Oktoberfest at Heart of Hawick

Craig Cameron – our Food & Beverage Officer – posts each month about the things he loves. This month – beer!

What would you pay for a good glass of wine? £4.50 tends to be the starting point these days for a decent 175ml glass. Fair enough. Wine is pretty fancy. It’s made from grapes grown in stunning vineyards in exotic places. Sophisticated professionals with generations of viticultural and vinicultural experience refine and adapt old and new methods to make sure what goes in the bottle has just the right bouquet, mouth feel, taste and finish. £4.50 sounds like a bargain!

What about a beer? About £3 a pint for a big name lager?

Well, what about beers made with just as much passion, expertise, tradition and modernity as the finest of wines? That’s now very commonplace, and right on our doorstep.

I’ll get straight to the point: ask yourself why you’re drinking that beer. Big night out? Or enjoying one or two nice drinks in a comfy setting, whether that’s social, at home or watching a movie in a boutique cinema (like our Heart of Hawick).

At Live Borders, we want to encourage the latter, obviously. And in doing so, we also want to promote great produce.

Let’s take a local brewery as an example. Tempest Brewing, based in Tweedbank, is, in my humble opinion, pretty  close to producing the very best beer in Scotland (and therefore the UK, and therefore the whole widest world!). It’s done using hops, malt, yeast and water. Not much more other than some natural flavours if they’re doing something more out there. They say it better themselves, frankly, so check out www.tempestbrewco.com/tempest-brewery.

The point is, these are passionate people who are in total control of their product, from where they buy the ingredients to how they use them and what they make. They make the beer they want to drink, not the beer they think will sell. They’re quite a decent sized brewery now, but certainly not industrial. Think about how much love and care probably goes in to making each keg of Heineken. Nothing wrong with a pint of Heineken, it’s just a very different beast – maybe for a different occasion.

And for every Tempest, there are 10 other great craft breweries you may never have heard of. Harviestoun, a mainstay of Scottish real ale, founded in 1983 by enthusiastic homebrewer Ken Brooker. They brew arguably more traditional Scottish beers, and they do it awfully well. Their Schiehallion Lager is pretty well-known now, and a great alternative to your ‘big name’ lagers, but they also have the likes of Olah Dubh 18, a dark beer aged in Highland Park 18-year-old whisky casks, which gives a distinctive malt whisky nose and taste.

Brewgooder are relatively new guys to the party, making a ridiculously tasty, hoppy, floral lager, from which every penny of profit goes to building wells to provide clean drinking water in Africa.

Beers with a story. Beers with real taste. Beers to be proud of.

Think twice before you order your glass of wine next time. There just might be a beer which changes your life*!

At Heart of Hawick – our one-screen cinema and café – we’re holding Oktoberfest from 22 to 28 October. We’ll have 25 different beers from 11 different Scottish brewers in our fridges. Come along and join in!
*NB: for white wine lovers, give a wheat beer or a gose (sour beer) a try. They’re light, sometimes floral and/or citrusy and always refreshing – just the dab!

Live Borders is a charity. Every penny you spend with us is reinvested into supporting active, creative and healthy communities in the Scottish Borders