Friday, August 8, 2014

Westering Home...

Going home, in the most literal sense, is a path well travelled. Whether coming from Inverness, Birmingham, Prague, or Charlottesville, all roads lead to Uig. From Uig the ferry sails to Lochmaddy, and from there a car to Benbecula. Inevitably there is about an hour and a half of time killing to be done in Uig, and usually said time is killed at the Pub At The Pier, or as it is known these days, the Bakur Bar.

The last time I had darkened the door of this particular building was when it was called the Pub At The Pier, and I spent time chatting with an American tourist, from Joshua Tree, playing pool, and drinking something or other. This time I walked in, saw hand pulls bearing the logo of nearby Skye Brewery, and did something that happens rather infrequently, ordered an IPA, hopped with Sorachi Ace no less. A few mouthfuls later, I ordered another, delicious it was. It was actually my first draft beer since arriving in Scotland (these posts are in not particular order) and thus began my three week reverie of cask ale.

Not wanting to get stuck in a rut, I followed pint 2 of IPA with Skye Red. Once upon a time known as Red Cuillin, it was everything I expected from a red ale, plenty of sweet malt juiciness, toffee, caramel, some light cocoa, with just enough spicy hops to make it now the ferry was turning in the bay, ready to let people off before loading those of us heading west.

In days of yore you could always tell the locals from the tourists on the ferry. Tourists went to the observation deck to bird watch, or attempt to see marine wildlife, while the locals generally headed for the bar. CalMac had renovated the ferry since last I sailed on it, so I got right royally lost, where the hell was the bar? Turns out that the bar was now part of the general gift shop area, and only had bottled beer, one of which was Skye Black, formerly Black Cuillin. Skye Black is a wonderfully smooth porter, brewed with honey and oatmeal, yum, yum, yum...

After a few days on Uist, we headed back east, stopping in the brewery shop to pick up some bottles, and some swag. Other than the Black and the Red, I bought a couple of bottles of Hebridean Gold, a pale ale brewed with porridge oats, giving it a delightfully creamy mouthfeel, soft honeyed sweetness, and a drinkability that could easily get a chap in trouble.

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