Across the sea, our trading history inextricably links us to Scandinavia.
With a similarity not just in landscape, but in a love for brewing great beer, the North Sea Bridges Project was born. The plan? A collaboration with six of Scotland and Scandinavia’s best breweries, to celebrate unity across the water.
A random draw of names at Craft Beer Rising was to follow, which saw Dry & Bitter’s Søren Wagner and our brew team at Black Isle brought together.
Scotland was first to play host for round one; starting here with us on The Black Isle. With the Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival in Søren’s diary, a date was made for his trip to the Highlands. From there, we’d make the magic happen.
A Scottish welcome
First stop for Søren was to the bar in town.
Mike and Alex made plans to meet him there and give him a taste of Inverness city life (and as many taps at our bar as we could manage), before a day of brewing on the farm. As Mike and Alex arrived, serendipity would have it that David, JJ and Søren had met unknowingly already at the bar; the Scottish welcome had begun already.
Starting early the next day, hops were unquestionably on the agenda. The plan was to add more hops than we’d ever done before to one single brew in our entire 20 year history.
Hop to it
From our brew team, Sandy McKelvie gives his take on the recipe for Flame Out:
When we drew Dry & Bitter in the North Sea Bridges project, we knew we could only make one thing.
Inspired by our appreciation for their beers – like Hobo Chic and Dank and Juicy – we saw only one way to go. Our collaboration would have to take the shape of a big, juicy hazy, double IPA; very “of the moment”.
The recipe pretty much writes itself: Lager malt, oats, cara-pils, dextrose, coupled with New England style water treatment to increase mouthfeel.
For the hopping regime we knew we had to go big.
We’ve been slowly ramping up our hopping rates and loving the results. Organic hops in most cases, cost two to three times that of their non-organic counterparts, but the results speak for themselves. Organic is in our DNA. This particular beer had all the hot side hop additions in the whirlpool – and so it was this – together with a slight technical issue with our direct fire copper, that gave birth to the name of our collaboration beer – Flame Out!
For the whirlpool hops we added Centennial and Nelson Sauvin, giving this beer a theoretical IBU of 45. Post-fermentation we dry hopped with a mix of Citra, Nelson and Centennial.
We previously released Rhode Runner, a New England pale, using Lallemands New England strain and although we were happy with the results and had been treated with great feedback, we didn’t feel that yeast would be right for this beer. Another consideration was using US-05, but that wasn’t quite right either.
What we settled on was a co-pitch of our house strain and US-05. Previously, we used this method on Systems Theory (our Imperial Stout collab with Poppels brewery, which was released earlier this year) with really positive results. Between Søren and I, we decided we couldn’t really call the beer a New England Double IPA, as we hadn’t use a yeast strain specific to that style.
Ironically, this is probably more true to the New England style than any other beer we’ve produced and it has certainly planted the seed for further batches of New England style IPAs.
Hopping Rate 23g/L
Join us for a beer
North Sea Bridges collaboration beers will be available from the 23rd August, with a tap takeover across the UK on the same day at the following venues.
- Aberdeen – Fierce Bar
- Aberdeen – 6 Degree North
- Edinburgh – 6 Degree North
- Edinburgh – Salt Horse Beer Shop & Bar
- Glasgow – 6 Degree North
- Glasgow – Koelschip Yard
- Inverness – Black Isle Bar
ENGLAND AND WALES
- Bristol – Small Bar
- Cardiff – Tiny Rebel Bar
- Leeds – North Bar
- Liverpool – Dead Crafty Beer Company
- London – The Rake
- London – Five Miles
- Manchester – Cafe Beermoth
- Newcastle – The Free Trade Inn
- Nottingham – Junkyard Bottleshop & Pourhouse