Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Come Rain or Shine, We're Doing Fyne


The damp, dreich west of Scotland weather didn't deter the many hundreds of eager drinkers from having a grand old time at this years Fyne Fest at Cairndow. The two day bash, near the site of the brewery, was twice as big as last year's and had pulled in imbibers from as far afield as London, Manchester and Cumbria.

No doubt, they had come for more than the beers but clearly a superb selection of Fyne's own as well as beers from some of the best breweries in the UK was a major draw for many who attended. Myself included.

The beer choice was superb, among them Marble, Thornbridge, Moor, Hawkshead, Otley, GreenJack and Oakham, Bristol Beer Factory. Beery highlights for me at the festival were Marble's Summer Marble, with it's crisp, sharp grapefruit notes and a lovely lingering dryness, it was a deliciously refreshing beer perfect for quenching your thirst on an arid summer's day. It is also great with the rain streaming down outside as you sit smugly in a dry marquee.

The Moor Brewery Revival was another cracker. It is exactly how I like my beer in the summer - light, hoppy and full of flavour which comes from the four varieties of malt, three types of American hops and an American yeast. It was bursting full of grassy, citrus aromas and an orange citrus taste undercut with some sweet malt that gave way to a charming cheeky bitterness.

Fyne Ales' Jarl, Hurricane Jack and Avalanche also hit the spot on many occasions over the weekend. These tended to be my boomerang beers - ones that I always return to. Well, with the Fyne Ales' beers up to their usual gorgeous standard, I'd be a fool not to.

Fyne Ales also used the event to showcase their new summer seasonal session beer, Fiddler's Gold. It's reminiscent of a happy marriage between Avalanche and Jarl but with the latter's grapefruit volume turned down a notch or two. It was what you would expect from a Fyne Ales golden session beer - hop aromas, citrus zing and a lovely hop bitterness. It's another great beer to add to their growing canon of great beers.

One of the Best Brewers in the UK, Wil Wood

I also partook in a tour of the brewery, led by Fyne Ales' brewing wizard and the mastermind behind their stunning beers, Wil Wood. He is a modest and understated fellow but single minded in his quest to create fantastically tasty beer. This guy knows what he is doing and he brings his passion and immense brewing knowledge to the science and art that is beer making. Hats off to one of the best brewers at the moment in the UK.

Wil (right) shoots the beer breeze

The tour ended with Wil pointing us in the direction of some beery gems at the back of the brewery for us to sample. Waiting there was the last cask of Fyne Ales' Benleva IPA, a one off special from 2009. It was 5.7% when racked but will reckoned that it's strength had gone up to 5.9% since being laid down. It was lovely. It was smooth and creamy with it's strength superbly well hidden right until the swallow when it coated your throat in a warming butterscotch alcohol stir. It was, like the entire FyneFest weekend, really rather special.

Until, next year..............


Thanks to Gary - The Three Judges' Regular for pics 1, 4 and 6


  1. Sounds like a bloody great festival, sad to have missed it…

    Did you notice any good places to stay nearby or cottages to rent, I could do a bit of forward planning for next years event?

    Great post though mate, pictures catch the atmosphere perfectly



  2. @phil

    It was great.

    There are various hotels and cottages around loch fyne and loch long. argyll and bute tourist board website or visit scotland will have some on their sites.
    We camped and it was most enjoyable. Is it dogs or kids that you need a cottage for? both were allowed at the fest!

  3. Where did you go?? I went to the bar, came back and you were gone! :) Wanted to ask you how you got on with the Hopped Madness - it's been a bit...lively shall we say? We realy enjoyed FyneFest too. We roughed it outside in the rain though. Fav beers for us were Bristol Beer Factory's Southville Hop and their Milk Stout.

  4. @susan

    I went on the brewery tour to get away from the rain.

    Did you camp out or get the renf camra bus back?

    there were a few paisley people about on the sunday.

  5. Sounds like a fantastic festival - different to all the others out there! Awesome line-up of beers as well. I love the Fyne range - I need to try and get to this next year!

  6. Fantastic weekend and don't be put off by the idea of camping. We roughed it in the rain and wouldn't have had it any other way. A real weekend with real people and some Fyne Ale! Congratulations to all involved.