Big Bag of Cans: Scottish Craft Beers for Summer

With the days getting longer and slightly warmer, we head to the fridge to check out some sweet summer beers from a few of our favourite Scottish breweries

Feature by Peter Simpson | 15 Jun 2022
  • Scottish Summer Beers

The smell of the barbecue, the faint wailing of the Bluetooth speaker, your nose sealing over after inhaling many tiny particles of grass. These are all key signs that the summer is here, but they pale in comparison to the greatest summer tradition – the big bag of cans. Down the park with your pals, sun shining, more wind than you expected, bag of cans, lovely stuff.

In preparation for the sunny months, we’ve pored over some recent offerings from a host of Scotland’s best craft breweries, then poured those offerings into a glass and written about them. Grab your biggest bag and your best lads, it’s time for cans.

Simple Things Fermentations, Table Beer
We kick off with this 3% table beer from Glasgow’s Simple Things. It’s an ideal place to start: a citrusy kick but without too much sweetness, some bitterness but still very light. It’s a great park beer, although the in-can conditioning does mean it loses a bit of its oomph over time. It also means that cracking one of these is a bit like popping a bottle of champagne; very dramatic, very foamy.

Newbarns & Beers Without Beards, Architects of Society
Next up is one of a number of recent collaborations from Newbarns. This time it’s a team-up with Beers Without Beards, the Edinburgh-based women’s beer and brewing group. The beer itself is a 5% Kolsch, and fantastically balanced. The hoppiness is there with a real fruity kick, but it’s extremely drinkable. This is great, grab a can while you still… have the opportunity.

Otherworld, Grapefruit and Talus Hazy Pale
Eskbank-based brewery Otherworld are new on the scene, and they have two things going for them straight away. One: lovely can art. Two: excellent beers, like this 4.2% pale. It’s very immediate, and the fresh grapefruit gives it a real zing. It also reminds us a lot of the beer we made with Stewart Brewing a few years ago (a 5% lemon and grapefruit pale called Hop The Presses, very good, surprisingly fizzy), so of course we like it.

Vault City, Peach and Mango Sour
It’s sour time, baby! While we’re not sure about the concept of a ‘session sour’, this new four-percenter from Vault City might be the closest it’s possible to get. Tastes like a beery Rubicon, surprisingly light and quaffable, almost entirely opaque, ideal if you want a sweet treat after eating a whole block of barbecued halloumi.

Fyne & Newbarns, BOLD
Back to Newbarns, and another collab – this time they’re with Fyne for a 4.2% “generously hopped pale”. Reader, they are not kidding about the hops. A bit drier than some of the others we’ve tried, but still tastes great; probably more of a ‘picnic lunch’ beer than a ‘bag of crisps and a frisbee’ beer.

Overtone, Silence is… Citra
The Silence series from Glasgow brewery Overtone focuses on individual hops, and this 5% Citra pale is an absolute banger. It’s really refreshing, light and silky smooth, but it’s still endlessly fruity and showcases the hops really well. Delicious! Delightful!

Pilot, Trop Trop
We finish back on sour island with Leith’s own Pilot. Their latest beer is this 5.2% sour, with passionfruit, pineapple and mango. It’s a similar profile to the Overtone but sour and sharp instead of mellow and laid back. It’s tangy, citrusy and complex (as in, it tastes of many things, in a good way). It’s summer in a can, we tell you. Summer in a can!