During a recent trip to the Moray coast I was lucky enough to arrange a quick visit to the Windswept Brewing Co in the busy seaside town of Lossiemouth | http://www.lossiemouth.org |
I was greeted by Natassia upon arrival and given a quick tour of the brew house, the cold room and the storage area before having a quick taste of some of the beers fresh from the kegs.
| The Brewery |
The brewery opened and began production in Nov 2012, and in just over 2 short years has become a respected Scottish craft brewery with a reputation for brewing some amazing craft beers and it seems it is set to go from strength to strength.
Production capacity currently sits around 3000 pints per brew but there are plans to expand into neighbouring units on the estate and increase production to meet the growing demand. It seems that they supply almost all of the local pubs and restaurants and even whilst I was there the brewery shop was busy with people coming and going buying up a few mini-kegs for the weekend ahead.
All of the brewing vessels and fermentation tanks are clean stainless steel and all situated within one of the units in a clear and functional layout. Bottling is all done off site at present at the nearby Cairngorm Brewery but Natassia advised that there are plans to begin bottling in house once the expansion goes ahead.
| The Beer |
The core range includes:-
Blonde | A hoppy session pale ale with plenty of fresh flavours and very drinkable. The fact it comes in 500ml bottles is a bonus!
APA | An award winning American pale ale with decent body and hoppy flavour.
Wolf | A fantastic “wee heavy” scotch ale, which is my personal favourite of their core range. Also an award winning beer, this one is malty with lots of body and some fresh hops on the finish. Definitely one for fans of dark ales.
More recently the brewery has produced a series of other ales, some seasonals and some single hop IPAs. They also produce the fantastic Wolf of Glen Moray, which is easily one of the best barrel aged scotch ales I have ever tasted. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few bottles of this limited release ale now, and each one has been exceptional. The Wolf scotch ale seems to be a solid base ale for barrel aging, and the generally mild aspects of the Glen Moray Speyside whisky complement and smooth the robust aspects of the ale. I was also told that Glen Moray had asked for a couple of the used barrels back to age some whisky in them again, so perhaps a “Wolf Barrel Aged” Glen Moray whisky expression will surface at some future date.
There are currently two single hop IPAs being produced by Windswept:-
Tornado | A citra single hop IPA full of tropical fruits and citrusy notes which last almost forever. A solid IPA with a lot of flavour and the citra hop aspects firmly on show.
Typhoon | An amarillo single hop IPA, which is lighter in body and style than the Tornado and surprisingly fresh and sessionable even at 6.2%. My favourite of the two current single hop IPAs being produced.
The focus of my mini tasting session was the seasonal brews, both of which are completely different in nature:-
Aurora | The spring seasonal brew, being a light session ale full of New Zealand hops and bags of fruit flavours. Really easy to drink and a very refreshing beer!
Marooned | The summer seasonal brew, being a blackcurrant wheat beer. This was a delight to taste, hugely refreshing, with the sweet flavours of the blackcurrant giving way to the underlying wheat beer flavours on the finish. This tasked like a blackcurrant juice with body and would be very easy to drink in the summer sunshine (if we ever get any).
The next seasonal for autumn will appropriately be a stout, and given the fact I have yet to taste any stouts from Windswept I am very keen to try it based on their strong form established by their first two seasonals!
I left the tour feeling quite enthused by Windswept’s future plans for their beers, and I think we will see the brewery’s reputation both within and outwith Scotland grow along with their beer range. The Wolf of Glen Moray stands up against any barrel aged beer I have tasted and I would suggest any fans of dark scotch ales should add this to your ‘must drink’ list asap. I have a bottle cellared away to age for a bit and I can’t wait to try it again in a year or two to see how it matures or changes.
The seasonal ales are interesting and a good platform for the brewery to experiment with different styles of beer, which will perhaps add to their core offering, which is a strong range already. I should also add that they brew a Weizen but I have not had the chance to taste it as yet.
If you get the chance to visit the brewery you will undoubtedly receive a warm welcome and I would urge anyone visiting the area to make the journey to Lossiemouth to visit one of my favourite local breweries.
Other quality breweries to visit in the broader area include BrewDog, The Cairngorm Brewery, Speyside Craft Brewery, The Cromarty Brewing Co and The Black Isle Brewing Co (although I’m not fully certain Cromarty & Speyside offer formal tours or visits.)
Even if you can’t visit the brewery, if you get the chance to sample any of the Windswept range then do so, you won’t be disappointed!