There is nothing quite like a nice pint of beer after a cycle ride. Scotland is blessed with many excellent independent breweries and I always try to find something local to drink when cycling in an area. Therefore, I have decided to begin a new section of my blog that reviews some of these fine beers and lagers. First up is Trade Winds by the Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore. This is a wheat beer, but cut with citrus flavours to give a fruitier and cleaner taste. It has a Great Taste Gold award and is one of my favourites.
This is a beer that you will find on tap in the ski and hiking mecca of Aviemore, a village about 30 miles south of Inverness. The Cairngorm Brewery, established 2001, is located on the outskirts of Aviemore. Trade Winds is the brewery's most popular beer.
Pubs in surrounding towns and further afield will also have it. If you cannot get it on draft the bottle version is widely available, including from supermarkets, so quite an easy one to track down.
Trade Winds is a frequent winner of awards. It has a Great Taste Gold award stamped on the bottle. It has also won CAMRA Highlands & Western Isles Beer of the Year, Champion Beer of Scotland and Speciality Beer of Britain. The full list of awards are on the Cairngorm Brewery website:
Now, down to the important thing, the taste. The wheat is not as strong as you would find in traditional German wheat beers because of the elderflower which tones it down and brings a fruity sweetness to the drink. It is slightly fizzy and very refreshing.
On the Cairngorm Brewery website they say it is perfect with white meats and summer salads. I would add fish and chips to that! It is one of those beers that is delicious with anything.
So, why is there a sailing ship on the front of the bottle? The other beers that the brewery produce are mainly themed around wildlife and other things unique to the area, such as wildcats, stags and golden eagles. A sailing ship is not a common site in this area, but Trade Winds was a beer that had been brewed by the Tomintoul Brewery to mark the Tall Ships race in Aberdeen in 1997. Cairngorm Brewery purchased the Tomintoul Brewery in 2000 and made some changes to Trade Winds, including the addition of elderflower.
For a refreshing beer after a cycle ride you cannot go wrong with Trade Winds. Give it a try and let me know if you agree.
You can buy Trade Winds on the Cairngorm Brewery website. I also recommend visiting the brewery in Aviemore. They have a large shop where you can buy all of their products and the tours are great because you get to sample most of their different beers at the end, rather than just one or two.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.