When you think of Scotland, many things come to mind. Highlands, bagpipes, kilts, golf, haggis, castles, lochs and the like. I had been wanting to visit Scotland for quite some time and the opportunity finally presented itself when a friend suggested that a group of us should rent a Scottish castle for a week. It was a fantastic idea and we did just that. We spent a relaxing week at Law Castle in West Kilbride, just off the western coast. It was a scenic wonderland, the perfect location for some much needed rest and relaxation.
Law Castle : Click Here
It was also the perfect home base for some new beer adventures.
A beer geek's visit to Scotland is never complete without a visit to a BrewDog pub. We were a short train ride away from Glasgow, so it didn't take much convincing for a group outing. Glasgow's pub was much smaller than Manchester's pub, which I visited earlier in the year, but it was chock full of delicious BrewDog nectar. I even managed to get my hands on a Watt Dickie, a 35% ABV ice-distilled Imperial IPA (sweet, sweet mercy). And as a cherry atop the visit, I got to hold one of the infamous End of History bottles (only 12 in existence), their infamous 55% ABV Belgian Blonde Ales lovingly cradled by taxidermy roadkill. Yes, you read that right. Ah BrewDog, never a dull experience.
Black Isle Brewing Company
A series of fortuitous events took us to the Black Isle Brewing Company, located on the Black Isle peninsula north of Inverness. A visit to the Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness uncovered a popular local brew by the name of Red Kite Ale. I discovered that the brewery was a short drive away, and away we went.
The Black Isle Brewery is not your average operation. It's nestled in the middle of breathtaking farm country, complete with its own barley fields. Their beers are completely organic, amazingly clean on the palate, and absolutely delicious. After a tour of the brewery, founder David Gladwin was more than happy to chat with us in their beer garden, which of course is surrounded by stunning scenery. We enjoyed an array of samples, including their delectable Export Scotch Ale, by far the best beer of the entire trip.
So if you ever find yourself in the area, do yourself a favor and make it a point to visit the Black Isle Brewery. It was an unexpected delight and a highlight of the trip.
I visited many castles, ate a lot of haggis, and drank my share of delectable brews. My visit to Scotland was one I will never forget and a return visit is all but guaranteed. From the breathtaking Highlands to the streets of Glasgow, I loved every waking minute of my Scottish adventure. The region may be better known for its whisky, but that's no discount to its thriving beer culture, especially with representatives like BrewDog and Black Isle leading the way. Cheers!