Land of My Heart Forever
A Review of Black Isle Blonde by Black Isle Brewing Co.
Posted on 6/6/2014 by Chops
                   
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Enjoying great beer is about much more than simply popping the top on a quality product. There are countless other factors to consider, each with the power affect the taste of your beer. Environment is a big one that often gets overlooked. A crisp and refreshing blonde ale will taste a lot different directly from the bottle in a dank dark pub than from a chilled glass on a sun bathed porch. Environment matters, a concept that seasoned beer fans know very well.

I recently had the distinct pleasure of visiting Scotland, home to some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen in my life. I made it all the way up through the Scottish Highlands to Loch Ness and Inverness. While there, I noticed that a neat thistle logo adorned many of the local beer bottles. After a little investigation, I discovered that these were products of the Black Isle Brewery, which was conveniently located a wee bit north on the Black Isle Peninsula. So, the decision was made to pay them a visit.

This was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made as a beer nerd. The brewery is nestled in the center of gorgeous farm country. Black Isle brews are 100% organic and they even grow their own barley. When we arrived, I was blown away at how scenic the area was. We were treated to a clear sky, comfortable warm weather, and some of the cleanest air imaginable. After an enjoyable tour of the brewery, we settled down in a cozy beer garden just outside the facility. I drank in the beautiful landscape and had a sudden urge for something light and refreshing. At that moment it came as no surprise that the Black Isle Blonde Ale is one of their most popular brews.

Seriously, take a moment to look at the picture attached to this review and try to imagine a big meaty Imperial Stout sitting on the table. You simply can't. The sky isn't gray. It's not raining. There aren't smoke stacks or loud highways, just quiet serenity. It was such a perfect day that brewery founder David Gladwin decided to join us for a few pints. So there we all were, surrounded by beautiful scenery at the Black Isle Brewery, enjoying good beer with good people. It was one of my favorite times as a beer fan.

Black Isle Blonde had a warm yellow coloration that was closer to apple juice than straw. It came with a frothy white head that had very nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by herbs and biscuits coated in butter. I also found a light tart fruity note akin to lemon. If I had to break all Black Isle beers down to a single word, it would be ''clean''. Every beer smelled, felt, and tasted amazingly pure and fresh. They all seemed to have a harvest ale quality to them, which was very inviting. This beer had a fabulous introduction, especially for the environment, so I wasted no time diving in for that first sip.

The flavor mirrored the aroma very well. I found buttery herbs and biscuits with a touch of berry-like fruit. I also uncovered complimentary notes of honey and freshly cut grass. The body resided in the light-to-medium range, which was thicker than your average blonde ale and gave it a very nice presence. It was buttery smooth, easy drinking, clean as a whistle, and endlessly refreshing. The hop profile was quite mild and served more as a tingly herbal enhancement. The finish was clean, smooth, and exited with a sweet pale malty aftertaste.

Overall, the Black Isle Blonde was a delicious brew with a pure disposition. This is a beer that I can happily recommend to any and all beer fans. Its cleanliness, accessibility, and refreshing nature can be appreciated by seasoned beer fans and novices alike. It's one of those special brews out there that are both bridge builder and destination. I could easily drink this beer all day long and never grow tired of it.

When beer fans think of Scottish ales, images of strong dark malt bombs come to mind. So, it was initially strange to discover such a delightful blonde ale in Northern Scotland. The Black Isle Brewery has definitely opened my eyes to the region and I cannot thank them enough for the experience. They sit at the top of my ''must revisit'' list for when I return to Scotland and I highly recommend the same adventure to any beer fan. Just be sure to budget plenty of time because you will never want to leave.

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Black Isle Blonde by Black Isle Brewing Co.
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