Get intimate with your local brewer
Innovative, dynamic, diverse; a few ways to describe and to celebrate the craft beer scene which has exploded across the UK and follows in the progressive footsteps of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) which began in the 1970s. The demand for local, traceable produce includes beer and ale. Scotland has a longstanding history of brewing, therefore it is no surprise that there has been a resurgence in Scottish brewing. With the closure of many town and village pubs, from out of the ashes have risen microbreweries which uphold tradition. Local beer is making big steps in people’s imaginations and the variety the Scottish Borders has to offer indicates where Scottish brewing is heading.
It’s a growing trend!
The craft beer world is very popular, there are over 100 craft breweries now in Scotland, and people are becoming more aware of the local artisan brewers. Local beer festivals are proving to be busy and a great way for people to interact with these producers. These opportunities form bonds between customers and producers. People are becoming aware of the effects of mass-produced goods and are looking for taste and quality, this includes the beer, lager and real ale market.
Through supporting your local breweries you can find out exactly what was put in your drink, just like you can with a local butcher, baker and other local producers. As many of these companies are local, transportation costs aren’t usually an issue, making them environmentally friendly. Furthermore, in many places, you can recycle and reuse your bottles, or you can even invest in a growler (a refillable jug usually contains around 10 pints) which cuts cost and packaging waste. Money spent in your local community stays in the local community.
Here on the Foodful blog is a list of the top 6 breweries and their beers you should be drinking right now.
6 Breweries in the Scottish Borders
Campbell’s Brewery is the new kid on the block in the border brewery game. Established in 2017, in Peebles, Scottish Borders, Campbell’s goal is to use local produce, the best ingredients and diligence to create the best beer possible. They currently have 2 ales to offer; Gunner Blonde Ale and Flintlock Golden Ale. Gunner Blonde is their first ale. It is brewed with bittering hops and finished with American hops to create a well-balanced pint.
Stow Brewery opened when their village pub fell victim to closure like many local pubs. The brewer’s needed to find another local place to drink. Stow Brewery began in early 2015 and have gained a popular following and have encouraged community development; they are at many beer festivals as well as hosting music and food nights to accompany their beers. Not long after starting, the Border Railway line reopened; with trains running from Edinburgh to Tweedbank. Stow is the 7th stop on the hour-long trip. Conveniently, the train station is a mere 8 minutes walk to the brewery. Why not try their Hog Oiler IPA. A light refreshing session IPA 3.8% ABV. The delight of a session beer is that the low ABV levels make the beer easy to drink without sacrificing taste or satisfaction.
Perhaps the largest, more prominent of the Scottish Borders breweries, Tempest Brewing Co is situated in Tweedbank, the last stop on the Border Railway line. Tempest Brewing Company is a winner of several awards including Winner of the Scottish Brewery of the Year in 2016. Starting in 2010, Tempest Brewing Co. have focused on making everything in-house, including beer production, bottling, labelling and distribution to create an authentic Scottish Borders product. Tempest Brewing Co. have many beers to select from but for a summer zing why not try Mango Berlinner, a sour style beer. It is a refreshing zesty beer full of sunshine, light, tart flavours and gentle acidity. For those who are unsure of sour beers, characteristically they resemble ciders and dry white wines.
Located in new premises at Peebles Hydro hotel, The Freewheelin’ Brewery Company has taken great leaps from its humble beginnings in a garage. The brewery now has access to fresh, free-flowing water from Sheilgreen at Peebles Hydro. Why not try Freewheelin’ IPA bitter, a light copper, malty beer. It is smooth on the palate, with elements of citrus and bitterness to bring about a balanced mouthfeel. It’s ABV is 4.2% on the lower level akin to session style beers in a style like most modern IPAs.
This brewery dates back to early 18th century as a domestic brewery. During the tumultuous Jacobean period, the brewery was forgotten about. In the mid-1960s, the original brewing equipment, including the original oak casks, was rediscovered, cleaned up and they began brewing again. Traquair ales are world renowned and the brewery has been voted the 20th best brewery in the world despite its small dwellings. What Traquair has optimised is the old-fashioned charm which sets it apart from the rest. The Traquair original ale recipe is a traditional Scottish Ale. Traquair House Ale 7.2% ABV, making it a strong full-bodied ale. The ale is a caramel coloured, with plum notes and a rich dark oakiness, coming from the 200-year-old oak casks in which the ale is fermented. This ale proudly acknowledges Scottish ale history.
The Born in the Borders brewery is in Jedburgh and is the sole ‘plough-to-pint’ microbrewery in Scotland. The brewery began in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength. In a bid to keep things as local as possible, they use barley adjacent to the brewery, they have invested in a bottling plant, and they have access to fresh Scottish Borders water from the River Teviot. Their first beer is called Game Bird, with ABV 4%. The ale has a beautiful amber colour and a long-lasting head. It is smooth on the palate and a light aroma.
Be a Brew Fanatic
At the end of this, hopefully, you are excited to go out and have your own Scottish Border craft beer adventure. Go and speak to the brewers, find your new favourite ale and support the local community. There is a wide array of different beers to discover and enjoy. Cheers!