Well, those crazy Scottish humans have produced yet another insane beer. A light, golden lager, barrel aged in whisky (no ‘E’ on purpose) barrels. The Beer Aliens continue to find that the humans in Scotland are a wee bit crazy and it shows when they craft beer. We must plan a trip to explore this further.
Harviestoun Brewery introduces the latest addition to their barrel-aged project! Orach Slie (6% abv) is a version of Schiehallion (pronounced “She-hal-i-on”) aged in whisky casks from the indomitable Speyside distillery, Glenfarclas.
Orach Slie (pronounced ora-x-lee) is Gaelic for ‘golden nectar’ and when you try it, you’ll understand why they settled on that name! It is a light, easy-going beer that is a world away from their punchy, blacker-than-black Ola Dubhs.
Harviestoun Brewery showcased it at the Scottish event ‘Craft Beer Rising’ recently and by all accounts it went down a storm!
Stuart and the team trialled a wide range of different brews in casks from different distilleries before they settled on a lightly-hopped, high-abv version of Schiehallion as being a perfect match for the deliciously-honeyed-sherry casks from Glenfarclas. So that’s where the beer sat for 6 long months! And they’ve only been able to make 20,000 bottles!
This barrel-aged lager…what does it taste like?
Served at room temperature (yes, yes, that says room temperature.), Orach Slie pours a light straw colour (the British spell this with a ‘U’ in it, don’t yell at the editor) and immediately displays a delicate malty character on the nose with hints of vanilla blossom. It has a surprisingly robust, chewy mouthfeel that belies its light appearance, coating the palate with a gentle-sweetness which in turn gives way to a pleasantly-bitter, drying and slightly tangy finish.
[NOTE: Serve chilled at your peril! You’ll lose so much flavour (this word has a ‘U’ as well… ) if you do…]
For those of you humans in the United States that just read that and thought “You want me to drink to warm beer?!”, stop for a second and remember that Harviestoun Brewery is not asking you to try a warm beer designed to be enjoyed cold (look in your fridge, you will find boxes of them). Harviestoun Brewery is asking you to NOT drink a beer designed to be drank at room temperature, cold. Despite the Scottish reputation for being daft (crazy), this beer should not be served cold, really. Trust us, we’re aliens after all.
What to eat with Orach Slie (for humans only, Beer Aliens do no eat Earth food)
Harviestoun Brewery took a couple of bottles along to the lovely ladies at The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School who confirmed what they already knew…this beer is stunning! They were also extremely helpful with some food matching recommendations suggesting it pairs well with foods that are a combination of ‘sweet without being syrupy’ and ‘tangy without being sharp’.
Pears have been a common theme when discussing what to match it with. So perhaps a Waldorf Salad that uses pears instead of apples. Or Amy’s favourite (there’s that ‘U’ again) suggestion, a pear cheesecake with a walnut ice cream! A mild blue cheese was thrown in as a rather delicious afterthought…
Once the Beer Aliens acquire some of this lager, we will have to test these food pairings on some of our abducted humans and see how they work.
Where to buy
At the moment, the only place you can pick this up is on their webshop where it’s priced at £21 for 3x330ml bottles.
Over the coming weeks and months we will be sending a lot of it around the world: to the USA, to Brazil, to Finland and a number of other places.
It will also be available in select UK outlets, particularly in really good independent bottleshops and restaurants.
If you want to pre-order some from your ‘local’, we’d strongly encourage you to do so. You can find details of your nearest distributor on their beer map.
More About Glenfarclas
The Grant family have been running Glenfarclas (which means ‘the valley of green grass’) since 1865, producing individual Speyside malts that are renowned for their maturation in sherry butts (500 litres). With a long history of bottlings stretching back to the early 20th Century, Glenfarclas is keenly collected and their malts are a firm favourite ( and other ‘U‘)among many whisky (no ‘E’) enthusiasts.
Be sure to follow us on Social Media as we invade more breweries and discover more awesome craft beers from all over the world! Cheers humans!