Q: Who are you/what do you do? A: Hi I’m Craig Scotland, the Head Brewer at Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh.
Q: Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 years’ time? A: I’d love to see Stewart Brewing continue on the path we are on at present, maintaining the same values. Every beer we brew we do so to the best of our ability, be it a traditional style in cask or a more experimental style using less familiar ingredients. I hope our beers will continue to be enjoyed in the local market, whilst gaining a wider distribution throughout the UK. I’d also like to see more of our beers overseas. We have built strong relationships with distributors in countries such as France, Norway and China and hopefully these will continue to go from strength to strength, whilst our beers becoming available in new foreign markets as well.
Q: Are there any other breweries which have influenced X? A: There are so many great breweries which have influenced me. It was drinking solid cask beers from the likes of Fyne Ales, Williams Brothers and indeed Stewart Brewing which got me interested in brewing originally. The UK is home to many great breweries which help drive the brewing scene forward and ultimately make us better brewers with breweries such as Cloudwater, Wild Beers and Northern Monk leading the way with their continual innovation and high-quality beers.
Q: The craft beer movement seems to be going from strength to strength. Why do you think brewing has been such a great success in recent years? A: The craft beer scene has been going from strength to strength, and I think there is still room for further growth in the future. The main reason for this success all comes down to quality. This means not buying cheap/inferior ingredients and not cutting corners when it comes to processes in the brewery. Generally, people are now drinking less beer, but of a higher quality. Craft beer drinkers are wanting a wide, ever changing selection of high-quality beers. Instead of drinking several pints of the same beer all night it is now common to drink several different beers in smaller measures. Beer drinkers are also becoming more educated, recognising hop varieties, yeast strains and malt types and the flavours and aromas that they contribute to the beer. Provenance is also important, with people keen to support their local breweries rather than buying from a large multinational. The craft beer scene is a very inclusive community, with brewers being open with customers about the ingredients and processes used in beers. The growth of taprooms also builds a bond between brewery and drinker, allowing the consumer to build a relationship with the brewery and brings them closer to the product resulting in the drinker becoming loyal to the brewery. We also have The Craft Beer Kitchen at Stewart Brewing which is a 100L brew kit which members of the public can use to brew their own beer with the help of a brewer, which helps bring the consumers closer to the product, and understand the brewing process. Collaboration between breweries also help strengthen the craft beer market, with innovative and full-flavoured brews between breweries sometimes from different countries, introducing drinkers to a new brewery and thus allowing a brewery to grow into a new market.
Q: What do you see as the latest beer styles to look out for in 2018? A: Following on from Brut IPA’s, I think the on trend styles this year are low-abv beers, pastry stouts and I can also see saison’s making a comeback.
Q: Many breweries are experimenting with adding unusual flavours to their beers. Are there any you think work well together and are there any you would like to try? A: I’m a big fan of drinking sour beers with refreshing flavoured ingredients added to them. We recently brewed a Cucumber and Seaweed Gose which was well received. I’d really like to try a similar style of beer with gooseberries and also with Earl Grey tea.
Looking ahead, what new stuff can we expect from Stewart Brewing? A: We have quite a few new beers launching over the coming months. We’ve been trialling kveik yeast strains which originate from Norway. These are interesting strains which ferment at high temperatures and produce an intense fruit character, different to anything I’ve tried before. Following on from our Voss IPA we are releasing Hornindal IPA which showcases these unique yeast strains. Alongside the Hornindal IPA we are also releasing an NE Pale which is a juicy New England style, packed full of Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy and Mosaic hops. Looking further ahead we have some exciting collabs lined up as well as a Micro IPA, Gooseberry Sour and a Hopfenweisse.
Q: What is the best part of your job? A: I really enjoy the innovation side of the job – developing and trialling new beers for our Project 7 Series. It’s a great feeling starting off with an idea, developing the recipe and finally seeing the beer being enjoyed in trade.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? A : A bottle of lager in the park !
Q: If you have to pick (we know, tough choice!) which would be your top three beers in the whole world? A: Deya – Steady Rolling Man, Schlenkerla - Helles and Mad Hatter – Tzatziki Sour
Q: You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you? A: My kayak, a hammock and a cool box full of beer