Cask and craft continue to climb

By Gillian McKenzie

SEVENTY breweries showcasing more than 150 beers under one roof over three days – the figures for this year’s CAMRA Scottish Real Ale Festival make impressive reading.

That the event at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange earlier this month attracted 3000 visitors only serves to underline the level of interest in Scotland’s vibrant cask ale scene.
There’s certainly no shortage of activity within the sector.
Brewers, including the two big winners at the festival – Kelburn Brewing Company, whose Dark Moor ale was named CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Scotland for 2014, and Stewart Brewing, which picked up the award for Champion Bottle Conditioned Beer for Radical Road – are constantly developing innovative new brews to complement their core ranges; Kelburn’s 4.2% ABV Hop, Sip & Slump ale, released earlier this month ahead of the Commonwealth Games, is just one example.
And it’s not just cask ale that’s enjoying its moment in the spotlight.
Craft Beer Rising – a major festival which has taken place in London for the past two years – is coming to Glasgow’s Drygate Brewing Co in September, showcasing 200 beers from 45 local and international breweries.
While debates around a definition of the term ‘craft’ and the merits of cask ale versus craft keg rumble on, the growing interest in both can only be good news for brewers and pubs.