I find myself in Edinburgh for the launch of an exciting beer project by four final year brewing students from Heriot Watt University. You can read more background on the project here and here. They have chosen to launch their one off beer at the Guildford Arms and I thought I'd show my support by turning up and trying a couple.
|A Charm of Finches|
However, I'm a wee bit early and decide to pop in to the Bow Bar to get a look at what they have on. It's a fortuitous move on my behalf as I'm just in time to catch the start of their Summer Beer Festival. It's a fairly extensive festival with over 40 breweries participating, including Hawkshead, Fyne, Dark Star, Tryst, Highland, Bristol Beer Factory and Tempest.
While I was in I indulged in a couple of halves of York Citra, Ossett Santiam and the 9% Highland Orkney Porter. The Citra was the best beer of the three. It was light, citrussy and thoroughly refreshing. I've had better Citra hopped beers but this was still a very flavourful and drinkable 4% light session beer. The Orkney Porter is one that you tend not to see in cask very often, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm a big fan of this beer's rich, dark chocolate booziness but today's cask offering wasn't as rounded and balanced as I had hoped. It was nice but just a little too harsh in the booze department for my gentle tastebuds.
Beers finished, I wandered down to the Guildford Arms for the launch of Natural Selection's, Finch.
The student brewers' aim was to create a beer that married traditional Scottish beer with the innovation and craft of the American beer scene. What they created was an Imperial Red Ale called Finch. It is a 6.5% beer that uses Chinook hops for bittering and Amarillo for flavour and aroma with a Maris Otter malt base with additional Crystal and Caramalt.
|Lovely Pump Clip|
How was it?
I had been expecting it to have a more upfront hop profile in the nose and taste. In the battle between malt and hops, the malt won. It was very reminiscent of a Scotch Ale or a hoppier 80 Shillings with a full, thick, creamy mouthfeel and sweetish malt that hid the 6.5% ABV very well. I was expecting a bit more bitterness and more hop flavour. Overall, It was a nice enough beer and credit to the students' brewing skills but could have benefitted by turning the hop volume up a notch or two.
|Mr Beer Cast and the Black Isle Beer Boy enjoy some Finch|
The beer will now be available for a very limited time in some of Edinburgh's pubs. It even makes an appearance aa part of the Bow Bar's Summer Beer Festival. A limited number of bottles are also available from Appellation Wines in Edinburgh's Dalry Rd.
You can read Rich from the Beer Cast's review of the night here