Burnside Brewery are an independent Scottish brewer hailing from Aberdeenshire, originally owned and managed by brothers Dave and Gary Metcalfe. They set up shop in Laurencekirk back in April 2010, initially with a tiny 2.5 barrel brew capacity. They launched their first three cask conditioned beers in June of that year, entering them into the 24th CAMRA Great Grampian Beer Festival, with one of them ending up being voted the ‘Best Beer of the Festival’ in the people’s vote. After this success, the pair worked on growing their network of stockists, and soon enough their beers were available throughout both Scotland and Northern England.
The brewery changed hands in 2018, and brewing is now in the hands of American Steve Lewis and Aberdonian Andrew Robertson. Joining these two at Burnside Brewery are Margo Macnab, Steve’s wife, as business co-ordinator, and a slew of other fellow Scots. Since the change of ownership, the brewer’s range has increased, as has their pride in using as much local produce as possible in their brews. The malt they use is from Fife-based Crafty Maltsters, with 80% of the hops they use being British grown, and of course Scottish spring water as the main ingredient – they could hardly have a name like Burnside without being located near something wet!
Right to Roam is the brewers first and currently only alcohol-free beer, and was launched in mid-August 2022. A small-batch beer, it is brewed to strength using a special strain yeast that results in minimal alcohol production during fermentation. It won a Gold for best non-alcoholic and low ABV beer in Scotland in the SIBA awards 2023, and a Silver in the same category for the whole of the UK. It’s classed by the brewer as an IPA, but as we’ve seen in previous reviews of IPA, that term can encompass a wide variety of styles. Hailing as it does from Scotland, I’m expecting Right to Roam to adhere to a more ‘classic’ style of IPA, with less of the exotic new world hops, but the only way to find out is to get it in my glass and give it a try – sláinte!
Pouring the beer out from the bottle we get a dark golden brown coloured liquid with a slight haze to it. A creamy off-white head is produced as the glass fills, and it’s a stayer, giving good lacing and full foam moustaches all round. The nose is very fresh, with bready malts, caramel, orange marmalade and earthy pine all on show. Certainly more on the ‘classic’ side of the IPA style when it comes to the aroma department.
On tasting we’re greeted with bitterness up front, grapefruit rind astringency with a touch of floral. This dryness is built on with earthy pine, and sits on a background of biscuity caramel malt. The flavours here are reminding me of a traditional best bitter. The body of the beer is medium, with gentle carbonation and a smooth mouthfeel. We get a slightly bready caramel finish to the drink.
Right to Roam is a lovely non-alcoholic IPA in the classic British style, bitter and earthy with a background of that lovely Scottish malt. It’s very much veering into ‘best bitter’ territory for me, which is still a style there is little of in the nolo world. If you’re a fan of those traditional brews then I really recommend you give this a go.
Buy Right To Roam
Burnside Brewery’s beers are stocked in a number of independent bottle shops and other off-licences ‘north of the border’. You might be able to find Right to Roam at your local such establishment, but it’s also readily available online:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Water, Barley, Wheat, Hops, Yeast|
|Country of Production||Scotland|
|Brewer||Burnside Brewery – https://www.burnsidebrewery.co.uk/|
Right To Roam Nolo IPA Review
An IPA with it’s feet firmly in tradition, with all the rich flavours of a great British beer, and even venturing into best bitter territory.