely to come across – no gimmicky spices, no cartoon Santas, just a solid, robust pint of satisfying, hoppy amber. A trio of hops Challenger, Perle, Spalt on the hot side and a touch of Mittlefruh in the dry-hop give a lightness to the flavour profile, while crystal malt and roast barley give the beer a rich body.

Keep an eye out for mini-cask pre-order posters in your local bar or bottle-shop soon, and the Holly Daze pump clip gracing the taps in the next few weeks!



New Brew News: Carved In Fire

by Iain Smith

A few weeks ago we were delighted to welcome our friends and members of the team from Italian artisan deli and craft beer pub Pork'N'Roll to the brewery a special collab with a unique ingredient. Brothers Valentino and Gerardo travelled from Rome armed with a suitcase full of dried and triple-smoked chestnuts to use for a brew the original Fyne Ales brewery – introducing Carved In Fire – a 5.1% triple-smoked chestnut porter available in cask from next week.

The dark-brown ale was brewed with a combination of five different malts and flaked oats to give the beer a formidably powerful body, with a light addition of British Pioneer hops and the aforementioned beech-smoked chestnuts during the boil to infuse the beer light smokiness in the aroma and initial taste, which is followed by a rounded sweetness before a dark chocolate finish.

With a good amount of the beer heading back to the continent for use in Pork'N'Roll’s pub, Carved In Fire is unlikely to hang around long, so catch it at your local soon!



New Brew News: Workbench IPA Fourth Draft & The Future

by Iain Smith

Back in the Spring of this year we launched the Workbench IPA Project, an evolving prototype programme to help us develop our understanding of hops and ultimately create the recipe for a new, sessionable IPA to replace Sanda Blonde in our year-round line-up.

Today, we’re announcing the conclusion of the project with the launch of the final beer in the programme – Workbench IPA: Fourth Draft (WB4).

WB4’s recipe is loosely based on Workbench IPA: First Draft (WB1), the most popular in the series so far, with whole-leaf Nelson Sauvin and Citra in the hopback at roughly the same ratios as the original Workbench beer and only one tweak to the malt bill - Caramalt replacing Carapils to offer a touch more colour and body to the beer. Post-fermentation, T90 pellets were used for dry-hop, with Mosaic returning from the WB1 recipe but complimented with two other fruit-forward hops – Belma and El Dorado.

The new recipe has resulted in the fruitiest Workbench IPA yet with a nose of mango and a hint of floral that leads into flavour profile bursting with more tropical fruit and juicy berries. The finish is lean citrus, with the lightest touch of pine to keep the fruit in balance. It’s infinitely drinkable, and beautifully refreshing.

The Workbench IPA Project has been as objective as possible since day one – in addition to gathering feedback from social media and beer ratings websites (#FyneWorkbench), between brews of each draft, the beer development team has conducted blind tastings of the latest version alongside previous drafts and a selection of beers from other breweries that we enjoy. Fourth Draft was no different – last week it was pitted against First, Second and Third Draft and three of our favourite beers in the same space.

We’re delighted to say, it came out on top.

Now, while that got us excited to get WB4 out to pubs for everyone to try, it also raised the question of whether we’ve achieved our original goal – we certainly know more about hops that we did six months ago, but are we close to creating a Sanda Blonde replacement? We think we might be.

So, while WB4 is out being enjoyed in the wild, we’re going to use the next couple of quiet Winter months to hone in on a final recipe for a new IPA that will become a permanent fixture in our line-up for 2018.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the Workbench IPA Project; we’ve had some great feedback over the year and appreciate everyone who has checked out any of the drafts. We sincerely hope you enjoy WB4 – we know we will be at the Brewery Tap!