Traquair House Beers
I love, love, love Scottish beer. Basically, I love anything Scottish – be it their banknotes that are different from the ones printed in England, their soft drinks – how can you not like IRN BRU – orange-coloured, spicy bubblegum taste and domestic sales that surpass Coca Cola? If not the taste, you gotta love the concept! Then there’s Irvine Welsh’s early work that’s pretty much the reason I pursued my English Linguistics and Comp Lit degree (some of his latest work is quite good too – check out Skagboys, Trainspotting’s prequel), and The Rezillos and Ex Cathedra whose music make the ride to work a little bit more fun, and Glasgow’s tough but honest vibe and the imbibing goodness that is beer and whisky. In fact, Scottish whisky is the reason for this blog’s slowdown over the past year: one year ago I started working as Spirits Brand Manager for Pernod-Ricard’s local distributor. For 6 months I managed most of the whisky portfolio, that consists of Jameson Irish Whisky and the wonderful Chivas Brothers brands Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet, Scapa (my personal fave!) and Aberlour. I now work mainly on Gin and Rum but I also manage Ballantine’s range of blended scotch, so I actually contribute to Scotland’s economy on a day-to-day basis, and this excludes whisky tasting and the small bottle collection The Secret Agent and I started building.
And then there’s Scottish beer, that a part from Brewdog does not seem to enjoy the latest craft beer hype, but I find it rich, interesting and varied nonetheless. There are 23 Scottish beers listed in 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die and I’ve already reviewed 12 of them. Today’s post is about two more, that come from Traquair, that is said to be the oldest inhabited house in Scotland – some 30 miles south of Edinburgh. It’s been occupied since the 12th century and beer was brewed there since the early 1700’s, for domestic use. The commercial brewery opened in the 1960’s and their ales are distributed worldwide. Their two wildly known beers are listed in the book and we shared them at a group tasting last month:
Traquair House Ale – we got our bottle from a distributor in New York State. 7.2% Scotch Ale, vinous, date honey in the nose , a little bitter, a little sweet and inoffensively alcoholic. Hardly any carbonation, vinous finish and rather good.
Traquair Jacobite Ale – bottle bought at Beermoth craft beer shoppe in Manchester, on the last day of our real-ale trip which I must write about one of these days. This one is heavier on the alcohol, with 8% abv. and other than that date honey aroma (that maybe remained in the glass from the Traquir House Ale), I smelled wood, black pepper and moss. It has a deep fruity taste, like cooked fruit, long fruity finish, very soft carbonation and a full body. It’s a great beer that should be sipped slowly and due to its heaviness is ideal for sharing.
There are two other beers in the range, one is sold only during the summer months from draught at the brewery – which makes Traquair House another must visit in my ever-expanding must-visit-in-Scotland list. Well, ignoring the scenic coastal road, that’s practically on the way between the Barbour factory outlet store and Edinburgh, so there’s a good chance we’ll make it there sooner or later.
Traquair House Ale and Traquair Jacobite Ale are beers #323 and #324 I Must Try Before I Die