5 incredible Scottish beers and the best foods to pair them with

We asked Isla Mercer, the beer expert behind Diary of a Beer Girl, to recommend some incredible Scottish beers, and the best foods to pair them with.

Published 2nd Oct 2019
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Scotland has an abundance of incredible food and drink producers, in particularly a wealth of fantastic breweries.

With many different styles available and an array of complex flavours, beer can
be an excellent choice to pair with food. I’ve put together some of my favourite Scottish beers and what kind of meals best accompany them.

Scottish Beer and Food pairings

Bitter IPAs with salads


Picture: Tempest Brew Co.

A crisp, aromatically hopped and quite bitter IPA like Tempest Brew Co.’s Brave New World, is the perfect accompaniment to a goat’s cheese salad.

Brave New World is a classic IPA style of beer, bursting with bitterness and fruity flavours.

The bitter and slightly resinous notes work perfectly with any bitter salad ingredients like rocket, watercress or radishes and the sharp tropical and citrus fruity flavours intensifies the creaminess of the goats cheese.

Plus, a half pint of beer contains, on average, fewer calories than a standard glass of wine so you shouldn’t feel bad about having beer and salad together.

Pale ale with fish and chips

Picture: Swannay

Scapa Special, a pale ale from Orcadian brewer, Swannay Brewery, goes hand in hand with a big plate of fish and chips.

Scapa Special has some bitterness from the British, German and American hops which cuts through any greasiness in the batter to tone it down and bring out the more delicate flavours in the fish. It also brings a nice effervescence to lighten up what can sometimes be a rather heavy meal.

• READ MORE: In pictures: Scotland’s top brewers and beers crowned at 4th annual Scottish Beer Awards

Gose with south east Asian cuisine

Picture: Wee Beer Shop

I’m a big fan of anything sour and Roselle by Overtone is a beautiful example of a gose beer. Gose is a sour beer style traditionally brewed with a lot of wheat in the grain bill to give a lighter taste, and additions of coriander and salt to give it its distinctive flavour.

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Overtone’s Roselle is brewed with rosehips to give it a bright pink colour and a sweet, almost berry-like taste. The sweet, sour and salty combination means it can stand head to head with the intense flavours in a lot of Thai and Vietnamese dishes.

The lightness in character is welcomingly refreshing once you add spiciness into
the mix too.

Coffee and chocolate stouts with chocolate desserts or strong, blue cheese



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Orinoco is a stout brewed by Drygate Brewery with added coffee, cacao nibs and vanilla to give it an extremely indulgent mocha flavour and lactose to give a rounded mouthfeel.

This mixture of roasted coffee, bitter chocolate and lactose sweetness means it goes brilliantly with either chocolate desserts or strong, blue cheese. Stouts and blue cheese are one of the best combinations ever
created. Fact.

Barrel aged imperial stout - the perfect after dinner tipple

My final pick is more of an after dinner tipple rather than a match for any particular dish and that is an intensely rich, barrel aged imperial stout. Ola Dubh 12 is Harviestoun Brewery’s Old Engine Oil beer aged for 6 months in 12 year old Highland Park casks and is a lovely example of this style.

Packed with treacle toffee, vanilla and roasted malt it’s the perfect end to a cosy winter meal.

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By day, Isla works for Shaw marketing and design agency, and by any other time, she’s a freelance food and drink writer under the name ‘Diary of a Beer Girl’.
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