Friday, 11 May 2012

Harviestoun 'Bitter & Twisted'

Is it the water? The weather keeping them indoors? Whatever it is that keeps the Scots making great beer and the world's finest whisky (a 16yo sherry-cask Glen Scotia provided an ideal accompaniment to this) I hope it continues for a long time - at very least until I shuffle off this mortal coil anyway. Harviestoun are currently vying with Williams in terms of being my personal favourite Scottish brewery. My review of their Wild Hop IPA* has been gobbled up with the loss of my old blog but I thought it was one of the best beers in Sainsbury's Great British Beer Hunt, along with the Williams Bros' entries (see here for Simon's review over at at CAMRGB).  Even years of working for Scottish and Newcastle wasn't enough to scare me off beers from north of the border (used to be a big fan of this on hand-pull). I've heard vague rumours that there's a brewery up near Fraserburgh somewhere, but they seem to keep really quiet. If it were me I'd try and get some more PR, get in the press and stuff, but what do I know?

So, the beer. If you've ever had a home made lemon cheesecake, with ginger nut biscuits mixed in with the digestives to make up the base, then you already know what this beer tastes like without trying it. It's got a great balance of biscuity malt and tangy citrus hops, and all at a very reasonable session strength. Much as I hate supermarkets, it does instill bit on confidence in the future of British Brewing when they're prepared to stock proper, decent beer like this. All right, it's not shouty, and it's probably not as exciting as the latest must-have hop-bomb from across the pond, but like I say, it's a proper beer. Job done.

On a side note, I'd had a few days off the beer before trying this, and I love how alive your palate gets after a few days rest. Even if the rest of your body is tired beer's great for invigorating the mind and the soul. Although I'm sure you knew that or you probably wouldn't be reading this.

4.2% abv. £1.99 (50cl) from Ocado

Tempting as it was to put Therapy?'s Potato Junkie as a music match (don't click on that if you're easily offended) my favourite electronic artist has a tune called Bitter and Twisted so it'd be rude not to post it. (Hat-tip as ever to Mark for beer and music matching!)

* Is this still about? It's not on their website.


  1. Jeez your blog makes me thirsty! I originally hail from your shores and have turned my thirst to the fermented grape. Craft beer here leaves a little to be desired, I guess it's kind of where the UK was in the late 70s with the dominance of a few commercial brewers and a small but growing scene of craft proponents.

    Loved this beer - champion around 2003/ 04 from memory at the GBBF. Used to love attending that. Glad I've found your blog via twitter. Cheers Stu (aka @thevinsomniac)

  2. Haha, cheers Stu!

    I spent a year out in Oz doing the backpacker thing and I worked in some pubs in Brisbane for about half that time. Although it's going back ten years or so, aside from the obvious Coopers there wasn't a lot that I remember being much different from XXXX/VB/Tooheys and the like (I walked past the CP brewery to get to work). I do remember Boags and Redback but they were decent rather than spectacular. It looks like the Kiwis are beating you guys to it on this one unfortunately! Mind I'd be surprised if (rather like with their wine) they can ignore Oz as a market - look out for the 8 wired stuff in particular.

    In the mean time let me know if you do come across anything weird and wonderful down under and maybe I'll draft you in (if you'd be up for it) to do a guest review? It's probably the closest thing I'm going to get to remembering the heady days of mis-spending youth out there! Thanks for reading.