The Isle of Skye is the latest battleground in the war for recognition of beer’s ability to pair with top-end food.
And Kinloch Lodge is not only championing beer in general as an accompaniment for its Michelin-starred food – it’s going local to prove it. Only one of the 16 beers included in its beer flights is from outside of Scotland.
In addition to these beer flights, where a beer is matched to every dish, the restaurant also has wine flights, malt whisky flights, and a ‘beer and dram chaser’ list. ‘Choosing the best flights to match each dish has been a real eye-opener,’ says Tom Eveling, who manages the restaurant with his wife Isabella. ‘People still seem to think that wine is smart and wonderful with food and that, for some unknown reason, beers are not. They are wrong. The reaction from our diners has been very positive.’
The list includes beers from the Scottish islands of Skye, Black Isle, Orkney and Arran, as well as from the mainland, represented by Edinburgh, Alva, Alloa and Fraserburgh. The beers contain ingredients such as heather, seaweed and raspberries, which were apparently popular as beer ingredients before the arrival of hops in Britain in the 1500’s.
‘Scotland now brews a myriad of fantastic beers. I believe we should be proud of what we brew and match it to all our wonderful Scottish food. It would have been a real oversight not to offer this choice on our menu,’ believes Eveling.
‘My current favourite pairing is the Innis & Gunn Blonde, an oak aged beer from Edinburgh, with our ‘Fruits from the Loch’ dish; while my wife Isabella loves our cheese course – Strathdon Blue, with prune and orange mousse, Perthshire honey jellies and savoury cinnamon syrup matched with Ola dubh.’
And the one non-Scottish beer to grace this list? Sam Smith’s raspberry beer from Yorkshire, England.