Last year I loaded the van with the finest tinned pumpkin and carrot juice Edinburgh could offer and embarked on an epic journey to Tempest brewing in Kelso to brew with Gavin and his team. Pumpkin pale ale was the awesome outcome.

This year it was Gavin’s turn to come north. The beer was to be something using locally foraged pine cones and a freshly propagated batch of Belgium yeast. I had spent the previous few days clambering around the tree tops gathering the juiciest pine cones the black isle could offer, making it somewhat of a danger beer. When Gavin arrived we set about a recipe, although general brewer chit chat slowed us up considerably. It was decided to make a rich dark beer using rye, oats and speciality dark malts from Belgium. The hopped wort had some nutmeg added for a gentle spiciness and then passed over the roasted pine cones to extract all the beautiful aromas. The brewday went swimmingly ending with a few local pints and a Sutor Creek pizza, despite numerous attempts to burn the oven whilst roasting pine cones! The beer was then “dry conned” with more pine cones in the conditioning tank to add extra depth and character.

Cone Head will be launched this Saturday evening, 16th November in the Cloisters bar, during a Cromarty/Tempest tap takeover.

It will be available on draught in certain bars and in 500ml bottle from the Brewery shop and all usual Cromarty/Tempest bottle outlets.