|Unforgiven red rye ale by Tempest Brewing Co.|
Five years after starting out, they've opened a big beautiful brewery Galashiels in the Borders and begun 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 they were tipped 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 Easy Livin' Pils is part of Aldi's Winter Beer Festival, which launched at the start of October so hopefully there's still some left.
Earlier this year, Tempest also released Unforgiven, a 5.4% smokey red rye ale with as much attitude as the Man With No Name. No surprises at the aroma. It's 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 may be something of a challenge 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, 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.