HeraldScotland's newest blogger - Isla Mercer - helped her family start up Shetland's Lerwick Brewery. Now, she'll be writing for us about the latest happenings in the beer world...
They say the first time is always the hardest which is what's whirling around my head as I sit down to write this. I've spent a good while thinking about how to kick things off and in the end I've decided to simply introduce myself and let you know what my plans are for this blog. When I read other people's blogs, I always go straight to the 'about me' section, especially when they're writing about beer. There is nothing better in life than sitting in a pub on a Saturday afternoon putting the world to rights with a friend over a pint (or two… or three) of proper ale. That's why I always want to feel like I know the person whose blog I'm reading. So without further ado…
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I grew up in Stonehaven, a small town on the East coast of Scotland. It's a lovely little place and is famous for its award winning fish and chip shops. To wash down your chipper - here we say chipper, not chippy - there are a number of places to get your hands on some new and interesting beers, as well as the old classics. There's a fantastic little pub down at the harbour area called The Marine which serves a multitude of real ales. If you're looking for shops, Dunnottar Wines and Fountainhall Wines both hold a vast selection which they update regularly. For a small town, there really is a great selection. One of my favourite things about heading back to Stonehaven is going down to these places with my dad, picking up as many different beers as we can then having the obligatory sampling session of them all. Sampling sounds much better than drinking.
I then went to university in Edinburgh where my love for beer grew even more. There are so many great real ale pubs in the city! A favourite of mine is Brauhaus, which has a whole menu of different beers. The staff are really friendly and well informed and it has a great, relaxed atmosphere.
Going foward, I'm going to try and cover lots of different areas. Reviewing beers is probably my favourite thing to write about so I'll definitely include a lot of that. I'll also review pubs and maybe even restaurants that have a good beer selection. As well as reviews, I'll write about my thoughts on different aspects of the brewing world and maybe even do some factual posts about beer and the brewing process.
I definitely do not consider myself to be anywhere near an expert on beer. I have an interest in it and enjoy writing about that interest. Also, taste is a subjective matter and one person's nectar is another's baby vomit. Therefore, I encourage everyone to engage with my articles, leaving comments about what you think and what flavours you can pick out from different beers.
Something I love about beer is that everyone can share their opinions so please do, no matter how much of a novice you think you are! Also, please let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like me to write about.