Piper’s Gold – Fyne Ales X Inveraray & District Pipe Band
Argyll brewery Fyne Ales have teamed up with the Inveraray And District Pipe Band (IDPB) to brew a special beer in celebration of their recent World Championship win.
The new batch of Piper’s Gold, one of Fyne Ales classic recipes, was brewed with a helping hand from IDPB’s Pipe Major Stuart Liddell and Piper Johan Van Der Wal who visited the farm in September to assist with the brew day, and play a few reels for lucky visitors to the Fyne Ales Brewery Tap & Shop.
“We were thrilled that the band were keen to work with us on a brew and Piper’s Gold was really the only thing we could make after their incredible win last month,” commented Fyne Ales MD, Jamie Delap. “We’re always looking for ways to celebrate success in our community and Inveraray winning their second world championship in three years is definitely something worth celebrating.”
The World Pipe Band Championship took place in Glasgow in August, seeing 195 bands from around the world compete across a week of fierce competition. In IDPB’s Grade 1 category each band performs four times, being judged by a panel of experts on a number of different disciplines.
“For me, as someone who started learning the pipes at 12, I’d always watch the worlds in amazement and think ‘this is what music should sound like’” comments Johan on the band’s big win. “To not only be able to compete in them, but to win after all the work and practice and commitment is a pretty amazing feeling.”
The pipers weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty alongside Head Brewer Malcolm Downie on the original Fyne Ales kit, where Piper’s Gold was first brewed in the early 2000s, and even popped over to help add the hops on the big kit where Mills & Hills was being brewed.
“It’s been really interesting to learn about the brewing process today and there’s definitely a parallel with the pipes – in brewing, it’s all about controlling the variables – adding the right amount of malt, or getting the hops added at the right time or a tiny in variation in temperature can massively change what the final beer is like and in piping it’s the same,” added Stuart. “Each set of pipes has three drones and a chanter, each of which has a reed which set the tuning – it’s a very sensitive instrument and hard to get just right, but then you factor in the weather and then times that by twenty sets of pipes in a band and you have to get them all in tune, playing together harmonically, it’s a huge challenge and any small variable can massively change what the final sound is like.”
While the new batch of Piper’s Gold is slightly updated from the original recipe, coming in at 4% ABV and featuring Pioneer, Challenger and Northdown hops. Those who remember the Fyne Ales classic will be pleased to know it’s still a classic British-style session golden ale with easy-going floral and lightly herbal flavours and a finish with a touch of spice and wood.
“We were honoured to be asked to come and brew at Fyne Ales, who have had a lot of success themselves over the years – and to brew something to commemorate the win in the world championships makes it even more special” added Stuart on the brew day.
The day concluded with a drive along the glen accompanied by Fyne Ales farmer, Stu MacLachlan who joined the champions with his own pipes for a few tunes in the hills of Glen Fyne.
Piper’s Gold is available in cask and in mini-cask from the Fyne Ales shop noww.