In the three years since launching with their delightful Happy Chappy session pale ale, Cromarty Brewing Company have built a solid reputation for producing an accessible yet flavour-packed range of beers (their Rogue Wave pale ale is a particular favourite). Although the majority of their beers are made using isinglass, Cromarty are planning to phase this out. When they do, vegan beer fans should make bottles of Cromarty a regular presence in their fridge.
New Zealand hops feature heavily among their beers, bringing big tropical and citrus notes and heaps of bittering. With such a focus of new world hops, it’s hardly surprising the Black Isle-based brewery now produce a beer using kiwi fruit.
Unlike their core range, Cromarty’s Kiwheat kiwi wheat fruit beer (5.2%) isn’t made with isinglass, and is a must-try for all beer fans, vegan or not. It pours a warm, hazy amber, with a gentle fizz and heaps of citrus character and bitterness coming from the Waimea and Riwaka hops.
First off, it has a tart fruity hit that develops into a playful sweet and sour dance that’s like a mouthful of sherbert lemons, wine gums and royal gala apples. But it’s not all sharp fruit flavours (you’ll find grapefruit there, too), there’s an easygoing, slight biscuit, wafer feel from the wheat malts, giving the beer depth and backbone before settling into a long, slightly sour and refreshingly clean and bitter finish.