|Chew Chew by Fallen Brewing|
Fallen might be a wee brewery in a wee village but owner Paul Fallen has some big ideas backed up by some brilliant beers. Whether it's an easy-going lager or a challenging hop-heavy IPA, their four original beers and five specials can be enjoyed by a broad range of beer drinkers. The accessible and easy to drink, yet also complex enough for the connoisseur. Quite a feat.
Fallen began life in 2012, though the idea for the brewery had seeded a few years before when founder Paul Fallen was given a homebrew kit (a Woodforde's Wherry bitter) by his wife. At the time Paul worked for an Oxford-based genetics company, but after several years making beer at home he decided to use his scientific background to help him turn his hobby into a business.
Fallen spent the first couple of years contract brewing (when a larger brewery makes your beer to your recipe), tinkering recipes, and building up their reputation and distribution. Last year, they finally opened up their own brewery in a converted station shed in Kippen, bumping up their output from about 1400 pints a week to more than 6000. Not only did this give Paul complete control over what went into the bottles, it also allowed him to perfect their look: the labels, for example, show the skyline visible from the brewery looking north to Ben Ledi, Stuc A' Chroin and Ben Vorlich.
The beers themselves tend towards American and New Zealand hops and big but accessible flavours. As Paul says: "Anyone should be able to come to my bar and order something they're going to enjoy."
From a one-man operation, Fallen now employ a team of five locals, and have grown their offering of just four beers and added another five core, what Paul now calls the Station Specials, among them Chew Chew (6%), a salted caramel milk stout.
The aroma on Chew Chew is sweet chocolate and thick, rich syrupy malts. Like Shreddies with heaps of treacle poured on top. It's a dark, dark beer, as black as any beer you'll see for a while, with a thick, creamy head the colour of light sand.
But this beast has a big beautiful personality. Its texture is smooth and velvet, though there's a wee rush of life at the start as you move off on this beer trip.
Chew Chew eases in at first, then in flow flavours of liquorice, vanilla, sea salt and juicy blackcurrant. The sweet caramel malts provide a strong and smooth balance with hints of fudge and lactose adding to the beer's solid character.
Then, without really noticing, you're enjoying a gentle dose of bittering in the back of the mouth before the beer moves towards a smooth, clean finale that leaves a mildly bitter and salty aftertaste in its wake.
Five other Fallen beers to get your chops on
Dragonfly amber ale (4.6%)Beautifully balanced amber ale, with sweet citrus and pine hops resting gently against a rich caramel malt backbone. Great with everything.
Blackhouse porter (5%)The big peaty smoke and roasted flavours with touches of coffee and chocolate and fruity hops make this dark beer a firm favourite. Don't waste it on its own. Enjoy with a glass of Talisker.
Odyssey blonde (4.1%)This refreshing lagerish beer has had its hop levels upped over the years, but it remains an easy-drinking, accessible beer - a good gateway beer for potential converts. It's got a fruity aroma, with fresh citrus flavours and a crisp, dry finish.
Just The Ticket pale ale (4%)One of the new releases from Fallen, Just The Ticket is a refreshing pale ale brewed with US and New Zealand hops. Crisp and zesty with plenty of tropical and citrus flavours and aromas coming through.
Platform C IPA (6.3%)A strong and bold IPA with pungent new world hops and an easy-going juicy base. Bursting with flavour: pine, resin, citrus and toffee.