The Laddie’s Beer helps the RNLI

An ale has been brewed from Islay single malt for the first time. Micro-brewery Islay Ales, on the Hebridean island of the same name, has hooked up with neighbouring distiller Bruichladdich to produce a powerful and heady brew. By interrupting the whisky–making process at the stage of mashing, 600 litres of the prefermented liquor known as ‘wort’ was shipped to Islay Ales brewery.

Here, using brewer’s yeast, the ‘wort’ obtained from a maceration of Optic barley, was fermented to a knee-trembling 9% alcohol ale. Brewer Paul Hathaway added Challenger and Bramling Cross hops for extra flavour: “The distillery usually gets a 7% alcohol using different yeast strain – but I managed to get a thumping 9% alcohol.” “It’s a crossover drink: it has the delicious malty richness of Bruichladdich’s wort and the bitterness of hops. You can drink it now – it will get even better with time.”

1,800 bottles (33cl) entitled “Worts n’Ale” will be sold at £3 each exclusively by Islay Ales. Twenty-five pence from each bottle will go to the RNLI. The debut for this monster was Sunday 28th May at the opening day of the Islay Whisky & Music Festival “Feis Ile” at Bruichladdich Distillery. “At 9% alcohol this is a beer for savouring and certainly not for session drinking.

Shipwreck of the Wyre Majestic going down

The area in and around the Sound of Islay is a notorious graveyard of ships with over 50 wrecks catalogued. There are strong rips and currents that boil through the narrow sound and these have caught many vessels unawares. At 338 tons Wyre Majestic was built by Cochranes in 1956 at Selby. One of the large fleet of Wyre Trawlers, she ran ashore in the Sound of Islay on passage from Oban close to the Bunnahabhain Distillery.

Unable to get berths in the busy port of Oban, Wyre Majestic and Wyre Defence decided to steam for Fleetwood to land their catch. Wyre Defence pulled ahead of the Majestic Majestic's skipper was in his bunk and the bosun at the wheel as she seemed to move to the starboard side of her sister ship and would appear to have held a south west by south course for too long......

Sound of Islay Ferry (history of)

In the mid 1960’s the islands on the west coast of Scotland were served by two kinds of vessels; mail ferries operated by David MacBrayne Ltd and 'puffers' - small bulk cargo vessels capable of landing at simple piers or on the beach to discharge coal, lime etc. MacBrayne’s also operated a number of cargo vessels out of Glasgow. None of these vessels was equipped to deal with road transport.

The three car ferries owned by MacBrayne's were all side-loading and not suited to carrying the sharply increasing growth in tourist traffic or commercial vehicles. In 1966 three people engaged in contracting work on the west coast decided to set up the Eileann sea service. With the help of an HIDB loan the vessel Isle of Gigha was constructed and started operation in the middle of the seaman's strike. But in November the ship capsized and this put the company in financial difficulty.....

Weather and Webcam on Islay

Wednesday 21st of June and the start of summer. From time to time I take a look at the webcams from the Bruichladdich distillery and think of the wonderful times we had on Islay. Today (wednesday 21st of June) was however a bad day on Islay and in the west of Scotland. Very strong winds and lots of rain. The image on the left is captured from the Bruichladdich Distillery webcams. Sometimes a picture says more than a 1000 words!

Fine weather to visit the odd distillery and taste some fine drams!