Beer & Beef

Fyne Ales and Highland Cattle

Fyne Ales and Highland Cattle

With their thick ginger fringes, shaggy coats and distinctive horns, Highland cows may look fiersome, but get a little closer and you’ll find they’re gentle beasts, happy to while away the hours in the peace of the scenic Scottish hills.

The herd that enjoys the views of Glen Fyne at the head of the Loch might be considered extra laid-back, treated not only to beautiful surroundings but also all the spent grain from the Fyne Ales brewery that they can eat!

Fyne Ales was founded in 2001 by Tuggy Delap and her late husband Jonny who decided to convert an old milking shed into a brewery. Now managed by their son, Jamie, the brewery and the farm work in harmony “Argyll has a rich food production industry, so when it came time to find a new use for the family land, complimenting the food offering with a brewery seemed to make a lot of sense,” he says, gesturing to the valley behind the cluster of farm buildings the brewery calls home.

Glen Fyne is a typical Argyll landscape – a sloping, patchwork of murky browns and greens studded with trees and rising to a ridge sharp enough to snag any passing rain cloud. “Our water comes straight off the hill; if it’s raining today, it’s in the mash tun tomorrow,” says Jamie. “There’s a huge peat moor above the brewery which acts like a sponge and ensures we’re well-supplied in the unlikely event of a dry-spell in the weather.”

The integration of farm and brewery activities has been key to the team’s success over the years. “We’re very proud to be a farm brewery, to work with our environment and do everything we can to protect the local ecosystem and enhance and showcase this special place,” adds Jamie. “When we started the brewery so many years ago, it wasn’t just to make good beer, it was to do something with the land that could bring people and jobs and life back to the area and our community.”

It’s a plan that has seemed to pay off for the Fyne Ales family - the brewery has continued to grow, winning innumerable awards for its beers in national and international competitions along the way. And with more beer produced, more hungry mouths have been needed to help dispose of the spent gain; recent years have seen the farm’s Highland cows joined by a herd of red deer in the glen.

Fyne Ales are always keen to welcome friendly faces to their brewery - their tap room is open seven days a week, with tours running every day for those keen to learn more about the brewery’s history and production. And of course, you’d be a fool not to enjoy a beer or two while you’re there