Fyne Ales, JARL
Sat around a fire one Summer evening, Tuggy Delap suggested to husband Johnny that they put the working farm they lived and worked on to better use by starting a brewery. “You’re crazy” was the initial reaction she explains. So they conducted some “market research” by asking what the locals thought of the idea. Well, they weren’t going to say no were they?
The first commercial brew was on St Andrews Day 2001. Just nine months later they were awarded the Scottish regional gold award from SIBA for two of their beers and have continued to pick up gongs right, left and centre since then.
Jonny Delap sadly passed away in late 2010 and today son Jamie holds the reins at the brewery which has a wonderful range of core session beers including Maverick, Highlander, Piper’s Gold, Vital Spark and Avalanche. These are complemented by some stunning, more ground-breaking one-off brews and collaborations with some of the best names in the brewing world.
Still based on the same working farm in Achadunan at the head of Loch Fyne (from which the brewery gets its name), brewing takes place in a disused milking parlour with water drawn from a nearby burn. It’s an incredible setting for FyneFest; a wonderful beer, food and music festival which has been running since 2010.
Jarl was in fact first brewed for that inaugural festival. Tasting this single hopped pale ale is as close to sticking your head in a bag of Citra hops that you are going to get.
Citra hops have become ubiquitous in British brewing but Fyne Ales were one of the first breweries in the UK to use the punchy American hop. It gives Jarl a distinctive citrus flavour and aroma that belies its low ABV. A light, biscuity malt body, not dissimilar to that of a lager, make it very drinkable, without being too thin. But the stars of the show are those hops which offer up incredibly refreshing grapefruit and kiwi fruit flavour and aromas with just enough citrus bitterness to make you come back begging for more.
The area of Argyll is shrouded in Viking folklore and the name Jarl refers to the name of the Norwegian Earls (Jarls), who claimed many of the surrounding lands in the 12th century. A Jarl was apparently only outranked by the King.
This week’s beer is the best single-hopped Citra beer we’ve ever tasted, so it’s not gonna answer to anyone. Not even a King.
Style: Golden Ale
Malts: Maris Otter Extra Pale Malt, Torrified Wheat
Original Gravity: 1038