About two weeks ago, I sent a very excited e-mail to a few friends, asking them to keep Thursday 17 September clear in their diary. Why? Well, my favourite Edinburgh beer bar – The Hanging Bat – and my favourite brewery – Fyne Ales – were teaming up for a tap takeover. This would see the Argyll-based brewery takeover all 20 of The Hanging Bat’s beer taps for a night of beery deliciousness.
As regularly readers of this blog will know, I’ve got a real soft spot for Fyne Ales. The reasons for this are three fold:
- Theirs were some of the first “craft beers” I ever tasted (even if I didn’t know it at the time)
- The quality and range of their beers is second-to-none
- They celebrate these beers – and a whole lot of others – at their annual beer festival, Loch Fyne
From small beginnings, Fyne Ales have grown to become one of the best respected breweries in the UK, and pairing this with Edinburgh’s best beer bar made for a great combination.
On arrival, looking up at the board, I was struck by the fact some staples from the range were missing. Yes, Jarl was there, but there was no Vital Spark, Avalanche or Maverick. It turned out the evening was a night for experimentation, and with Fyne’s reputation for quality, we were in extremely good hands.
My usual approach at events like this is to go by name, then beer type, so we started the evening with a Wacka Wacka (4.8%) – in honour of Shakira, obviously! A New Zealand Amber ale (yes, that’s a new one of me too) it was the perfect start to the evening. We then moved onto a superb IPA, aptly named the Great Pacific Hop Patch (5.5%). A delicious Sublime Stout (6.8%) was to follow, before the game-changer – Ragnorok aka Double Jarl! Its singular parent is one of my favourite beers and this is an off-spring which it should be proud of – strong at 7.4%, but crisp, fresh and dangerously drinkable. Things get a bit hazy after this but it’s safe to assume I enjoyed the rest of the evening. And hopefully some of these beers will make it into Fyne bottles soon.
Some of the more experimental beers had a mixed reception from my fellow drinks – the mango beer found an audience but the Berliner Weisse got a thumbs down from everyone. But the beauty of a night like this that it gives you the chance to sample a vast range of beers, from a quality brewery, in fantastic surroundings. So keep your eyes peeled for the next Hanging Bat tap takeover and hopefully Fyne Ales will return with more experimental brews soon.