Sunday, 13 September 2009
No not my new micro-brewery venture but a plug for my namesakes in Alloa, Scotland. I am always pleased to give a shout-out to anyone who goes out of their way to send me samples of beer and books etc but I was doubly delighted to receive some beer that had my name on it.
Williams Brothers (no relation) are part of Heather Ales, a company most famous for their ancient beer styles such as Fraoch, a beer brewed in a historic style with heather flowers instead of hops.
The company has been brewing Fraoch for twenty years but more recently decided to expand their range by brewing some classic beer styles under a new company name, Williams Brothers. The beers were entered into the Sainsbury's beer competition this year and out of 115 entries there were 4 beers from Williams which made it to the final 15 and are on sale now in Sainsbury stores nationwide.
80 Shilling (4.2%) is a traditional Scottish ale, lightly hopped with more emphasis on the malt characteristics.
The beer pours a chestnut brown colour with a thick creamy head. The caramel and toffee aroma is matched by a sweet malty flavour which finishes with a long roast, chocolate aftertaste. It displays a far greater hop character than would be expected in this style of beer. 80 Shilling, the traditional Scottish malty beer style, is all but invisible nowadays but this beer shows that the style can be very drinkable and need not be cast into the archives just yet.
Ceilidh ("gathering") (4.7%) is brewed with ingredients from around the world and is a lager style beer.
It is a good, clean tasting, crisp citrusy lager that has a pleasant light hop on the aroma; a classic grainy, slightly sweet flavour and a smooth, dry finish. Not really my favourite beer style but this would stand up well against other more well-known lager beers.
IPA (5%) is aggressively hopped with an unusual blend of Bramling X and Amarillo hops. A big long lasting fluffy head on a golden coloured beer. Good fresh hop on the nose make one's mouth water in anticipation. A classic IPA which gives a very bitter, hoppy flavour that is much loved among today's hophead beer drinkers. One to drink now as those fresh hop flavours are very rare in a bottled beer. One of my favourite beer styles at the moment and this beer does not disappoint. This beer is brewed to 5% but I would love to see it slightly stronger with the increased alcohol balancing out the bitterness in the way it does with Jaipur or Downton. Williams IPA Extra ?
Birds and Bees (5%) is a golden summer ale.
It is a golden coloured beer and has a lemon aroma with a hint of honey.
The taste initially is very fruity but then there is a lovely biscuity malt character that takes over leaving a fairly short dry aftertaste.
None of the beers are bottle conditioned but all are brewed with good quality ingredients without preservatives. The beers are slightly over carbonated for my belly and I would very much like to try them in cask and my eyes will be peeled at future beer festivals. The quest is on.
The fresh new branding and presentation of these bottles is excellent and I would guess that they have flew off the shelf at Sainsbury's. I hope there are some left for you to try.
On the beer scene it is good to see that there is more to cutting edge Scottish beer than the "punk" style at Brew Dog who are becoming as famous for their publicity angles as they are for their excellent beers. My kin at Williams Brothers are making sure that Scotland is keeping up with the rest of Britain in the current growth in the craft brewing industry.