Fun facts about Scotland: the coastline is as long as that of England and Wales put together, its official animal is the unicorn, and it is home to some of the most exciting breweries in the UK.
Despite its population of only 5.2 million, Scotland’s influence in the world of literature, science, philosophy and, indeed, brewing, has been disproportionately high. One only needs to look at the dizzying expansion of BrewDog for an example. They now export to 55 countries, have 44 bars and are opening a brewery in the US. BrewDog aside, the rest of the modern Scottish beer scene is also wildly inventive. Fyne Ales based in a beautiful spot near Loch Lomond make outstanding beer, carefully crafted with the highest quality ingredients.
Harviestoun, whose awards shelf will soon need strengthening, make crisp, clear and refreshing ales and lagers, but it has also pioneered some barrel-ageing magic with its Ola Dubh series.
Williams Bros Brewery in Alloa similarly make a great range of delicious beers, but also a series of historical Scottish ales such as Kelpie that is made with seaweed and Fraoch that is made with heather, a common addition before hops.
Just outside of Edinburgh is Stewart Brewery. It was set up in 2004 and it make a wide range of beers. At Beer Hawk, we’re particularly fond of their ‘Hop Series’ that includes such as the flavour-packed Black IPA and the triple-hopped pale ale Radical Road.
With a long brewing heritage in Scotland, the fact that Scottish beers are among the best quality in the world, the unicorn is perhaps a befitting national animal.