A recent trip to the Scottish Highlands turned out to be an excellent beeronomic event, mostly thanks to The Atholl Arms, where we stayed, being twinned with a local Pitlochry brewery: The Moulin. One of Scotland’s smallest breweries, they have a line up of four though sadly one was off. As we stayed a few nights we were able to have a few good tastes of the remaining three.
Braveheart is subtle, a light tan, slightly buttery and nutty ale with hints of earthy hop;
Ale of Atholl is dark ruby. It starts buttery again then there’s a rich roasted flavour but combined with a light body and a bitterish finish. This makes quite a refreshing drink, creating a similar effect to something like Guinness but produced in a completely different way;
Old Remedial is very dark red, lovely and rich, with a medium full body, it tastes more malty and intense than you would expect from a strength of 5.2%. There’s a great nose and rich roasted flavours which remind me of burnt, caramelised sugar. My father found it a bit heavy by I really enjoyed this one, however, I suspect the Ale of Atholl is the best compromise with an interesting palate but lighter body.
At Blair Castle we tried a Stewart Embra. This is a lovely ruby ale. It starts sweet and malty then goes through pine on it’s way to a crisp citrus finish. Very much my kind of beer though my father pointed out that it still lacks the bitter kick you’d expect south of the border.
On the way home we were reacquainted with true hop bitterness thanks to Virgin’s Tilting Ale brewed by Redwillow, Macclesfield. It’s a clean, bright, hoppy amber pale ale. With a good scent, refreshing pine flavour and a hint of sweet malt there’s also a really good bitter finish. I really like this beer and it’s good to be reminded that there’s no right way of doing things, two completely different approaches both yielding excellent beers.