A Year of Beer 2009 #11 - Highland Brewing Orkney Blast
Another part of our (hopefully) year-long video project, A Year of Beer. looking at the idea of beer and seasonality - how different styles of beer are more appropriate to different seasons, weathers, festivals and so on. There will also be a bit of beer and food matching thrown in because, hell, we love to eat as much as we love to drink.
This week: Highland Brewing Orkney Blast
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Highland Brewing Orkney Blast
I spoke to a very excited man today. His name is Rob Hill, and he's a brewer, and he works on a remote island off the north coast of Scotland. It's not necessarily that the brewerery is far from anythng else, or that Orkney is very far from Scotland. It's just that everything there is a long way from almost everywhere else in the UK.
But he's happy. He's turned down offers of relocation to the mainland, convinced that he is doing the right thing by staying on Orkney. He has plans to build a visitors centre, and allow people to visit while he's brewing. What could be better than having a pint of beer while speaking to the brewer, and watching him brew, he reasons. He's got a point. And his visitors will have a pint.
The Highland Brewing Company make a range of beers, but Orkney Blast was described to me earlier this year as "the most exciting beer being brewed in Scotland today". There are lot's of contenders for that title, but I don't think I could single one beer out. In fact, not even Rob would single out Orkney Blast as his best beer - he's convinced that his IPA is a much better bet. I don't know - it rarely makes it as far south as Leeds. Maybe it will make it all the way to the GBBF in London this year?
Orkney Blast is a deliciously tasty copper-gold beer, full of fleshy, sappy Maris Otter malt and juicy hops. There is a lovely interplay between the two, with the fruity notes of the hops enhancing the perceived sweetness of the beer, before the bitterness reigns everything back in. It's alarmingly drinkable, and it stood up pretty well to some fairly heavily jerked chicken. Excellent beer.