Fyne Ales, Sanda Black IPA
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 Andrew’s 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.
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.
Jonny Delap sadly passed away the same year as that first festival. Today son Jamie holds the reins at the brewery which has a wonderful range of core session beers including Jarl, Maverick, Highlander 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.
This week’s beer, the Sanda Black IPA and its sister beer, Sanda Blonde were originally brewed as part of the Fyne Ales IPA Project. The project was about experimenting with variables within the IPA spectrum, producing pairs of beers and launching them simultaneously which had very similar recipes, but with one significant variable changed between them. Both Sanda IPAs were brewed as showcases of bold New World hops; Citra (USA) for bittering, Nelson Sauvin (New Zealand) for aromatics and dry hopping with Cascade T90 (USA). Variables between the two are in the base malt; both feature Maris Otter and torrified wheat, but Sanda Black also uses Carafa Special Type 3, a dehusked dark malt that adds smooth, roasted flavour notes which add depth and compliment the hops well, rather than bashing up against them like many other black IPAs.
Pouring with a light creamy tan head, the aroma is of liquorice and coffee with hints of gooseberries coming from the hops. The flavours are punchy tropical fruits with a good roasted malt and coffee bitterness to finish. It’s pretty damn drinkable for such a complex brew.
Named after Sanda lighthouse which is located on the southern tip of The Mull of Kintyre, Fyne Ales continue to be a leading light in the Scottish craft beer scene.
Hops: Citra, Nelson Sauvin
Malt: Maris Otter Pale Malt, Wheat, Crystal Malt, Carafa Special 3, Black Malt
I had mine with some Smoked Mackerel Pie and it was yummy. Recipe by Nigel Slater here.