At The Beach With The Kelpie
Imagine this: It’s a warm summer afternoon. You’ve packed up your towel, your sunscreen, and your frisbee (obviously). You’ve made the trip to the coast. You lay out your towel and settle down on the sand. You take a deep breath. What’s that smell?
At most beaches it a nice mixture of warm sand, ocean air, and seaweed.
That’s the type of feeling you’ll get from the Kelpie.
The Kelpie has a seaweed aroma that breaks through its mild chocolate shell, and really is its defining attribute.
Brewed by Williams Brothers Brewing Company, the Kelpie Seaweed Ale is part of their “Historic Ales” group (you may have heard of their Heather Ale also). The idea behind the Historic Ales is to try and emulate an old brew recipe from Scotland. Kind of an homage to the old country. In the case of the Kelpie, back before the 1850s, homebrewers (they pretty much were all homebrewers back then) used barley grown in their fields that were fertilized with seaweed. This gave the barley, and in turn their beer, a mild seaweed aroma and flavor. Williams Bros. throw bladderwrack seaweed into the mash tun with their barleys to try and recreate the flavor and aroma of the original.
What comes out of the brewing process is a fairly standard light chocolaty ale, but the addition of the seaweed makes it stand out.
The Kelpie pours a dark brown, nearly black color with a thin tan head. The aroma has an earthy seaweed smell, with very mild chocolate notes. The flavor starts sweet and chocolaty, fades into that seaweed again and finishes crisp with a mild saltiness.
The Kelpie is a very interesting beer, more of a one of a kind type beer. It remains one of the beers out there that always leaves me surprised and impressed with what a brewer can do with the right ingredients.
If you have the opportunity, try the Kelpie. It may not be your style, but it’ll definitely leave you surprised that you’re actually drinking a beer, and not swimming toward the shore in the Atlantic Ocean.