Advantages Tasty, light and rich.
Disadvantages You may not appreciate it after another strong tasting drink!
We had a really nice time at Easter. A few days off work, my brother was visiting from London AND there was a beer festival being held all weekend at one of my favourite pubs! Our branch of CAMRA’s (Campaign for Real Ale) pub of the Year this year was the Arkwright Arms in Sutton-cum-Duckmanton (see my review in the Chesterfield pubs section) and they always manage to host a few beer festivals a year with around 15 different beers on every day.We visited on Friday night (to show my brother) and for lunch and to meet people on Monday afternoon. The selection was great ~ a good combination of strengths, styles and funny names! My only problem was which ones to drink and then which ones to write about!
Brewing began at the Isle of Skye Brewery in the December of 1995, after the company was formed earlier on in the same year. The brewery is known in Gaelic as Leann an Eilein and is based near the wonderfully named ferry terminal of Uig (it is the terminal for the Outer Hebrides).Since then the company has grown and now bottles beers as well as transporting barrels of cask ales. The brewery has won a variety of awards and prides itself on only using natural ingredients to produce excellent quality beers (some for the export market too.).
Some of the beers they produce that you may find include Red Cuillin (a lovely ruby red beer at 4.2% ABV), Hebridean Gold (a smooth unusual beer at 4.3% ABV) and Young Pretender (a light but strong beer at 5% ABV).~~~THE BEER.
***A Bit of Background***Black Cuillin is named after a jagged and beautiful mountain range that can be found on the Isle of Skye. It is as dark and mysterious as these mountains and has been shortlisted for Champion Winter Beer of Great Britain and also got the Silver medal in the Champion Beer of Scotland competition in 2003.
***The strength***Black Cuillin weighs in at 4.5% ABV and is brewed using rolled roasted oatmeal and heather honey, to give it a distinct flavour and texture. Black Cuillin is also made using spring water and a combination of roast barley, pale ale malt and Challenger hops.
***Look, aroma & texture***This is a lovely dark colour beer, almost resembling a stout, mild or porter. It is almost black, with a browny/red tinge and has a coffee coloured head that starts off quite foamy, but soon fades to a light bubbly laciness on the sides of the glass.
The aroma is smoky and quite earthy, with hints of roasted malt and fruit. Texture is smooth and rich, but also quite light too. Mouth feel is pleasant and full bodied, probably due to the rolled oatmeal and the syrupy honey.***Taste***
Black Cuillin has a complex mix of flavours. The predominant taste is the nutty, roastiness of the malt, combined with the bitter almost stout like flavour provided by the oatmeal. As you drink the flavours develop and I found there was fruit, chocolate and a honey sweetness coming through.The finish is quite bitter and hoppy, but also has an underlying sweetness (again from the heather honey). There is a lingering aftertaste of roasted malt and the smoothness makes it very moreish.
***What I thought***We had our Black Cuillin after a pint of very highly flavoured Dragon Smoke Stout (from the Beowulf Brewery), so on my first sip I couldn’t taste too much at all. I had a glass of water to clear my palate (I’m VERY professional don’t you know!) and the flavours began to come through.
I found the texture to be unusual, but extremely pleasant and really liked the combination of the malt and sweet tastes. You really could taste the honey and the addition of the oatmeal (like they do in stouts) gave it a smoothness that I like in a dark beer.We paid £2.10 for a pint and I think this is quite good value for a beer of this strength. Availability is a difficult issue though ~ you can buy it bottled via their web-site, but the Cask version doesn’t crop up very often around where I live. I will definitely look out for it because I was very impressed with the two pints we had. Although the beer is complex and has many different elements it isn’t overpowering and went really well with our food.
I think it is a beer that would appeal to a wide range of people ~ stout and porter lovers will like the texture, mild drinkers will like the lightness and Real Ale fans in general will appreciate this originality and well crafted beer. Even my mum, an unrepentant lager drinker, tasted it and agreed that she could happily drink a half or two!I love the name and the origins of this beer and would recommend it to thirsty people everywhere. It is nice to see something a bit different and it’s always nice when that something different turns out to be good too.
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment