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  • Cairngorm Brewery Trade Winds

    November 22nd, 2009LanesyBeer Reviews, Golden Ales
    Trade Winds: A former prizewinner that still retains a certain appeal.

    Trade Winds: A former prizewinner that still retains a certain appeal.

    Despite finding myself in deepest Norfolk last week, I found that I had actually picked up a selection of Scottish ales from the various beer outlets around the region. One of these is Trade Winds by Cairngorm Brewery, from Aviemore in the Highlands of the country.

    The cask version is a three-time former Champion Beer of Britain in the Speciality Class, so Trade Winds comes with some pedigree and the aroma straight from the bottle displays one of its key assets straight away; a lovely hoppy-sweet scent that appeals to my recently aquired  love of the hoppy beers. There is a slightly grassy note present, supported by a sweet fruitiness – most likely from the Elderflower as promised on the bottle.

    The inital mouthfeel, considering the richness of the nose, is surprisingly astringent and a little thinner in the body than I anticipated, with a light carbonisation that tickles the tongue. Although these descriptions are generally negative connotations, this isn’t the impression I am trying to generate by using them; more that it is an unexpected experience from the richness promised by the aroma. Flavour-wise, the fruitiness remains, with a slight hint of blackberries that fills out an otherwise sharp, crisp, citrusy flavour.

    The ale really comes into its own in the back end of the mouth. A warm, lightly bittered aftertase (the kind I have come to particularly enjoy) flows through with a fairly short finish as opposed to a drawn-out ending. The unusual experience this beer generate is the ‘jump’ it makes from the mouthfeel to the back of the throat, tantilising the tip of the tongue whilst in the mouth, before appearing to miss out the middle altogether and warming the throat without a second thought. Its a most bizarre, obvious experience in the first few sips of the glass.

    As the mouth becomes accustomed to this feel, the body of the beer almost seems to fill out the further down the glass you go; before long, you have a more rounded taste and a healthier, less harsh body.

    Considering the enjoyment I have had exploring the bottled version of this beer, I would love to sample the award-winning cask version of this ale. I have a feeling that without the expected carbonisation associated with the bottling process, I can imagine that a smoother mouthfeel would really allow this beer to shine. I will be hoping I can find it at a beer festival soon!


    Sam is a life long Leeds United fan and sometime home brewer, using kit that includes a recycled Hotpoint washing machine. When not drinking beer Sam likes nothing more than a hot cuppa and the sound of a crackling record on the long player

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