18 December 2010

The Cairngorm Brewery Company: Trade Winds / Wildcat / Nessie’s Monster Mash / Cairngorm Gold [By Spectre]

Regular readers will know my fondness of real ale. In the past I have written about four of the Cairngorm Brewery Company’s ales; Stag, Black Gold, Blessed Thistle and Sheepshaggers. These next four ales complete Cairngorm’s permanent offering. With the diverse ranges of the last four ales such as brown ale, thistle, stout and lager style beer, I was definitely looking forward to drinking these next four. With the high quality of the last four ales, I couldn’t help having the highest expectations. Did those expectations make me worried that these latest four ales wouldn’t live up to the taste test? Well maybe, but only very slightly…

Trade Winds

This was the only ale I was concerned about as elderflower is added in the brewing. However, this beer did win the Great Taste Award 2010, so I was expecting greatness. I wasn’t to be disappointed. The elderflower and Perle hops give this ale a fruity sweet smell and taste with an underlying bitterness at the end of each mouthful. This ale is an excellent alternative to Blessed Thistle or Thistle beer. There is no added chocolate or ginger for that sweet tang in Trade Winds, but this beverage doesn’t need those ingredients as the elderflower and hops carries out all the work. Unlike many of the fruity flavoured beers Cinabar has tortured me with in the past; elderflower ale just works and will definitely have pride of place next to the thistle beers in the fridge from now on.


It’s a rare occurrence to find a beer that goes perfectly with a certain type of food. I recently found that Orange Peel beer goes perfectly with salmon and other fishy meals. I have now found that Wildcat goes perfectly with Cottage Pie. It makes me wonder if Stag ale has the same effect on the tastebuds, as both beers have a strong brown ale taste to them. Wildcat is a deep amber colour with a fruity smell and a wholesome flavour of fruit, malt and hops. The sweetness disappears from the tastebuds almost immediately to be replaced by the bitterness of the Challenger and Fuggles hops. The sweetness complemented the potato in the pie and the bitterness from the hops brought out the flavour of the gravy and beef. I have a few of these in stock and will be begging Cinabar’s Mom to cook me more Cottage Pies in the future. Of course, I’ll have to experiment with the Stag ale also.

Nessie’s Monster Mash

I remember when I was a lad (I know, that makes me sound old) I visited Loch Ness with my parents. I remember the beautiful landscape surrounding the Loch and the monster museum by the lake. The mystery of the Loch Ness Monster still stands today. I can’t remember if I believed in it then, but can’t help but think there was something definitely eerie about that Loch. Nessie’s Monster Mash is another brown ale offering, but different from the Stag and Wildcat, Nessie's Monster Mash has a smooth domineering malt taste to start with and then the bitterness of the hops kicks in at the end of each mouthful. Like the other two, Nessie’s Monster Mash would go well with a meaty dish, perhaps sausages this time? I’ll have to give it a try!

Cairngorm Gold

This lager style beer reminded me a little of the Sheepshaggers beer from the previous Cairngorm blog. Gold has a smooth bitter, yet sweet smell to it. This beer was bubblier than the Sheepshaggers, and where the Sheepshaggers had an initial bitterness to it slowly smoothing out to a refined spring water taste, this beer stays bitter all the way through each mouthful and has a clipped smooth taste right at the end. Gold has a good strong bitterness that starts with the sweet twang of Saaz hops and finishes with the aromatic Styrian Goldings. This beer well deserves the brewers name and “Gold” in its title. This golden beer was the racy Golden Fleece (rather than the seductive Sheepshaggers) at the end of my Cairngorm beer tasting sessions. This is truly one of the all time real ale greats and a perfect beer to finish off with.

Thank you Cairngorm Brewery Co. :-)
By Spectre


BlahCooCooBlah said...

Ahhh my mouth is watering for some! Have you ever tried pumpkin spiced ale? Your life will never be the same! (in a good way lol)

cinabar said...

We tried some as part of our Halloween reviews this year - was really nice, but very hard to find in these parts. http://foodstufffinds.blogspot.com/2010/10/post-road-pumpkin-ale-by-spectre.html