I returned this week from my previously-mentioned trip abroad. In all, I visited Scotland and Norway; technically, I was in Germany for a couple of hours, but as that was just the airport, I won't count it. While in Scotland, I managed to visit a number of pubs and taste quite a few 'new' brews; Norway had a much more limited variety.
The main pubs in Scotland that stick out in my mind are: Waxy O'Connor's, and the Black Friar's. Waxy's had the most interesting architecture I've seen in a bar--flying 'bridges' between platforms, three or four floors (depending on how you count them). My favorite draught there was Caledonian Brewing's 80/- Ale. Yummy--a nice near-session beer, well-balanced, with a nice roastiness and overall a very interesting, complex maltiness.
The Black Friar's boasted an ever-changing lineup of beers on draught; the ones I tried were all good, but most seemed slightly un-balanced in some way or form. I need to find my notes, and will list what I tried at a later date.
Oddly enough, my other favorite beer for the trip was another Caledonian Brewing offering--namely, Deuchar's IPA. It didn't strike me so much as an IPA as a well-hopped 'regular' Pale Ale, but I won't quibble over terminology. Again, it was a good session beer, clocking in under 5% (lower, even, than the 80/-), with a good malt backbone to support the flowery hops. Either of the Caledonian brews I would rate as "yes, I'll have another." (In fact, in both cases, I did...)
Thoughts of Norway (and the other beers from Scotland) in another post.
Labels: reviews, tasting notes