Inveralmond Brewery, Blackfriar
From the outside, Inveralmond Brewery, based on an unspectacular industrial estate on the outskirts of Perth in central Scotland, isn’t much to look at. But you don’t have to go far to understand why they set up shop here. With spectacular glens and ancient forests on their doorstep, this is a lovely part of the world. Stepping inside the brewery is an equally enjoyable form of escapism.
The brewery was set up in 1997 by Fergus Clark who holds a B.S.c in Brewing and Microbiology from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He worked for ten years at various breweries in England before scrimping and saving to fund a 10-barrel plant. A significant brewery expansion was completed in 2010 increasing the brewing length to 30 barrels. Whilst rural Scotland might seem like a small captive audience, exporting to Finland, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, USA, Canada, Japan and Australia has kept Inveralmond on their toes.
Fergus’ partner in crime is fellow Glaswegian and Head Brewer, Ken Duncan (below) who is, how should we say it, a bit of a local character. He made his first home-brew in an airing cupboard at the age of 16. It didn’t go well, but it didn’t put him off either. Ken was two years into a microbiology course in Australia, when walking home one night from a Nick Cave gig, he spotted a notice in a pub for a Brew Master. He didn’t have the experience or completed degree required so his CV consisted of two bottles of homebrew in a shoe box. He got the job and has travelled the world brewing ever since.
Ken is also a very, very proud Scot. It’s no surprise then that this week’s beer couldn’t be any more Scottish. Scotch Ale is boiled until the wort caramelizes, making it richer in both color and flavor. This also concentrates the alcohol. Scotch Ales often weigh in above the 6% mark. It’s got tonnes of rich, malty substance and an almost whisky like alcohol kick to warm the cockles.
The beer is named after the Dominican friars that came to Perth in 1231. They were known as black friars because of their dark attire. In the Middle Ages they spent their time preaching and helping the poor. We’re not sure we’d want help from the rather scary looking chap on the label. Unless he’s got beer of course.
malt: pale, crystal, chocolate, wheat
hops: pilgrim, cascade, fuggles