Harviestoun Brewery, Schiehallion
Named after the famous mountain about 50 miles north of Harviestoun, it's got everything you want from a refreshing, crisp pilsner.
Harviestoun (like BeerBods) was born in a shed. Its founder, Ken Brooker, had a few friends sample his beer in return for tasting notes which he used to hone his brews.
In 1986 he cobbled together a brewery in a 200 year old barn on the Harviestoun Estate in Clackmannanshire at the foot of the Ochil Hills. Using a mash tun that was previously used to make jam and a boiler that was originally used to dye wool, Haviestoun launched their first beer, Harviestoun Real Ale. The less than inspirational name didn't do the beer justice. People loved it.
About 5 years later, a new, slightly less Heath Robinson-esque 10-barrel brew plant was installed. After Harviestoun's landlord told them they wanted to turn the brewery in to houses, they moved down the road to Alva, about five miles from the original brewery, and built a totally new purpose-built 50-barrel plant.
Stunning beers like Ptarmigan, Ola Dubh, (they picked names that English folk couldn't pronounce on purpose), Liberation Ale and Bitter and Twisted followed, picking up awards right, left and centre.
That meant they caught the eye of the big boys. In 2006 the brewery was bought by Caledonian Brewery. Ken went back to brewing beer in his shed. Caledonian Brewery was bought by Scottish & Newcastle, who in turn were bought by Heineken. Still with us? Heineken weren't interested in Harviestoun so a group of Directors decided to stage a management buyout, making Harviestoun independent once again.
At a time when the big brewers are trying to tap in to the craft beer revolution it would be interesting to know whether Harviestoun would have been dismissed by Heineken so easily today. We doubt it.
If only Heineken tasted anything like Schiehallion (pronounced She-ally-on), a standout British lager. Named after the famous mountain about 50 miles north of Harviestoun, it's got everything you want from a refreshing, crisp pilsner with "aromas and flavours of fresh-cut grass, brown sugar, lychee and green mango" according to acclaimed beer writer Melissa Cole. "This fascinating lager will blow you away. Chock full of aromas and flavours…it is a complex and stunning beer". What she said.