Last Wednesday, months of work and waiting came to a head as we finally restarted brewing. That simple sentence covers so much that we’ll be releasing a special blog post detailing the highs and lows of the past year that led us to this point. But that’s for another day.
Instead, we figured firing up the kit again was a great chance to let you know some of the things we have planned over the next few months. And one single change we made during lockdown is key to all of that - our new canning line.
Being able to package the beer where it is brewed is huge for us. So 2021 is when we are going to use this ability to create a series of interesting releases, package them into 440ml cans, and get them to you fresher and with more regularity.
So alongside our bottles, casks and kegs, here are some upcoming Swannay cans…
Banyan / Muckle / Voe in 440’s
Before Covid, our Mutiny range grew with several new additions, and two of the most popular were the 6.6% IPA Muckle and its 3.9% hop-forward sibling Banyan. Both had become staples in 330ml cans, but because you can never have too much of a good thing, we are now re-routing them into the 440ml format alongside our oatmeal stout, Voe.
In fact, our first non-Scapa brew since we restarted is going to be Banyan for cans and kegs. Hopped with Citra and Mosaic, this unfiltered session IPA also contains Golden Promise barley, oats and wheat and is the perfect spring beer. Look out for its arrival in the new larger cans very soon!
Another Swannay staple seeing the canning line as soon as we can brew it will be Orkney Blast. We call it an IPA/barley wine hybrid as it has a fruity, spicy edge from the new and old world hops going against a strong malt body powered by Maris Otter and crystal. At 6.0% this is a multi award-winning cask beer that we think will be fantastic in 440ml cans.
Burn the Boats
Now, onto new things. Being a cask ale-led brewery, when the pandemic hit the closure of pubs took with it two-thirds of our business. Consolidation was the sensible thing to do, but instead we went all-in and purchased a canning line. We decided to burn the boats.
Just as Vikings removed their only mechanism to get home, so we doubled down when times were at their toughest. Burn the Boats is a 3.8% pale ale, single-hopped with Ekuanot. Expect tropical fruit, citrus, melon and berry fruit in this hazy new release.
Being an island brewery, we can turn away from the fields and look for miles across the ocean, broken only by the rugged outline of Westray. Calm weather on land or not, the Atlantic generates its own power, relentlessly pushing rolling waves towards our home.
We love it, so to try and reflect the power of the sea, we are coupling together two powerfully aromatic hops in this new release. Simcoe and Mosaic are packed with pine and citrus, and they are set to produce rolling waves of flavour in this upcoming IPA.
Swannay Bere Series
You may remember Scapa Bere, which we released a few years ago. This twist on our flagship saw the Maris Otter substituted with the ancient, and fascinating, bere. This grain has been grown in Orkney for over a thousand years and is Scotland’s oldest cultivated barley.
For a little while now, we have been working with the Agronomy Institute at UHI’s Orkney College to source more island-grown bere, and it arrived in our brewery this week. Scapa Bere will return, this time in cans, and alongside it we are planning other small-batch releases featuring bere, showcasing our island’s brewing heritage.
The beers detailed above will be running alongside our regular cask and bottled core offerings. With Scapa Special being the most popular beer we make, it’s all hands on to get the stocks of that beer up first, before we focus on integrating these new releases into our brewing schedule. More will follow too. As they say, it’s going to be something for everyone.