Home – Blog – Brewery Update: Our Beer Names
March 17, 2016
Have you ever wondered what our beer names mean? We spend a lot of time naming our beers so that they represent Shetland, our homeland.
60 ° North Lager
Shetland lies on the latitude of 60 ° North which is over 100 miles North of the British mainland. This 60 ° North Latitude line is shared with places like Alaska, Siberia and Greenland…so pretty far North! This means Shetland has the perfect conditions for brewing lagers. The temperature doesn’t change too much from Summer to Winter, and tends to stay relatively cool, great for cold conditioning, which we do to our lager for 4 weeks minimum to ensure that crisp, refreshing taste.
Fishing is one of the most important sources of income for Shetland and as a result, we have a lot of fishermen. There are also many Shetlanders who go to sea as sailors. Sailing, rowing and fishing are hugely popular leisure pursuits. The sea is in our blood. A ‘Skipper’s Ticket’ is the equivalent of a driving license for a boat, and is known affectionately as your ‘passport to the seas’. Our Skipper’s Ticket uses three different hops from all over the world, which represents the fact Shetland seafarers sail to every corner of the globe but always return back to our homeland – The Old Rock.
Shetland is a very windy place,; dealing with gusts of over 100mph (technically regarded as hurricane level) are second nature to us. As a result, only a few, hardy trees grow here. This means we rely on our abundance of peat bogs to light our fires rather than wood. A ‘tushkar’ is a traditional Shetland long, thin spade with a specially designed tip, for cutting out these peats. We decided to name our oatmeal stout after this trusty implement because of the delicate peaty background which rounds off the big coffee and chocolate notes.
Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, is a very traditional town with a modern twist, which is how we would describe our IPA. Like a traditional IPA, we’ve paid a lot of attention to the malts we’ve used to ensure their flavours still come through, rather than a purely hop focus, to result in a beautifully balanced beer. The modern twist is in the hops, as we’ve used American Chinook and Cascade – which our forefathers wouldn’t have had access to – , to give a really distinct twist on this iconic beer style.
Shetland has strong links to New Zealand, with many Shetlanders settling there during the clearances in the 19th Century. Many others subsequently followed, a pattern that continued well into the 20th century. We wanted to mark this connection by using New Zealand hops in some of our beers. Azure uses hops from the US and New Zealand and the name Azure comes from the colour of the Pacific Ocean, which is the only separation between these two countries. The label imagery pays homage to our New Zealand links, with Maori tattoo patterns taking centre stage in the Shetland pony, as well as the making up the background design.