CRAFT beer seems to be riding on the crest of the wave that began with the resurgence of real ale in the 60's and 70's.

We asked Jamie Fleming, manager at the Drygate brewery bar in Glasgow, to pick his top five upcoming Scottish craft breweries to watch out for this year.

Black Metal brewery. Edinburgh. Started in 2012

What could be cooler than combining a love of brewing with a love of music? Well that’s the idea behind Black Metal brewery in Edinburgh. Blending their love of metal with their love of brewing.  The brewery, still relatively small in scale, is a labour of love says Jaan Ratsep who co-founded the brewery with fellow metal fanatic Pan Filis. Ratsep – who plays guitar in a band – sees a strong connection between beer and metal. He told TeamRock in a recent interview: “Both have got to be bold, true in taste and spirit and uncompromising in quality and strength.

“Through the history of mankind, music and drink went hand-in hand. Metal music and beer are inseparable. And so-called ‘extreme’ metal calls for appropriate brews.”

Fallen brewery, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Paul Fallen has taken over and refurbished an old shed in the stunning locale of the Old Kippen railway station. The brewery started out with some tasty but perhaps safer traditional recipes.
Jamie believes they really came into their own last year, when Paul and the team began to create some exciting new beers, he says: “In 2014 Fallen started producing some soon to be classic scottish craft beers. Platform C is a great example, a stonking 6.3% IPA, not to be missed if ever you come across it on cask. It really puts the old boys like Deuchars IPA to shame, showcasing citra cascade and mosaic hops perfectly. Sleeper Pils is another fantastic new addition, again its a great showcase for modern cask beer.
“The real star though is the newest, and probably their finest, beer yet. The bang on trend Chew-Chew salted caramel milk stout. A beer that really shows how bold and out there this brewery is with the direction they are heading.”
Monolith brewery, Glasgow

Two friends Chris Hogg and Calum Macleod started home brewing together at the start of 2014. Their beers were so well received by their friends and colleagues they decided to have a go at making a business out of it for themselves. Finally settling on a recipe for their one and only beer, the Belleweather IPA, the pair scraped together enough cash and favours to do a sizeable batch on the Drygate studio kit.
They bottled it up, and went out on foot to sell their cases to local Glasgow bars, the buzz was instant. The feedback was impressive, Chris Hogg explains in a recent interview: “I can’t believe there is people down south asking us to send them beer already! We have only sold a few cases to a few bars in Glasgow but it seems like word has spread like wildfire.”

Drygate brewery in Glasgow

Drygate brewery in Glasgow

Jamie is impressed by what he’s seen so far and expects the name Monolith to be on everyone’s lips in the near future. He says: “The guys are currently waiting on only their third batch of Belleweather, but when its ready they won’t need to sell it by themselves as the entire batch has been bought up by Edinburgh distribution giants A New Wave. So this time around their beer could end up anywhere. A seriously exciting brewery, if their first attempt is anything to go by.
I expect them to be huge very soon. Rumour has it the next Monolith brew, to be released later this year, will be a Pinot Noir barrel aged black IPA, but you’ll have to ask the guys about that”

Fallen Brewing Co.

Fallen Brewing Co.

Pilot brewery, Edinburgh

Matt Johnson and Patrick Jones met whilst doing a masters degree in brewing at Heriot Watt University. They created Pilot brewery in 2013 and haven’t looked back.
Jamie says their growth hasn’t always been secure: “It has been hairy for them at times, they put everything in to each batch. So this has meant at times that if a particular batch didn’t sell they would have gone bust, but they always pull it off in the end.
“I think the reason for this is that they do it their way, they never compromise on anything, especially flavour. They flat out refuse to use finings in their beer and it is always unfiltered. Which can mean their beer is cloudy but that’s what they want. They don’t want to be another traditional real ale brewery nor do they want to be a trendy American clone.
“They want to be Pilot and that is pretty evident in their brews. From Vienna Pale to the Moccahino stout, Ice tea ale and my personal favourite the Ultravilot, a Heffeweizen brewed with Parma Violet sweets.”
Jamie is quick to point out that their popularity is evident in their sales: “Their double Mocha, a doubled up version of the Moccachino stout, sold out in less than one working day. Matt said it took the two of them longer to put the labels on the bottles than it did to sell it.”
Expect big things from this brewery in the coming year.

Drygate, Glasgow

Jamie smiles when he states his reasons for this pick: “I’m sensing this may come across as simply plugging my own place of work but truly the guys here deserve to be on this list. We have barely even scratched the surface of what we are capable of.”
With the tag line of Scotland’s first experimental brewery, three young brewers were plucked from other Scottish breweries and given the opportunity to make beer their way.
Utilising the studio kit on their spare time away from brewing, they shot to fame with their creation of Drygate’s three core range beers.
Jamie explains: “Drygate studio brews is where the ‘everyday meets the exceptional’ as Jake Alessandra and Ed let loose their own wacky brews.  Their collaborations with anyone who wants to join them have created some especially outstanding beers.
“The first time Jake and Ed were told go and create what they wanted, their creation was a exceptionally hopped 9.9% IPA. Safe to say it was fun to drink.”
Drygate brewery’s current releases – the outaspace apple ale, the Gladeye IPA and Bearfaced lager – are doing a roaring trade and it’s clear that there is more to come from this brewery.

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