Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Beer Review: Unforgiven Red Rye Ale by Tempest Brewing Co

Unforgiven Red Rye Ale by Tempest Brewing
Unforgiven Red Rye Ale by Tempest Brewing
At the start of the year, and five years after starting out, Tempest Brewing Co opened their big beautiful brewery Galashiels in the Borders and started rolling out a new line-up of great beers. They've a history in making some outstanding beers and a lot of people have been looking forward to the first batches from their new bottling line, and it's no surprise beer experts tipped them as one of the hottest breweries to watch in 2015. 
With a new brewery, Tempest also underwent a bit of a rebrand, slicker labels but smaller bottles. Their first wave of bottled beers comprises Brave New World, a potent, murky IPA (7.4%), Red Eye Flight mocha porter (7.4%) and In The Dark We Live black IPA (7.2%). Their Long White Cloud American pale ale (5.6%) is part of Aldi's Scottish Beer Festival, which launched yesterday so hopefully there's still some left. 
Tempest have also recently released Unforgiven, a 5.4% smokey red rye ale with as much attitude as the Man With No Name.
No surprises at the aroma. Its sweet campfire smokiness with tart gooseberries and bark. Pouring gives you a clear and deep amber, the colour of dying embers, with a light tanned head.
But the taste is surprising. It's shockingly alive and complex, and difficult for anyone who's not a fan of smokey beers. The smokiness, obviously, is dominant but there's a lot more going on, fruits, spices and salt. The initial hit is peppery and exciting, like a gun battle in your mouth. There's something sweet there too, like vanilla or caramel or wafer biscuit, but, like a shooting star in the night sky above you, it's away in a moment.
And then there's a sourness, almost bloody, and a gentle sweetness of nectarines; light hops bring the notion of a soft breeze carrying the scent of those loch-side reeds near to where you sit by your campfire. It finishes slowly, bitterly and dryly.

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