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Wednesday 31 March 2010

Brewery visit- Harviestoun

It was the 17th of February and I didnt have many days left of my 9 day visit back home to Scotland. Along with seeing all the family and close friends it was important to get a few beer related things done too. Thats why on Monday the 15th of Feb I went to visit James and Martin up at BrewDog in Fraserburgh. Not content with just one brewery visit, on the 17th I set my heart on visiting two of Scotlands best breweries. I visited Williams Brothers which you can see here and also the wonderful Harviestoun.

I've been trying to make a visit to Harviestoun for a long time. For two years I lived just ten minutes away but yet I still never made it along. Ironic being that I now live about 1,200 miles away and I only visit now. I look forward to living ten minutes away again after september. Anyway, all that aside, the guys at Harviestoun were very welcoming. Stuart Cail, the head brewer, showed us around this small brewery tucked away at the bottom of the Ochil hills in central Scotland. The day we visited they were brewing bitter and twisted and the unmistakable smell of it was in the air. Bitter and Twisted has always been a session favourite of mine. Some people say its a little bit 'girly' but I like it and it was one of my first real session loves. Although I now might rather a glass of Schiehallion, I still remember my first pint of B&T like it was yesterday.

One of the things that I have always loved about Harviestoun is their ability to make consistantly good and flavoursome beer. Ok it might not have the highest ABV or the most hops but it has a real sense of drinkability and enjoyment about it. I have tried a lot of Harviestouns offerings, including their seasonal stuff like Mae Best and Mr Sno'balls and I havent really ever had one that has been off or on the turn. Thats usually because they dont last long enough.

Considering that we really just dropped by to take a few photographs and see the place we spent a long time in the brewery. We smelled hops, we tasted malt, we talked about the costs of brewing these days. All in all it was a great time and even although I'm sure Stuart was very busy that day, he took an hour or so out of his time to show us around and make us feel welcome. I picked up a few bottles and Stuart very kindly gave us a bottle of Ola Dubh 40 to take away and taste. I havent opened mine yet as I am in France and the bottle is in Scotland (there is a small problem there) but expect to see it on review anytime after May.

If you are in the Stirling area this place is a must visit Brewery. I will hopefully be persueding some of our new members at Stirling University Craft Beer Society that this is a good place for a visit after we start meeting in September. If you havent been along, give the guys a phone as Im sure they will be happy to show you about. If not, look out for Harviestoun specials at a pub or beer fest near you.


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