Innis and Gunn
Innis and Gunn Scotland’s largest independent brewery in Edinburgh, invented a new style of ale that may revolutionize the ale drinking population of the United Kingdom, mainland European countries and conceivably in North America as well.
Beer, the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world, comes in two main categories – ale and lager.
Ale is a full-bodied, usually amber-colourer, generally slightly sweetish beer that lends itself for quick brewing.
Ale yeasts tolerate high fermenting temperatures, and after the completion of the process, float to the top. Ale style beer requires no resting period after fermentation, and can be dispensed immediately or shortly after. This is the reason why brewpubs operate on continuous bases. Lager beers, most popular in continental Europe and elsewhere in the world, are light, pale in colour, slightly bitter in the finish, and refreshing. The lager yeast requires cool temperatures for successful fermentation, and after completing the process, the beer must rest for at least one week, and preferably several and carbonated.
Innis and Gunn was approached by a Scotch whisky distiller interested in researching the possibility of a beer-flavoured whisky. The idea was to age beer in a cask for 30 days, then discard the beer, and age the whisky for an appropriate length of time in the same barrel.
After a few tries, a brewery worker thought of tasting the before it was discarded, and found it to be very palatable – the cask aged beer was born.
Innis and Gunn ages its ale for 30 days in casks (usually American White Oak barrels), then for another 47 days in tanks to marry flavours. After 77 days, this brewery’s ales acquire aromas of vanilla from the wood, toffee, and citrus fruits. The taste is malty, and oaky, and on the palate the texture is smooth light with a warm finish.
Innis and Gunn
produces a range of oak-aged ales – original, blonde, rum cask aged, and a special bottling for Canada.
The Original Innis and Gunn ale is copper in colour, smells malty with underlying citrus fruit flavours. In the mouth it is smooth and ever so slightly sweet, finishing with a warm taste.
The Blond Oak Aged beer is relatively pale compared to the original, and is lighter in texture.
You can pair it with seared scallops, or roast loin of pork stuffed with apricots or apples, roasted suckling pig.
The Original Oak Aged ale goes well with medium-rare grilled steaks, grilled sausages, roast rack of lamb and beef stews.
Rum Cask Aged beer – is aged for 30 days in American White Oak barrels and 47 days in old rum barrels. It has 7.4 per cent ABV (Alcohol By Volume), is deep red, light in texture with soft fruit flavours. In the mouth it tastes malty, and spicy and finishes with lingering, pleasant sweetness.
Try it with battered haddock or lemon sole in batter or curries (Rogan Josh, Bhuna or Biryani).
Trying any or all of the above will open new avenues of taste experiences.
All are available in Ontario and British Columbia, plus many Scandinavian countries and continental European jurisdictions.