You can start a story in so many ways. When many separate events led to one outcome, how do you attribute the output to any specific incident?
In the age of breweries releasing a new beer every week - sometimes never brewing the same beer twice - a new beer is not big news.
Swannay doesn’t release many new beers and would not launch one for the sake of it, there’s always a story. Does that make a new Swannay beer newsworthy?
It depends which incident was the main driver behind the beer, and how well this blog is written.
Slabs was a beer brewed because: we had a gap in the schedule, we wanted to try something different, lactose pale ales are very much in vogue, we had lactose left over from brewing loads of our lactose stout, Voe.
The beer is designed to be a soft, lightly juicy (have to be careful with the juicy word at the moment), hoppy yet balanced pale ale with a pervading sweetness to balance the fruity Amarillo hops.
Why Slabs? The beer was brewed without a name and in the intervening period a surfer was in the brewery shop (as is not uncommon) who told us about a wave that breaks out the cliffs at the back of the brewery. Surfers in the know call it Slabs.
The wave is not for the amateur or even light-hearted pro surfer. If you manage to paddle out to slabs, and then manage to catch it, you better remember to jump off before you ride right into the cliffs. There’s no beach at the back of the brewery.
The number of surfers visiting the brewery shop is not to be scoffed at. Surfing in Orkney is quietly a thing. Check out this video - https://vimeo.com/28259442.
Also check out some great photography and a different context for the word (or maybe not) on this Twitter profile - https://twitter.com/RaymondBesant/status/1231247634939158529
Slabs - our 4.7% lactose pale ale - we hope you enjoy it. And all the stories that go with it (this blog doesn’t even cover all of them). Currently in cask only.
This picture shows the stunning view from atop the cliffs at the back of the brewery. Slabs is somewhere in the foreground while the Brough of Birsay is on the horizon.