Uile-Bheist produces its first range of beers
The new £7.5 million Uile-bheist Distillery and Brewery this week completed production of its full core range of craft beer.
The facility, which doubles as a whisky distillery and offers a visitor experience, opened its doors in February and is powered by a sustainability centre that harnesses water and energy from the River Ness.
Now, as it awaits the casking of its maiden Single Highland Malt, head brewer Andrew Hodgson has put the finishing touches to its first range of 5 craft beers which are now being sold in its tap room in the highland capital.
The Uile-bheist, a Gaelic name meaning ‘monster’, has adopted a commendable approach to sustainability.
In keeping with its emphasis on sustainability, managers are adopting an ’80-20’ principle which means that 80% of the product will be sold to outlets within a 20 mile radius of Inverness.
The drive to keep carbon footprint through transport as low as possible means the beers will be available on-site and in highland capital hotels, with the remainder being sold in partner businesses in Ullapool, Perthshire and the Cairngorms National Park.
Similarly, the base malt for all 5 beers and the Uile-bheist whisky is Bairds, locally sourced from their malting facility at Longman Road, Inverness, only 1.9 miles away.
Some experimental canning for local markets will take place later this summer, with the focus now on perfecting recipes and scaling up capacity.
The final beer in the range- a 5% Dark Horse Stout- was completed earlier this week, adding to a Session IPA, West Coast and unfiltered New England IPAs, and its signature Uile-bheist Lager.
Owner Victoria Erasmus said: “This is a real milestone for the business and our brewing operation.
“The initial goal was to make a core range of exceptional beers which showcase our craft and skill. Because we are a true small batch craft brewery, our emphasis will always be on quality.”
Water used in production at Uile-bheist is treated by fluorescent light after being sourced from the Ness, with the only grid requirement at the facility being electricity, partly provided by solar installations.
“We are mindful of our carbon footprint,” added Victoria. “We pride ourselves in trying to be as sustainable as possible, in how our products are produced and the energy used.
“By selling into local businesses, we will also be reducing our transport carbon footprint.”
The first full range of Uile-bheist beers are a 4.6% Uile-bheist Lager, infused with German noble hops, a piney, resinous 5.6% Forest Dweller West Coast IPA and a 3.9% Highland Storm Session IPA.
An unfiltered White Witch New England IPA (4.2%) which uses new world Hop varieties and the chocolate-ish Dark Horse Stout, complete the brewery’s first core run.
Mr Hodgson, who previously worked at Tempest Brewing Co and Black Isle Brewery, says the beers are a celebration of styles synonymous with small-batch craft brewing.
He explained: “The craft beer market is what it is today because people realise more and more what beer can be. Personally, in a busy market, I think you have to be making beer that you enjoy and are happy with rather than fixating on satisfying trends.
“The core range is representative of the classic styles that have made the craft beer market what it is today but with the benefit of being served fresh, straight from a tank only a mile or so away, in the centre of a busy city. That is what makes our product unique.”