New Brew News – Gengy’s Drop

By Iain Smith

 

Launching at FyneFest 2017, a brand new, cask exclusive, ultra-pale ale - Gengy’s Drop!

Designed and brewed by Erasmus participant, Davide Gardosi to mark the end of his time with Fyne Ales, Gengy’s Drop is an supremely thirst-quenching light ale packed with Sorachi Ace alongside Citra and Nelson Sauvin.

The beer’s unique name comes from Davide’s nickname, Gengy, which in turn comes from the Italian word for ‘gums’. Davide earned the nickname for being the smile-iest person in Italy, something that the Fyne Ales team have enjoyed during the last few months working alongside Gengy.

In further tribute to Gengy’s great loves of hops and football, the beer’s clip is designed using the colours of AS Roma.

Check out the beer at FyneFest 2017 and out in the wild soon after!

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!

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!
 

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.

New Brew News: Fyne Ales X Orbit - Jammin'

By Iain Smith

Long distance relationships aren’t easy, especially when the those involved have little in common. Where one fully embraces the bustling trendiness of South East London, the other is entrenched in the rural peace of the Scottish hills. Given the disparity, it was probably inventible that that things between Fyne Ales and Orbit Beers would turn sour – luckily, that’s exactly what we wanted.

Introducing Fyne Ales X Orbit - Jammin’, a blackberry and blueberry kettle sour, launching Friday 26 May in keg and in bottles. 

A collaboration over one year and 369 miles in the making, Fyne Ales X Orbit, round two, has yielded a giant, juicy, tart triumph of a beer, packed with forest fruit flavours and a refreshingly sour finish that demands to be sipped again and again.

We approached the second leg of our collab with London’s hi-fi brewery like a jam session – two breweries, two sets of talents, no rehearsals. Get together, start playing with ideas and see what happens, see how the flavours flow. Like any good jam session, it’s as much about listening as it is playing, and with Orbit known for producing top quality German-style beers, and Orbit brewer Mario Canestrelli keen to see how Fyne Ales brews its sessionable sours, it was quickly decided that a Berliner weisse-style-beer was a good starting point.

We’ve employed the same approach to kettle-souring for all of our beers thus far; our process has always been to allow naturally-occurring lactobacillus on an uncrushed malt addition to propagate in temperature-controlled wort under a CO2 blanket, while closely monitoring the pH levels until the mixture reaches the desired level of acidity. Given the success of beers such as our core-range Ich Bin Ein Berryliner, we were happy to use the same method again with our collab with the Londonders. 

“We brewed our first sour, Saudade, in 2015 and it was a bit of a risky brew. We acidified a weak wheat beer in the copper using the uncrushed malt method to start the souring process and we didn’t really know how it was going to turn out – things might have gone very weird, being our first time trying it” explains Fyne Ales brewer, Andrea Ladas. “The bugs that came from the malt produced a lovely range of aromas and a clean lactic sourness, and we’ve enjoyed experimenting with sours, without changing the process too much, ever since.”

Jammin’ was our first attempt at recreating the process in the new brewhouse. Mario arrived at the brewery on Friday to brew a wheat-beer base with a target ABV of 5%, before pitching the uncrushed malt and leaving it to do its thing over the weekend (with regular pH checks). While the lactobacillus (and friends) had fun in the kettle, Mario and the Fyne Ales brewers had fun taking in the sights of Argyll. By Sunday afternoon, the brew was ready for the boil and progressing as normal.

After primary fermentation was complete, it was time to step things up with a whole lot of fruit. Mario and Andrea bounced around ideas for the fruit bed on which Jammin’ would spend a few weeks resting, with a forest fruit theme winning the day. Jammin’ was given three weeks on a mixture of blackberries and blueberries, imparting it with a stunning deep pink colour and deep dark fruit flavours.

“The beer took colour from the fruit very quickly, and after three weeks it was pouring a vibrant, almost blood-red colour,” continued Andrea. “The smell is all fruit, and there’s a slight mineral edge to the taste, as well as a refreshing sourness, that plays well with the dark fruit flavours.”

Jammin’ will be launched on keg on Friday 26 May at Craft Beer Co Clerkenwell (info), alongside eight beers from both Fyne Ales and Orbit. To ensure those north of the border don’t miss out, we’re also holding a Scottish mini-launch in Doghouse Merchant city (info) on the same night!

Bottles will be available from 29/5/2017 from all lovely beery bottle shops.

 

 

 

 

 

New Brew News & Behind the Brew: Devine IGA

By Iain Smith

Fyne Ales is delighted to introduce Devine, the first authentic Italian Grape Ale brewed in the UK!

Earlier this year, we invited Italian craft brewery Canediguerra to Glen Fyne for a unique collaboration – read more about arranging the visit in our earlier blog – and we’re thrilled to reveal the results of the brew weekend, Devine IGA.

We’ll be launching the beer with two tap takeover/meet the brewer events on Saturday 20 May in partnership with our pals from Six Degrees North at their Glasgow and Edinburgh locations, with the beer also getting tapped in 6DN Aberdeen the same evening. Scroll to the bottom of the blog or check out Facebook for more information.

About Grape Ales

Italian Grape Ale (IGA) is a broad term for any beer created using grape must, a by-product of winemaking consisting of the sugar-rich, leftover juice, stems and skins of grapes.

Though only recently formally recognised by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), IGAs have been produced in Italy for significantly longer and are considered the first of Italy’s own beer styles. Grape ales have found a place in the Italian brewing community as an expression of provenance and taking pride in using locally-sourced ingredients to create beers, much like Fyne Ales working with the Springbank distillery to produce Fynebank and upcoming whisky barrel-aged beers.

“For me, grape ales have a special place as a perfect example of how beer and wine don’t need to be two separate things because I’ve always believed that it’s just fermentation. They’re part of the same family, they just happen to feature different ingredients due to geographical and anthropological roots; look at the wide range of additions that are being combined with beer around the world today - there’s no reason why grapes shouldn’t be part of that,” explained Fyne Ales brewer, Andrea Ladas.

Reading the style definitions from BJCP (below), it’s apparent that the term Italian Grape Ale encompasses a wide variety of flavours, colours, strengths and other variations. As a relatively new style, brewers have been keen to experiment with the addition of grape must, playing with the wide range of variables that using the ingredient introduces. Obviously, the choice of grape can greatly impact the flavour of the beer, but other factors such as which parts of the must are used, how much must is used, when the must is added to the brew (in a hopback, during the boil, straight into FV etc) and also, how the grape must works with other additions. Using Canediguerra’s Objekt 250 as an example, they chose to add the grape must during the boil along with several other additions: a large hop bill, Italian honey and selection of spices. There is no fixed example of style, meaning there is a great opportunity for brewers to produce interesting and unique beers, and the style is difficult to define.

BJCP grape ale style guide - click to view full size (new window).

 

Planning – Early Stages

Fyne Ales brewer, Andrea Ladas is a longtime friend of Canediguerra’s award-winning head brewer, Alessio Gatti, and the opportunity for a collab with one of Italy’s fastest-rising craft breweries was an opportunity too good to miss for the Fyne Ales team. The offer was especially tempting when the CDG team suggested they might be able to source some outstanding quality grape must from a local vineyard for the project.

Alessandria and Asti, where Canediguerra is situated in northern Italy, is famous for its spumante production, highly sparkling white wines made with sweet and semi-sweet grapes. Neighbouring the brewery, a moscato grape vineyard with whom the Canediguerra team had previously collaborated for their Objekt 250 special release beer, and who was willing to help organise shipping a container of fresh grape must to the UK for the brew.

With the collab brew being the UK’s first Italian Grape Ale, we wanted to brew a beer that combined British and Italian brewing styles. With a half-plan to brew a traditionally British, strong, golden ale base beer to which the must would be added, we requested the removal of the stalks and skins from the moscato must before it left the vineyard. These parts of the must are most likely carry wild yeasts and funky bacteria, which are great for brewing sour or farmhouse-style grape ales, but less desirable for our planned Scottish/Italian hybrid brew.

Planning – On Arrival

Andrea, leading the project, had done a huge amount of research into IGAs in advance of the collab, and as mentioned above, he had already begun formulating ideas for the base beer in advance of Canediguerra’s arrival.

However, the Canediguerra team did not arrive at the Fyne Ales brewery empty handed, bringing with them a wide selection of Italian Grape Ales for tasting. We were treated to some outstanding and varied examples of the style from Loverbeer, Montegioco, Toccalmatto, plus an interesting take on a Belgian/Italian hybrid from La Chouffe. Tasting other breweries’ IGAs gave the team plenty to think about, and after much discussion, some more drinking, and some rapid-fire questioning of brewers of the above breweries about their methods (thank you, WhatsApp), we had a clearer idea for how we wanted to use the must in the brew.

The next stage was to do some maths. We knew what ABV we were aiming at for the final beer (7.4%), however we had to calculate the target original gravity of the combination of the base beer wort when combined in order to hit the final gravity target, taking into account the different amounts of must (20% @ 1080) and wort (80% @ 1063) going into the fermenter.

Some of the cracking grape ales brought to the brewery by Canediguerra for research.

 

Brewing

As mentioned above, how the must is used in the brew is a crucial variable to the style and flavour of the final beer. For Devine, the decision was made to flash-heat and then cool the grape must before adding it to the base beer three days into primary fermentation. These choices would combine to allow the beer to retain as much of the moscato grape’s soft, sweet and delicate flavours as possible, while keeping some malt and Nelson Sauvin/Brambling Cross hop character from the British-style base beer.

The pasteurisation at 80°C using our heat exchanger helped ensure no wild bugs got in the beer while helping retain the must’s soft, juicy aromatics; injecting the must after the beer had partially fermented allowed the base beer to develop its own character and helped to avoid over-working the yeast.

The beer had a relatively uneventful, if slightly-longer-than average fermentation.

This is the glamourous shipping format of a whole heap of grape must from Italy to Scotland.

 

First tasting

The Fyne Ales brewing team were delighted with the beer on first tasting. The moscato must imparted the beer with a punchy, golden grape flavour that at the same time, is soft and rich, with aromas of soft fruits and a lingering finish. The hop profile, while secondary to the wine characteristics, adds a little edge to the back of the taste, to keep the wine/beer character in balance.

In order to test how the beer stood up against the best of IGAs brewed on the continent, we sent two kegs of the beer to the Campi di birra festival in Firenze where it was showcased by Canediguerra alongside several grape ales brewed in Italy. Feedback was resoundingly positive, preparations began for a full UK launch!

Bottle artwork designed by Thirst.

Launch

Fyne Ales is incredibly excited to get Devine out of the brewery and into your hands, and the first chance to do so will be Saturday 20 May at Six Degrees North’s bars in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

For Glasgow and Edinburgh, the launch will have members of the Fyne Ales team on hand to answer your question about the beer, and for the first time ever in Scotland, a selection of Canediguerra beers will be pouring on draught alongside Devine!

Aberdeen will also be tapping Devine alongside its fraternal bars, with a selection of Canediguerra beers also available in the weeks following the launch.

Check out the Facebook event for more info - Devine Launch Event.

 

If you’re interested in brewing with grape must, keep an eye on the Fyne Ales blog next week, where we’ll be posting a third part in our grape ale blog series, exploring the various ways must can be used and the variations of flavours that result from its use in different ways!

New Brew News - Where's Kendrick?

By Iain Smith

Kendrick the highland cow has proudly been the mascot of our Summer festival, FyneFest, for the past five years, so we decided it was about time to honour him with his own beer!

Our latest cask-exclusive, seasonal beer is named Where’s Kendrick? after our wee orange pal; an American amber, Where’s Kendrick? is brewed with a combination of pale and caramalt and a trio of new wave American hops, Belma, Eureka and Calypso to give the bee a full-bodied taste with a refreshing, dry and fruity finish.

Where’s Kendrick? will be rolling out of the brewery to pubs from Monday 8 May, but is available this weekend in the brewery tap room on draught and in 5 litre mini-casks!

If you spot Where’s Kendrick? out in the wild, send us a tweet using #WheresKendrick to help us track his travels on the road to FyneFest 2017!

Fyne Ales: Twitter/Facebook/Instagram

WLTM: Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Applicants

By Iain Smith

Since early 2016, Fyne Ales has been a proud participant in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) scheme. EYE is a cross-borders exchange programme which gives new and aspiring entrepreneurs from around Europe the chance to learn from international businesses and gives Fyne Ales the chance to gain fresh perspectives, ideas and enthusiasm from abroad!

During the past 15 months, we’ve been privileged to host a range of young entrepreneurs who’ve made significant contributions to our brewery, working particularly with the brewing team to learn more about what we do as a modern Scottish beer producer.

We are currently seeking applicants for the next young entrepreneur to join us in Argyll to see what Fyne Ales is all about. Check out the EYE website for more info, check out the blogs by two of our previous participants Tomasso and Davide and if you’re interested, please email erasmus[at]fyneales.com.

Looking forward to reading your applications!

Fyne Ales set to host #CraftBeerHour on 25 April!

By Iain Smith

Join us next Tuesday at 9pm on Twitter as we host #CraftBeerHour and answer your questions about Fyne Ales beer, Fyne Ales brewery and, of course, FyneFest.

#CraftBeerHour is basically a digital meet-the-brewer – you’re encouraged to grab one of our award-winning beers, crack it open at 9pm and engage in a bit of chat about what you’re thinking, what you’re drinking and everything in between. You can even head along to your local if they’ve got our beers on draft and tweet with a pint!

A couple of members of the Fyne Ales team, including head brewer Macolm Downie, will be on hand to answer your questions, and we’ve got some special announcements lined-up for those lucky enough to be joining us in Argyll this summer for FyneFest, as we’ll be announcing even more breweries confirmed for the festival, and some of the highlights from the beer list!

Be sure to check out @craftbeerhour on Twitter, as well as our @FyneAles account, for where you can pick up a beer ahead of Tuesday night as we’ll retweet stockists as we see them. Here’s a wee list to get you started:

  • Waitrose (Scotland)
  • Morrisons (Scotland)
  • Booths (National)
  • Oddbins (Scotland)
  • Eebria (Online)
  • Beerhawk (Online)
  • The Beer Boutique (Tunbridge Wells)
  • Hop Hideout (Sheffield)
  • Great Grog (Edinburgh)
  • Cornelius (Edinburgh)
  • Beer Zoo (Edinburgh)
  • Good Spirit Co (Glasgow)
  • Hippo Beers (Glasgow)
  • Grunting Growler (Glasgow)
  • Valhalla’s Goat (Glasgow)

And of course, the brewery tap shop at the Fyne Ales brewery!

 

 

 

 

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