Oh Flower of Scotland (in which I get all patriotic)
Thursday, 19 January 2017 15:54

Next Wednesday (25 January 2017) is Robbie Burns Day, a hugely important day on the Scottish calendar as right-thinking Celtic people around the world celebrate the epic poetry of Mr Robert Burns with whisky, haggis, poems and beer. [1] Malthouse will be marking this august date appropriately with a massive Scottish craft beer tap showcase, some Lorne sausage, deep fried Mars bars and haggis. [2]

According to the Oxford Companion to Beer, brewing in Scotland began in the 12th Century, led by Benedictine monks taking “full advantage of fresh spring water sources and locally grown barley” in Edinburgh and its neighbouring Dunbar. It should be noted that Glasgow is not mentioned. Alistair Gilmour, a Yorkie beer writer, goes on to note:

“Scotland gained a reputation for ales of high quality. Belhaven, Scotland’s longest established brewery, gained such a reputation that in 1827 Austrian Emperor Francis I chose its beers for his cellar, describing them as the ‘burgundy of Scotland’.”

“There is some written evidence – and a lot of folklore – to support the notion that bittering agents such as heather, myrtle and broom were used in Scottish beer instead of hops, which are unsuitable for cultivation in harsher climates and were therefore expensive to transport from the south of England and continental Europe.” [3]

I am pleased to confirm that Malthouse will be the official home for the Scotland rugby team at the Wellington Sevens tournament (28 and 29 January 2017). It should be noted – and I never thought I would type this sentence – Scotland is currently ranked above New Zealand after the first two tournaments on this year’s Sevens tour. Away the lads!

To celebrate, Malty is becoming McMalty. The event has been dubbed “Lift Up Your Kilt” and starts on Robbie Burns Day (25 January 2017) with a Scottish Craft Beer Showcase. In addition to the beers listed below, the food menu will feature haggis meat, [4] tatties [5] and deep fried mars bars. [6] There are three Scottish artisan breweries on display – none of which I have ever tried. So these tasting notes come from the depth of my ignorance, prejudice... and Google.

Tempest Brewery is new but they have already been crowned Scottish Champion Brewery. They brew in Tweedbank [7] but use a lot of New Zealand hops – because Kiwi hops rule. McMalty will be serving:

  • Marmalade On Rye (9%) – A Double IPA that does apparently taste like marmalade. Wait, when was the last time I had marmalade? Probably next Wednesday.
  • Double Shuck Imperial Oyster Stout (11%) – A “poor man’s meal” turned super posh.
  • In The Dark We Live Black IPA (7.2%) – The name is almost certainly a reference to Glasgow.
  • Brave New World IPA (7%) – Lots of American hops. I fear I will be smitten.
  • Bomber IPA (6.8%) - A big IPA suitable for sharing or bombing Germany.
  • Drop Kick Me Jesus (5.2%) – Early favourite for best beer name of 2017. Sadly, it is a sour ale.
  • Farmhouse Ale (5.1%) – Tis the Saison... apparently.
  • Dios Mio Jalapeno IPA (6%) – An IPA which features New Zealand hops! And presumably some chilli in there too. The website promises “building heat”.
  • Red Eye Flight (7.4%) – Tastes like toffee and insomnia.

Up Front Brewing was founded in 2015 by Jake Griffin. Despite operating in Glasgow, I like the cut of his jib – small batch beers and paying for everything up front. That seems somehow... like he meant the brewery name. There are two beers on at McMalty next week, both with a biblical theme

  • Ishmael (6%) – An American style IPA which gets extra marks for having “dank” in the commercial description.
  • Ahab (6%): An American style stout resplendent with roasted goodnosity. [8]

Drygate Brewery claims to “brew fearlessly” which is probably just as well as they are located in Glasgow. A fearful brewer would produce little in such a scary town. Four Drygate beers have fled the cultural wasteland that is Glasgow to Wellington’s McMalty:

  • Orinoco (6%) – A breakfast stout that gets bonus points for being named after a Womble.
  • Crossing the Rubicon (6.9%) – An IPA that gets double bonus points for having a classical reference and a Bill and Ted reference in the ABV. Plus I hear it is really good.
  • Chimera (5.9%) – India Pale Ale with many (hop) heads.
  • Disco Fork Lift (5%) – Literally it is a mango pale ale. “Packed to the gunnels” with mango according to the website.

There will also be “Hair of the Dog” sessions on Friday 26 February, Saturday 27 February and Sunday 28 February, days where the McMalty opens at the extra special time of 11am. The special is (unsurprisingly) a beer with (and this will fluff your sporran) a Lorne Sausage Sandwich. For those that are unaware of the Scottish culinary arts, a Lorne Sausage is a flat, square, spiced patty that tastes like freedom. I cannot recommend it any more highly than that.

To warm up for Scotsageddon – because I have been told that warming up is important by people who exercise – the new Epic Saint Luke will go on tap on Friday 20 January 2017. (Viscount) Michael Donaldson sung its (presumptive) praises in the weekend newspaper. It is a beer that promises/threatens to combine the best of Monk’s Habit, Epic Pale Ale and Epic Armageddon. Just. Bring. It. Imp.

Next time, we drink to Frankie Boyle because sometimes you know you should not laugh, but you do any way.

[1] It is a scientific fact that all poetry is better with haggis, whisky and beer.

[2] Yes, we are aware that this event perpetuates a number of stereotypes about the Scots... but sometimes stereotypes are right.

[3] This in no way supports the purported stereotype that Scots are cheap. We are simply proactively frugal.

[4] Put pressure on the Handsome but Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor Colin by tweeting random requests/abuse to #Malthouse with the hashtag #deepfriedhaggisonastick. We all want it.

[5] Potatoes for you Sassenachs.

[6] Um... pretty much exactly what it says.

[7] The Hamilton of Scotland.

[8] I would trademark this, except I almost certainly stole it off Edge and Christian, my third and fourteenth favourite Canadians.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


Lift Up Your Kilt - https://www.facebook.com/events/1888943308005348/

Tempest Brewery - https://www.tempestbrewco.com/

Up Front Brewery - http://www.upfrontbrewing.com/beer/

Drygate Brewery - http://drygate.com/

Malthouse Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173

Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting