Ossian and Lia Fail are two great tasting beers from Inveralmond Brewery. Both are supremely refreshing and well balanced. The bottle labels have beautiful artwork with Scottish scenery. A great Scottish product to get your hands on.
Inveralmond Brewery is located in Perth and began production in 1997. The brewery has a great reputation and you will find their drinks on tap in many pubs across the country. The beers are also widely available in supermarkets.
When I saw the artwork on the bottle labels it immediately reminded me of vintage railway posters. And this is exactly what inspired the artist, Peter McDermott, from the Isle of Skye. They are beautiful scenes of mountains and lochs that will remind you of your travels in Scotland.
On the rear of the label there is a lyrical description of what the beer will taste like and an explanation behind the name of the beer. Ossian was a Scottish poet and Lia Fail means 'stone of destiny', the coronation stone of the kings of Scotland.
Ossian has a nutty and fruity taste. This makes it refreshing and pleasurable. It is smooth and well balanced, not too malty and not too bitter. This will give it a broad appeal as there is no single flavour that stands out, but this does not make it a boring drink. Far from it. I loved it
Lia Fail is also really refreshing, especially ice cold from the freezer which I did for my bottle. It has a malty taste, but is not overpowering and is just the right amount. This taste lingers nicely on the tongue and keeps you coming back for more. Just like Ossian it is well balanced and will have a broad appeal, but if you aren't so keen on malt then go for Ossian.
Next time you are in Perth or in the Perthshire countryside try to seek out one of these delicious beers.
This book inspired me to get out on my bike and explore Scotland. It opened up a world of cycling adventures by showing how easy it is to plan day trips using train and bicycle. This is the book that got me hooked on travelling around Scotland on a bicycle and I cannot recommend it enough.
Before I bought this book I only ventured out on the Forth and Clyde canal path as it was my nearest traffic-free cycle route. It never crossed my mind that it could be possible to take my bike on the train to access a whole raft of cycling day trips. I was nervous about doing that, but this book gave me the confidence to give it a try. I haven't looked back since.
The book has 40 routes in central Scotland. Most can be done as day trips from Glasgow or Edinburgh and all can be reached by train.
The book is pocket sized so ideal to carry with you on bike trips. Each route guide has the same simple format that opens with a great photo of something you will see along the route, information about the distance, terrain and how much time the ride will take. There is an easy to follow map and a route description that gives precise directions.
The route description also tells you what there is to see in the area. This really captured my imagination and showed me the possibilities of cycle touring- that a bicycle can let you see so much of Scotland and learn about its history, heritage and landscapes.
This is the book that inspired me to explore Scotland by bicycle and this is the book that I recommend to anybody who wants to start out on cycle trips around Scotland. Even better is that there are two more books that cover other regions of Scotland. Book Two covers the Highlands and Islands and Book Three covers the North East. Get all three of these books and you will never be stuck for inspiration for cycle routes.
Buy them from Amazon using the links below:
Entering this shop and café is a wonderful sensory experience that is quite simply the fulfillment of every chocolate lover's dreams. Grab a window seat, order Belgium waffles and enjoy views of Oban Bay.
Oban Chocolate Company is located on Corran Esplanade, about 15 minutes walk from the Ferry Terminal. Inside there is a combined café and chocolate shop. It is impossible not to get excited by the enormous choice of chocolate treats on display. There is a counter where you can select individual chocolates with flavours that include whisky truffle, toffee and orange truffle and lemon meringue truffle.
There are shelves packed full of different chocolate concoctions, such as the chocolate fish n' chips.
I took one of these home and it was delicious. The chips were made of white chocolate and they look very realistic. There was even some newspaper in the bottom of the box!
The café is equally magnificent. The menu states that the management accepts no responsibility for over indulgence and that is certainly a risk here.
The counter has a display case crammed full of cakes and treats. On one visit I tried the salted caramel peanut butter slab. The chocolate topping was unbelievably thick. Whoever made this understands the needs of serious chocolate lovers. It was one of the top chocolate experiences of my life.
Coffee is roasted fresh every week and during my visit it was served with a little chocolate fish resting on the spoon. You can order a tasting plate of truffles to go along with your drink.
Belgian waffles are a star feature in the cafe and you can have them smothered in a variety of toppings. If hot chocolate is more your thing you will be spoiled for choice, including single origin chocolate.
I love that the menu is full of lots of interesting facts about chocolate, including persuasive arguments about the health benefits of chocolate. It states that 2 squares of chocolate have less calories than an apple, but it is doubtful you will be able to/want to stick to just 2 squares during your visit.
Try to get one of the sofas by the window so that you can enjoy the views over Oban Bay or you might prefer to be closer to the viewing window of the factory where you can watch the chocolatiers at work. You can even book your child into one of the chocolate making workshops.
Oban Chocolate Company is a shrine to chocolate. It is one of the best chocolate shops I have come across, not just in Scotland, but in the world.
BrewDog is one of the most successful Scottish craft beer producers. Their products are widely available, so during your travels in Scotland make sure to try some. This is a review of three of their beers that provide delicious flavour combinations.
First off, a bit about BrewDog. They are based in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. The brewery began with 2 staff in 2007 and by 2015 it had 540 staff and 44 bars in several countries. They have a huge range of beers with bold bottle labels and trendy branding. Their range is one of the easiest to get a hold of in supermarkets and pubs across the UK, so you should find it quite easy to track down.
This is easy to drink and refreshing. It is well-balanced with no strong flavours. There is a slight bitterness and citrus taste. This is a craft beer with mass appeal and a good choice if you want to sink a few of beers with your mates.
This has a grapefruit infusion and the grapefruit taste is simply perfect. It turns out that this fruit is an ideal match to beer. You get a zesty, bitter taste that has a low level of sweetness. The balance between fruit and beer taste is perfection. It is a drink that keeps you coming back for more sips because it is just so pleasurable. It also smells amazing, like walking into a fruit shop.
My first taste of this made me go "wow! This is lovely." It is fruity, zingy and hoppy. It is a fabulous combination o flavours and very drinkable. It is a beer that you want to keep on drinking for the taste and not just something you pick up to get drunk. On the bottle label it is described as 'berry bouncing off marmalade clashing with caramel buzzing off spice sizzling with toast laced with lychees and colliding with biscuit.' This is the best description of a beer I think I have ever read and pretty much sums up the amazing flavour combinations in this drink. Of the three beers this is my favourite and if you only get a chance to try one, make it 5AM Saint.
BrewDog also produce a non-alcoholic beer. Read a review of this on my blog
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.