Origin: Kelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland
In May 2012 I hosted an IPA tasting downstairs at Mason & Taylor in Shoreditch – one of my favourite new craft beer bars in London until BrewDog made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Manager Steve Taylor recommended including this example, from a great new brewery in the Scottish Borders.
Historically Scotland is associated in most people’s minds with sweet beers employing relatively little hops, but in the 19th century the country was a major producer of India Pale Ales, with Edinburgh in particular once exporting at least as much to the subcontinent as Burton upon Trent.
Tempest was opened in 2010 by former chef Gavin Meiklejohn, a Scot with an international perspective from working in New Zeland and at the Whistler brewery in British Columbia. Returning to Scotland, he ran the Cobbles Inn in Kelso before getting his own brewery together with Allan Rice, formerly of the Stewart brewery in the capital.
Brave New World signals its contemporary transatlantic inspirations in its name, and includes New Zealand and US hops in its recipe. It pours a hazy warm amber with a thick yellowish head. The aroma is packed with fruit – grapes, figs, mangoes, apricots – but smoothed by the underlying grain.
The palate has a firm underpinning of digestive biscuit and toast with a slightly sticky residual sweetness, a platform for fruity swathes of strawberry and mango and a touch of menthol toffee. A dark and biting finish reminded me of burnt apricot tart, with those notes of menthol returning alongside lettuce bitterness.
It’s a long stretch from the high industry of Victorian Edinburgh to an artisanal setup in the small town of Kelso, but I’d hazard that, well resourced Aberdonian punks notwithstanding, this is currently the best example of the style brewed in Scotland.