Cheese, Glorious Cheese

We have some new stock in this week…gorgeous fresh organic cheese from Connage Highland Dairy. We had our Beer, Cheese and Tunes event not long ago which was a collaboration between ourselves and Connage. As it was such a success, we decided to get in on the action and we now have some of their cheeses stocked in the brewery shop. To help things along, we have paired our beers with each of the cheeses, so now you can have a lovely organic melt in the mouth combo! Read on and decide what you will be going for…

Connage cheese

If you fancy a Blonde, go for a slice of Cromal – with it’s citrusy notes, grassy aromas and fresh and mild flavours, these are a great match.

Our Red Kite Ale is great teamed with Clava, with a slight sweetness balanced by the creamy brie.

The Gouda, with its Eastern Spice harmonises with the fruitiness of the Goldeneye Pale Ale.

And finally, the Scotch Ale is perfect with the Smoked Dunlop. The bittersweet ale is complimented by the smokiness of the cheese.

Which combo will you go for?

beer pairings

Black Isle on the big screen in Alabama

We’re pinching ourselves but this actually happened… our brewery video was up on the Jumbotron screen at an event this past weekend at Regions Field baseball stadium in Birmingham, Alabama!

Our beer will soon be appearing on Alabama shelves thanks to our distributor Hop City Beer. Check out our Beer Finder page for all the latest places you can find Black Isle – we’re adding new locations all the time.

Black Isle in Alabama

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Black Isle beer now at Sainsburys

Attention Sainsbury’s shoppers! Black Isle beer is now stocked in stores across Scotland. You can choose from Blonde, Red Kite and Yellowhammer.

We did a reccie to the Nairn store yesterday to admire it on the shelves…

Black Isle beer in Sainburys

Meet the team: Gareth Reid

Our assistant brewer Gareth Reid caught the brewing bug after spending twenty years as an electrical engineer. He completed a MSc in Brewing & Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in 2012-13, before joining the Black Isle team last September. We had a chat about his transition from power lines to pints…

Gareth waxing lyrical about Red Kite in the tasting video

Gareth waxes lyrical about Red Kite in the tasting video

How did you make the career leap from engineering to brewing?
It started when I got into drinking good beer. Being a bit geeky and OCD, I decided I wanted to learn how to make it. I quickly realised that the skills needed to be a brewer suited my personality. When my homebrew experiments filled the room that my wife had earmarked for an en-suite bathroom, she suggested that maybe the hobby was getting serious! So five years later, here we are.

How does brewing differ from engineering?
In many ways it doesn’t – you need a good eye for detail and a creative streak to be good at both. Sometimes both jobs require the skill and knowledge to think on your feet and improvise and of course there is a lot of equipment and machinery in the brewery. The main difference is the end product is tastier!

What are your favourite Black Isle beers?
I like Hibernator, Scotch Ale and Export Scotch Ale because they’re fun and interesting to brew – you have to really pay attention as you use a partigyle technique and have to get the sparging and cut off points right to get the right amount of sugars in the wort. Taste wise, they’re good sipping beers with relatively high alcohol for warmth and loads of flavour. Great comfort beers for Scottish winters!

I like Blonde for the opposite reasons. The recipe is really simple and the flavour profile relatively light so there’s nowhere for any off flavours to hide. It’s our biggest seller so you have to brew and ferment it carefully to ensure consistency.

What beers do you like, in general?
It honestly changes all the time! Recently I’ve been learning more about Belgian Trappist beers and just tried Rochefort 10 for the first time, which was spectacularly good.

Mash tun glamour

Mash tun glamour

What’s your favourite part of the brewing process?
Mashing in. The brewery starts to smell really good and you’re anticipating the rest of the brewday; going through a mental checklist to make sure that you do a good job. There’s a bit of pressure to get it right when you’re brewing 30 barrels at a time. A bit of a change from my formative years brewing 20 litre home brew batches in the garage!

Now, your non-brewing life. What’s your favourite…
Film? Doctor Strangelove
TV show? Northern Exposure
Book? Anything about the Space Race!
Non-beer beverage? Strong tea.
Weekend activity? Cycling and hillwalking.

What’s the best part about brewing at Black Isle?
I like the location. Working on the farm is very different from brewing on an industrial estate. Sometimes you forget where you are until you go outside and there are chickens wandering around or dogs looking for a pat!

Any tips for someone wanting to follow in your brewing footsteps?
Read, read and read some more! Always keep brewing and keep learning about ingredients, styles and techniques. Ask lots of questions. Some of the best professional brewers I know started out as (and still are) homebrewers; the science and methods are equally applicable at both ends of the scale.

Russia here we come!

This truck left the brewery this morning, filled with a selection of our finest brews and bound for Russia. To all our Russian friends, keep an eye out for it soon!

Black Isle beer is heading to Russia

San Francisco stockists

USA update: we have now infiltrated the San Francisco Bay Area! Our distributor has just given us this list of stockists…

If you do get your hands on our lovely Oatmeal Stout or Export Scotch Ale, we’d love to hear what you think. We’ll keep you posted on further stockist news. Thank you for your support!

Black Isle in the USA… more cities!

Oatmeal Stout & Export Scotch AleAs promised, here’s the latest update on Black Isle beer in the USA! Four more distributors have joined us:

Boston
Atlantic Importing
508-665-4272

Chicago
Windy City Distributing, LLC
(630) 820-1268

Maine
Wicked Wines
(207) 942-2300

Washington state
Click Distributing
(206) 763 3200

So keep an eye on your local beer merchant, we could be heading your way! Want to see Black Isle in your area? Ask your local beer merchant to stock Black Isle – they can get in touch with our nearest distributor. Here’s the full list of distributors so far.

 

Black Isle in the USA

Calling all our friends across the pond! At last, the first shipment of Black Isle Oatmeal Stout and Export Scotch has arrived on American shores.

Our distributors are sending this slew of delicious brew to all corners of the country. So far, we can confirm we’re on sale in selected stores in…

  • San Francisco
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • South Carolina
  • New York
  • Maine and Chicago coming soon

We’ll be hitting more states in the weeks to come… check back here for details!

Want to see Black Isle in your neck of the woods?
Please help us spread the word! Ask your local beer merchant to stock Black Isle… they can get in touch with our nearest distributor:

  • Geyser Beverage, Livermore CA
    (925) 960-0125
  • Pitcher of Nectar, Phoenix AZ
    (602) 513-3320
    pitcherofnectar.com
  • Remarkable Liquids, Albany NY
    Contact Spencer Noakes – spencernoakes @ remarkableliquids.com

Update: four more distributors added:

Boston
Atlantic Importing
508-665-4272

Chicago
Windy City Distributing, LLC
(630) 820-1268

Maine
Wicked Wines
(207) 942-2300

Washington state
Click Distributing
(206) 763 3200

Black Isle in the USA!

Christmas in a box – 10% off!

Don’t leave them weeping in the ‘isles (geddit?) this Christmas… there’s still time to order the perfect Black Isle gift delivered to your door, any door, mainland Britain.

* * * Last date for Christmas orders is this Thursday 19 December * * *

Order now and you’ll get 10% off our mixed boxes, including two new combinations…

Pale and Interesting – Straw coloured, hoppy, zesty, flinty, refreshing, for the fruit & flower loving beer drinkers: Yellowhammer, Goldeneye, Blonde, Heather Honey, Red Kite. Buy now »

Pale & Interesting


Roasty & Toasty
 – a mix of dark beers including Hibernator Oatmeal Stout, Porter, Big Butt Barley Wine, Smoked Porter, Scotch Ale, and Double Export Scotch… the healthy alternative to chocolate and coffee. Buy now »

Roasty and Toasty


Beer Festival in a Box
– There’s something for everyone in this mixed pack of beers: Blonde, Red Kite, Yellowhammer, Porter. 500ml bottles in packs of 12 or 20! Buy now »

Beer festival in a box

Black Isle in Japan

From the Highlands of Scotland to down town Tokyo.  After a long voyage Black Isle Brewery beer is now in the shops and bars of Japan!

Black Isle in Japan

If the beer being in the country of Japan is not close enough you can get it delivered direct to your door through Liquorland.

For those who would rather drink their beer proudly in a bar here are your places to go:

Tokyo
Helmsdale
Hazelburn
Highlander Inn

Osaka
Qbrick
The Dog House Inn

Kyoto
Ann Tigh Siennse

Nagoya
Kildalton

Hiroshima
Phi’s

If you would rather have a cold bottle of Goldeneye waiting for you at home bottle shops include:

Tokyo
Tanakaya

Osaka
Ueda

Kyoto
Asaosaketen

Nagoya
Marumata

Hiroshima
Liquorland