Up and running

This is the place where we will post news about what’s brewing at Hurly Burly, and now that we’re finally up and running I thought I would take a look back at how it all started.

Early Pale Ale – delicious!

Well really it all started many years ago when Peter began brewing at home. The results were so well received that, like many before him, he was persuaded to share his recipes with the beer loving public.

We were both working full time with two youngish children but took the plunge by sacrificing what was a pretty useful utility room at the back of the kitchen. This, when properly converted was just large enough to accommodate a system capable of brewing 190 litres of beer at a time.

So that’s what we started with. Many beers were tested and tasted until we felt ready to venture out into the world and HBB finally became a full blown teeny tiny brewery – a nano or a pico brewery – here in a small village in East Lothian.

So what are the beers that we launched with? What do they look like and where can you find them? Well, as mentioned, we have tried and tested many many recipes over the past few years but we launched with 3 of our favourites – stalwart beers all of them.

Hare of the Dog – A bright, rich IPA made with Magnum and Perle hops and then dry hopped before bottling

Last Sheep Sheared – A dark and mellow IPA made with Apollo and Cascade hops and a mix of special malts to add chocolate and coffee notes

Gnats Hop – a lightly hopped golden ale made with Brewers Gold and Cascade hops which transports you to lazy summer days no matter what the weather.

Now although the recipe and ingredients, the superb Scottish water, the whole artisan brewing process and the resulting glorious unpasteurised, unfiltered, bottle conditioned(*) beer are all rather key to the success of the venture – we were not naïve to the fact that we would be up against a plethora of enticing looking bottles when our beers finally made it onto the shelves. If we want customers to experience the unique flavour and quality of our beers then we had to have a label that leaps out and says “try me”.

The question arose – to name or not to name the beers and it was asked of many of our closest friends and tasters all of whom unanimously voted for the names that are all commonly used expressions in our family – most originating with my father who was, himself, a keen beer drinker and quite simply a great character – one of nature’s gentlemen.

What we arrived at is the culmination of numerous trials (all drawings done by Peter the master brewer himself!) and so you may be surprised to find that the end result is a label displaying a very simple design.

The title expressions themselves have long been in common usage in our household. Hare of Dog – often corrupted into Dare of the Hog (which is likely to become a fully fledged beer in its own right in the future) was most often used simply to denote that it was time to have the first drink of the day. Not at any time before the sun was over the yard arm of course!

Last Sheep Sheared – is a shortened version of the full expression which was “You’ve seen the last sheep sheared” which means simply that it has been a long day, work is now over and it’s time for rest – most usually employed to gently suggest that bed time for children had arrived – albeit too soon.

Gnat’s Hop denotes the small measure of distance between our starting point and destination – most commonly used to describe the 8-10 hour car journeys we would endure when travelling to see grandparents or when going on holiday!

There are plenty of other expressions – and beers – to come, so look out for the latest.

(*) Bottle conditioned – simply means that although the beer is pretty darned good when it goes into the bottle, the combination of the yeast and natural sugars from the malt allows the beer to continue to carbonate naturally inside the bottle, creating a unique complexity. The process is finished when the beer reaches its peak of taste perfection and there it remains until the date stamped on the bottle (and beyond!) So no need to rush to enjoy this beer – all Hurly Burly beers are best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.