Top of the Knops

At the end of our first year in business Steph and I decided to sit down open a beer and reflect on the previous twelve months. Whilst chatting we realised that although we are avid Knops beer patrons and are known to participate on occasion of a small Beveridge our knowledge was minimal.

Bob Knops is a friend but having a friend who makes great beer is an added bonus. Bob started brewing in his fathers garage and I have probably been on the wrong end of some of his early brews. That said he clearly has a talent and a huge passion for this ultra-competitive business.

We have visited his brewery on many occasions and been hugely impressed with the professional layout, high tech equipment and passion that defines his product. So much so that when we started out we decided to offer a few bottles to all our guests in the Williamstone Farm Steadings welcome packs, in order that our guests could also sample and hopefully appreciate the various beers he has to offer.

Following on from this discussion I felt our guests may also appreciate a bit more knowledge about this product, its origins, the history, the inspiration behind the individual beers and of course the  taste. So I asked Bob to pull together a small synopsis of his company and products which is  attached for your information and instruction. Hopefully it will add to your enjoyment and appreciation of the award winning Knops Beer.

Tours of this micro-brewery can also be arranged, with advanced notice, whilst visiting Williamstone Farm Steadings.

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East coast pale ale

The Style

This beer has no particular historical significance but was brewed to mark our entry into our new brewery and the golf Open Championship held in 2013 at Muirfield next door to our brewery. It has proved so popular that we have made it a permanent addition to our range.

The island in the image is Fidra, one of many islands in the Firth of Forth and which is visible as you enter the estate in which the brewery is based. The island has a thriving seabird population including Puffins. It also has an old chapel dating from the 12th century AD and Robert Louis Stevenson is said to have based his map of Treasure Island on the shape of Fidra.

This is a subtle, sessionable pale ale showcasing pale malt for which East Lothian is famous.

The Brew

We have created a delicate pale ale using two row pale ale malt.

We use a traditional English hop, Fuggles, for bittering and Bobek and Hallertau Hersbucker for flavour and aroma. The Hersbrucker is a classic hop often used in lagers and pilsners.

The Beer

ABV: 3.8%

IBU: 15

Colour: Straw

Aroma: Light malts, slight fruit, spicey and earthy aroma from the hops.

Flavour: Light biscuity malt balanced by a delicate hop bitterness and flavour.

Food Pairing: Chicken, seafood and other lighter flavoured foods

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East coast pale ale

The Style

Excerpt from “The Scottish Ale Brewer and Practical Maltster”, 3rd edition, published 1847 by W.H. Roberts”

“If we may believe a tradition current in Scotland, this method of rendering table-beer brisk by the addition of cold water arose from accident. A brewer’s drayman going his usual round one day, accidentally spilt a considerable quantity of beer contained in one of the casks. To prevent his master becoming acquainted with his carelessness, he filled up the cask with water, at the first stream he passed, on the road to Musselburgh, and left it at the nearest public-house, which was kept by an old woman, a regular customer, and a person whom he thought was less likely than others to discover the inferiority of the beer. Going some time afterwards to Musselburgh, he called for the old woman, expecting a severe rebuke for leaving her such sour, weak trash, and dreading it’s being returned. He was as much pleased as astonished to be informed, that it was the best beer she ever had, and that she hoped his master would always brew such, as her customers were much pleased with it – in fact, she never had had beer that took the bottle so soon, and was so fine, sharp, and brisk. Upon his return home, the drayman told his master all the particulars of the accident and its consequences, who improved upon the hint for his future advantage. From this story, small beer, when it is very brisk, is often designated by the vulgar ‘Musselburgh Broke’.”

The Brew

Our modern interpretation of this beer uses five different malts; Pale Ale, Crystal, Chocolate, Wheat and Roast Barley. These combine to give the beautiful chestnut colour and the delicious malty sweetness.

During the brew, hops are added in small quantities in two stages to ensure that the lovely malty character typical of this style of Scottish ales is not overwhelmed. The hops are there for balance. The malt is the true star of this show!

The Beer

ABV: 4.5%

IBU: 13

Colour: Chestnut

Aroma: Chocolate and dark malts

Flavour: Light caramel, toffee and cocoa from the malts. A smooth, dry, clean finish with dark malt astringency.

Food Pairing: Roast meats, creamy sauces, mild cheeses

Hover for more information

East coast pale ale

The Style

This beer has no particular historical significance but was brewed to mark our entry into our new brewery and the golf Open Championship held in 2013 at Muirfield next door to our brewery. It has proved so popular that we have made it a permanent addition to our range.

The island in the image is Fidra, one of many islands in the Firth of Forth and which is visible as you enter the estate in which the brewery is based. The island has a thriving seabird population including Puffins. It also has an old chapel dating from the 12th century AD and Robert Louis Stevenson is said to have based his map of Treasure Island on the shape of Fidra.

This is a subtle, sessionable pale ale showcasing pale malt for which East Lothian is famous.

The Brew

We have created a delicate pale ale using two row pale ale malt.

We use a traditional English hop, Fuggles, for bittering and Bobek and Hallertau Hersbucker for flavour and aroma. The Hersbrucker is a classic hop often used in lagers and pilsners.

The Beer

ABV: 3.8%

IBU: 15

Colour: Straw

Aroma: Light malts, slight fruit, spicey and earthy aroma from the hops.

Flavour: Light biscuity malt balanced by a delicate hop bitterness and flavour.

Food Pairing: Chicken, seafood and other lighter flavoured foods

Hover for more information

East coast pale ale

The Style

The first known mention of India Pale Ale was in 1835. Before that it was known as beer for the India market, India Beer or even the ‘champagne of malt’.

This was beer that was brewed for export to the colonies and had to be able to withstand months at sea in hot climates as ships travelled from the UK to India or any other parts of the British Empire. The beer tended to be relatively high in alcohol compared to today’s beers (5 to 9% abv) and heavily hopped. Hops and alcohol have a natural preservative effect and so helped in preventing the beer becoming infected.

Naturally, it was the London brewers with their close proximity to the East India Company docks who first took advantage of these markets. However, with the opening of the railways and improved transport links the Burton brewers and Edinburgh brewers, whose water was hard and ideal for brewing pale ales, began to take more of the market share and became famous for their India Beers. As colonials returned home they retained a taste for the Empire beers and brewers responded by brewing the style for the domestic as well as export markets.

The Brew

A beer true to the traditional style of IPA but with some contemporary elements. The malt used is two-row Pale Ale Malt, ideally suited for this style of beer. A small amount of wheat malt is also used.

The star of the show in an IPA should be the hops. We use New World hops which in general provide a more intense flavour and aroma than their European counterparts. The hops are added in three stages. The first addition is for bitterness and is added at the start of the boil, the second is for flavour and is added 5 minutes from the end of the boil and the third is added once the boil has finished and provides the hop aroma without the mouthdrying effect of dry-hopping.

The Beer

ABV: 5%

IBU: 28

Colour: Light Golden

Aroma: Light citrus and sweet apricots.

Flavour: Refreshing citrus notes balanced by a smooth malt backbone.

Food Pairing: Hard cheeses, salty, fried and spicy foods

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East coast pale ale

The Style

A greatly respected member of Edinburgh’s society, Brodie (1741-88) was a skilful cabinet-maker and a member of the Town Council as well as deacon (head) of the Incorporation of Wrights and Masons. However, Brodie led a double life. He was a heavy gambler, had a number of mistresses and illegitimate children and at night would lead a gang of burglars using his privileged position to make wax imprints of keys to the buildings in which he was working.

Brodies last crime was a bungled raid on His Majesty’s Excise Office in the Canongate. The night of the raid Brodie and his accomplices Smith, Ainslie and Brown “met in an upper room in Smith’s house, and had some herrings, chickens, gin, and blackcork, which last he explained to be Bell’s beer…” “Trial of W. Brodie and G. Smith”, in The Scots magazine, August 1788, p371

Ainslie was caught and turned Kings evidence on the rest of the gang. Brodie fled to Amsterdam where he was eventually hunted down and extradited to stand trial in Edinburgh. Found guilty, he was sentenced to hang along with Smith. Ironically it is likely that he had a hand in the design and construction of the very gibbet on which he was hanged.

So, perhaps Black Cork had a part to play in the downfall of Deacon Brodie on that fateful night.

The Brew

Black Cork was a beer brewed in Edinburgh in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was brewed by Bell’s brewery which used to be located where the Pleasance Theatre now stands. The recipe and secret of brewing Black Cork seems to have died with it’s last brewer Robert Keir in 1837.

We have created an intensely dark beer using pale malt, crystal malt, chocolate malt, oats and malted wheat. Summit hops are added in 3 stages to create a prominent bitterness and hop aroma.

The Beer

ABV: 6.5%

IBU: 74

Colour: Black

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee

Flavour: Chocolate, coffee, liquorice, aniseed, pink grapefruit

Food Pairing: Oysters, game, dark chocolate, strong blue cheeses