Haven Heather Ale





Thursday marks the official release of a new but limited Notch beer. It is the Haven Heather Ale, and you will only find it at the Haven in Jamaica Plain. So before I get into the specifics, please join us on Thursday, July 21st as we tap a special cask of the Haven Heather Ale.

I brew these beers for Jason Waddleton, the owner of the Haven, for a few reasons. One, it’s a lot of fun to brew these Scottish inspired beers. While I have a long history of brewing English beers, Scottish beers never hit my radar. So it’s been a learning experience researching and understanding Scottish beers. The one thing that really interested me was that so many Scottish beers were session beers, yet the US consumer thinks of the high alcohol “Scotch Ale” when they think Scotland. So this is a chance to explore other Scottish beers of a more modest background.

I also like to brew these Haven beers because of Jason. He has been a huge Notch supporter and “all in” with me from day one. I am very loyal to those who first believed in me and my love of session beer. And when you are an underdog, you find like minded folk and support them. So when Jason asked me about brewing a beer for the Haven, I jumped. And I didn’t want to brew just one beer all the time. First, I need to beg other breweries for a slot where I can brew these beers, so I couldn’t guarantee a constant supply. And second, it’s a lot more fun to offer the Haven’s customers something new and different each time.

The first beer was the 70 Shilling, which was a fantastically malty, slightly roasty, Scottish Ale. It didn’t last long. Now we introduce the Heather Ale. Why Heather Ale? Little did I know, heather has a long and storied past in Scottish brewing history, and I was excited to work with heather (heather tips, really). In the brewery where I brewed the Heather Ale (Kennebunkport Brewing Company, where I apprenticed in ‘93), we have a piece of equipment called a hop back. This hop back allowed me to steep the heather like a tea, and at the exact time and temperature I required. And for those who don’t know heather, just think herbal tea. It balances very well with the hop flavor and slight roasted Amber malt, yet the heather character won’t hit you over the head. But, once you find it, you realize you would like to hang with it for a few pints. Just like all great session beers, it’s made for multiple pints, and if you’ve been to the Haven you know you want to extend your time there.  See you Thursday!

Heather Ale description:

The Heather Ale combines the malt profile of a Scottish Ale with the hop flavor of a British Bitter, and balances these elements with a background of Heather aroma and flavor. A pound of heather per barrel was used in the brewing of the beer, but the Heather provides a subtle complexity. Heather provides a tea like aroma that balance the Amber malt, and the herbal flavor of Heather balances with the British hop flavor.

The Heather Ale is unfiltered, yet with great clarity, and has a light chestnut color. The heather tips were grown and harvested in Scotland, and used as a late kettle and hop back addition. And at 4.3% ABV, a wonderful Scottish inspired session ale.

Malt:     British Pale, Amber, Crystal, Munich, Oats
Hops:    Kent Goldings, Willamette
Yeast:   British Ale
ABV:    4.3%