Black Isle Brewery
The Black Isle

History: After working for different companies over the years, David Gladwin decided he was “unemployable” and that the only way he would be content was to work for himself. He combined this passion for independence with his other loves, the environment and making beer. After much research and hard work, Alan opened The Black Isle Brewery in 1998. Scotland’s only fully organic brewery, making award-winning craft beers using malted barley grown on their own and other organic farms. It wasn’t an easy ride as the craft beer revolution was only rearing its head back then, so Alan spent years trying to push his organic and innovative beers.

Ahead of the curve, he slowly but surely started to gain a reputation as one of the best breweries in Scotland. Over the years they have seen big expansion opening their own bar in Inverness. The Black Isle Bar is located in a former charity shop on Church Street and comprises a bar area, 14 en-suite rooms and a large roof terrace. So even if you can’t get out to the brewery and you find yourself in Inverness you can get a taste of what they are all about.

The beer: They are constantly coming up with new and interesting beers at Black Isle. From the Blonde, a European-style pale yellow lager flavoured with Hersbrucker and Hallertau hops, to the Hibernator Oatmeal Stout, a big, bold, black stout with roasted malts and flavours of fruit, espresso and liquorice. If I had to choose a favourite then I would go for the Goldeneye, a golden beer brewed with organic malts loaded with floral hops.

Why visit? This is no micro brewery in a shed, there is loads to do when you visit including the brewery shop to buy some beers and sit out in their garden to enjoy the views. The team here are dedicated at what they do and will give you an informative and hands-on tour. Brewery tours are free and run every half-hour from 10am-5.30pm, seven days a week during peak season and six days a week during off season. A wee tasting of four core beers is included and large groups should book in advance.

Interesting fact: The brewery farmland is the perfect location with even the name Allangrange translating as “a fertile field of corn” in Gaelic. They also have a great relationship with “Wwoofers” (Willing Workers On Organic Farms), who help out by volunteering whatever skills they have, in exchange for food and accommodation and to learn about the organic brewing process.