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Five thousand year old beer?

Orkney Bottles

5000 years in the making – that is the claim made of its beer by The Orkney Brewery.  The claim is based on the fact that the Orkney Islands have been inhabited and cultivated for at least 5000 years – and that long history has culminated in the production of these beers.  Sarah came across three of Orkney Brewery’s bottles in a food shop in a garden centre – and they were end-of-line and were being sold off cheap, so obviously she bought them.  I was very impressed with them – they are well worth looking out for.  The three were the ones shown in the picture:

Raven Ale (3.8%) – I drank this with a roast beef dinner – traditional English food with a Scottish (well, Orcadian) beer.  It has a very powerful taste for a 3.8% beer – a lovely bitter taste, and a lingering bitter finish.  It smells a bit fruity – citrussy (is that a word?) – reminded me of Jaffa Cakes.  It was an excellent match for the beef, even though the recommendation on the brewery’s website is to drink it with lighter dishes such as chicken or pork.
Northern Light (4.0%) – a Pale Ale – a bit lighter in colour and body than the Raven Ale.  Light and refreshing – again, a bit of a citrussy smell and a nice bitter taste, but with a little bit of sweetness and not as long a finish as the Raven Ale.  Very nice though.
Dark Island (4.6%) – just by chance I was drinking this while watching a BBC4 programme about the Orkney poet George Mackay Brown – very appropriate, I thought.  This beer has a toasty malt smell with a hint of fruit – figs maybe? – and a hint of chocolate.  It has a smooth velvetty feel in the mouth and a bitter, burnt, mocha type of taste.  It reminded me a bit of tiramisu with a bit of bonfire toffee thrown in.
It was a shame that I only had one bottle of each of these beers as I enjoyed them all greatly – must keep an eye out for them again.

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