I was thinking of writing a monster based introduction. I thought about it and decided to leave it be. I have been to Loch Ness as a boy but have very little memory of it, so the thought of manufacturing some sort of annecdote or fabricating an affinity with the place just doesn’t sit well with me. Most likely I would end up regurgitating a pile of badly researched noise which would be unpleasant for everyone. Safe to say most of us know the significance of the Loch!
So what do I actually know about the Loch Ness Brewery itself? As it happens, not very much, as they have only just started operating. However, anyone who takes a look at their website will know that its been over 150 years since ale was brewed at Loch Ness, making this brewery a significant addition in the locality. The new brewery site is situated at the Benleva Hotel, Drumnadrochit, Inverness-shire. Brothers and business partners Allan and Stephen Crossland run the hotel and have acted on their passion for real ale by developing their plot and making use of a cottage at the back of the hotel to house the brewery. Joined by brewing enthusiast George Wotherspoon, they proceeded to build the plant and seek counsel from established bewers from the Highlands who were only too happy to oblige and assist where necessary.
I first became aware of Loch Ness Brewery back in July 2011 when I was writing my Mutually Oblivious blog posts. Having taken a couple of years to conceive, plan and act on their venture, their brewery was installed and initial recipes tested by January 2011. Through April to September of this year they have been busy finalising their brew plant and during that time they were receiving plenty of interest in their beer from local pubs and beer festivals. To much surprise, including their own, they were able to get their first beers to the bar for the 10th Loch Ness Beer Festival which ran from 16th-24th September.
Amongst some fierce competition from the likes of Blue Monkey, Salamander, Saltaire, Isle Of Sky, Fyne Ales, Inveralmond, Highland Brewing Co and many others, their beer WilderNESS was voted as joint second favourite behind Highland Brewing Co Scapa Special.
Their current range of six beers includes a golden ale, a red ale, a mild, a stout, a traditional English Bitter and a hop forward ale all of which would serve nicely as a session beer. Their pump clips are modern and straightforward using local landscapes along with clear and consistent branding which is most evident in their beer names. This approach has worked well for other breweries entering a buoyant market, for example the Red Willow of Macclesfield whose owner and brewer Toby McKenzie uses ‘less’ in the same way Allan, Stephen and George use ‘ness’. I often find myself annoying Toby with silly suggestions so I’ll take this opportunity to apologise in advance to Allan, Stephen and George. So, good luck guys and we look forward to seeing and tasting your beers when they reach us ‘down south’!
The Loch Ness Brewery’s beer:
- LightNESS – A golden ale, with a crisp and full flavour and mild hoppy aroma (3.6% abv).
- HoppyNESS – Overly hopped and full of character yet still low on alcoholic content (3.8% abv).
- RedNESS – A reddish ale with nutty overtures, malt flavours and a hint of citrus (4.2%).
- DarkNESS – A bitter stout with its roasted barley and a slight chocolate aroma (4.6%).
- MildNESS – A traditional dark mild with a slight roast finish (3.5%).
- WilderNESS – A crisp copper coloured ales with a malty nose, a well rounded bitter finish with a hint of winter spice (3.9%).
Follow their progress on Twitter @LochNessBrewery