Fyne by Name, Fine by Nature
Fyne Ales are a wee brewery at the head of Loch Fyne. Set up in 2001, and almost from the start collecting awards, I like their beers because they take a generous approach to hopping. Here's a round up of tasting notes for five of the beers. I should also mention Avalanche, which I have a clear memory of being the best beer of a very good selection in the Guildford Arms in Edinburgh. A clear memory, but, alas, no tasting notes.
Hurricane Jack is a well hopped blonde ale. Of course this means it's the slightly worrying shade of yellow best described as 'sample coloured', but that's balanced by a lovely creamy white froth.
It smells very bright and clean, and, promisingly, there's plenty of bitter hop character. Dry too.
The taste matches the nose most excellently, being dry, clean and exceedingly hoppy, with the long aftertaste being dominated by the hops. This is a properly refreshing glass of beer. All it needs for perfection is a long hard bike run. Hurricane Jack, 4, excellent.
Highlander is a fruity Amber Ale. Slightly sweet, but with a nice drying finish from the hops, which are rather less bitter and more coppery than in the Hurricane Jack.
Definitely fruitier too. Highlander, 3-4, good to excellent.
Pipers Gold is the beeriest of these beers, by which I suppose I mean the most malty. It has a light but persistent froth, and a good dry, hoppy nose.
It tastes light, dry, and hoppy, with an interesting salt/sweet finish. It's perhaps a little too gassy to be a good session beer. Pipers Gold, good, 3(+).
Vital Spark is a dark brown ale, which smells beautifully of sweet jammy fruit - strawberry jam, to be precise.
Off-dry and lighter bodied than the colour would suggest, it has a nicely rounded nutty-to-hoppy palate with a neat wee salty note like the Pipers Gold. A very decent session beer, 3.
Holly Daze, a winter-only beer ("available Advent to Epiphany"), is a dark amber ale. It smells nutty, woody-spicy, and a little bitter - good hoppy bitter, that is.
It tastes dry, with a really good creamy texture. There's a hint of smoke, a generous dollop of hops, and the finish is toffee-sweet but also a little salty, before fading to a memory of very fine hops. Interesting and nearly excellent, -4.