Beer review: Stewart Brewing Hollyrood

It’s been on my mind for months to start reviewing the whisky, beer and wine that I’ve been enjoying (it has to be said, there has been a lot of them!).  So tonight I finally get round to starting.  First up is Hollyrood (ABV 5%), a beer brewed by Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh.  I picked this up today at Craigie’s Farm just outside South Queensferry.  I’d had the pleasure of trying their Pentland IPA just before xmas in a pub in Edinburgh…can’t remember the name of the place, but it’s near the Queens Hall!  I loved that pint, was hoppy as hell and had a really memorable complex taste.  So when I saw some of their bottled beers for sale, I figured I’d pick one up to try out.  With me being a lover of all things hops, I chose the Hollyrood as it’s byline is ‘Pale, Light and Hoppy’.  That’s pretty much always going to interest me!  What did put me off however was the name…Hollyrood doesn’t really tell you much anything about the beer, nor is it particularly memorable.  For me, it’s a dull and uninspiring choice, and surprising given the good level of branding that Stewart Brewing have for their cask beers.  Anyway, onto the important stuff…

On pouring, I was liking the look of the beer, as it produced a nice foamy head.  This was short-lived though, as the head disappeared in no time.  In fact by the time I took a solitary picture of it on my iPhone, the head was completely gone!  Usually with my pouring technique, I end up with a huge head and a seemingly endless wait to finish the pour and get to the drinking!  So this struck me as rather odd.  The beer itself is an appealing golden orange in colour.  Getting my not insubstantial nose into the glass, I was struck immediately by the hop aroma and distinctive grapefruit.  Just what I was looking for!  On the first mouthful, it’s an instant tangy hit, lots of citrus, with the hoppy goodness coming through after.  There’s a good level of bitterness, but not in any way overwhelming and it complements the primary flavours perfectly.  There’s a touch of malt on the finish, which is incredibly tingly, and oddly, reminds me of orange Tango!  This is a flavoursome (tinned grapefruit certainly comes to mind here), clean and refreshing beer, but I found that it seemed to get ‘flat’ as I drank it…it kind of lost it’s flavour and ‘punch’ the more I drank and by the end seemed lifeless.  Makes me think it should maybe have been chilled a little longer before drinking.

I’d like to try this one again, but to be honest I wouldn’t rush out to get it.  Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but rather because there is so much choice out there, a beer has to be really special to get on the list for regular purchases.  This strikes me as more of a summer beer, and I reckon it would be excellent with a light meal.  Making a mental note to get this one when it’s that 3-day window when the weather here in Scotland is good enough to have dinner outside!

I need a rating system for reviews, but haven’t thought of anything overly interesting yet, so I’m going with a score out of 100, calling it my personal Hop, Grain and Grape (HGG) score!

Stewart Brewing Hollyrood Beer HGG score: 76

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