Real ale, Scottish style

I went to the Scottish Real Ale Festival with a couple of friends today. I always enjoy beer festivals because they’re a great opportunity to try new brews and meet new people – both of which were done today!

As (almost) always, I stuck to 1/3 pints so that I could sample a wider selection of brews without killing my head. And once again, I succeeded! Well … we’ll see what my head has to say tomorrow anyhow!

I reviewed the beers on the SRAF website a few days before the festival and identified several brews I wanted to try. I arrived with the full knowledge that they might be out of the beer I wanted, but safe in the knowledge that there would be ample suitable substitutes. In the end, I sampled nine different brews which is about three pints – although it was probably slightly more as some of the pours were a bit generous.

And in addition to the lovely beer I enjoyed, I won a free t-shirt and a free pint glass (in addition to the glass I got with my admission to the festival). I also met a very nice man with whom I spent a bit of time chatting with. (Strictly beer talk; I’ll likely never see him again.)

So, here’s what I enjoyed at this year’s festival:

Industrial Pale Ale by Edinbrew
Not a bad brew, but it didn’t really strike me as unique. It could have been any bog-standard IPA. It was enjoyable enough though, and I would have it again. 4 stars on Untapped.

The Dev’ils Awa With by Old Worthy Brewing Co
Nice and chocolatety. Very unexpected, and certainly worth another taste. Claims to be a good pairing with whisky, and I can certainly see how that could be the case. 4.25 stars on Untapped.

Big Red by Black Wolf
A nice wee cheeky ale. This was a second choice to their ROC IPA which was out by my arrival, but it was definitely a good second choice. 4.5 stars on Untapped.

Skullsplitter by Orkney
A nice and smooth drink, although very high ABV. Not one for a session brew, but certainly a great one for a wee half-pint and whisky. 4 stars on Untapped.

Edinburgh Castle by Caledonia Brewery
Very nice, if not a bit predictable. Might be a nice session ale, but it’s very similar to Caledonia’s 80/ which makes me wonder if one or the other will be dismissed. 4 stars on Untapped.

Wildcat by Caringorm
This was a “standby” brew, as the one I wanted was sold out. I wanted to like it more than I did, but in the end, it was only OK. 3.5 stars on Untapped.

Lipsmacking Lemon Ale by Caledonia Brewery
An easy and sassy little session ale!! I enjoyed the crispness and felt it was enjoyable and easy to drink. Definitely one to enjoy again! 4.5 stars on Untapped.

Codebreaker by Abbots Brewhouse
A nice and bright ale. The branding seemed a bit outdated, so I worried that it would be a little on the boring side, but was pleasantly surprised. This would certainly be a great session ale. 3.73 stars on Untapped.

Elderflower by Born in the Borders
Very crisp and light, and a great note to end the festival on. This would make a fun and easy summer session ale! 4.5 stars on Untapped.

[Photo credits to my friend, DL. Note the new outfit, purchased at the charity shop a few days before the festival.]

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