Alechemy are a father and son team who started their brewery in 2012. They couldn't be a friendlier pair.

James, the son, has a very scientific background, holding a degree in chemistry and a PhD in microbiology. After some time working down in England, he returned to Livingston with a passion for homebrewing, so couldn't wait to get started brewing commercially.

His father, Adam, had worked in the railway business his whole life and thus specialises in getting things from A(lechemy) to B(eer drinker). I'm sorry.  Fast forward three years, and the brewery is selling all over the UK and abroad as well as having brought a few extra helpers on board.

James and Adam kindly invited me out to visit the brewery, which is based just outside of Livingston. The whole set-up looks great and is a bustling hive of activity, with a large twelve barrel main plant and a much smaller half barrel plant used for practicing recipes and special small scale brews.

It was really interesting to see how the packaging and bottle images had changed over time. The original beers launched had a much more traditional look than the extremely modern labels which Alechemy uses today. The current branding is very eye-catching with the large, colourful 'A' immediately standing out which makes it instantly recognisable as Alechemy. The beers were originally named after famous landmarks around the West Lothian area, whereas now they have a much more modern feel. For example, a series of beers were named after the varieties of hops they feature.

They have brewed a large amount of different beers in bottle, cask and keg format. The core range consists of seven beers with quite varied styles, ranging from things like Black Aye PA which suprisingly enough is a Black IPA, to Stereotype Steam Lager.

Ritual pale ale is a lovely, refreshing session ale with a moderate 4.1% ABV. It has a more hop than malt focus but you can still pick up the initial malty hit. It's then followed by light, citrusy hops and a moderate bitterness at 45 IBU.

Rye O' Rye is one of my preferred rye beers. It's a slightly heavier 5.6%. The rye gives it a beautiful copper colour. It's got a lot of spicy notes, some fruitiness and a lovely sweet, caramelly finish. James said his favourite beers are the big, hoppy American style ales and this comes through in the Alechemy brews which aren't shy on the hop front.

James also showed me their vast hop collection which smelled incredible! Although their 'hop' named beers were originally only going to be a seasonal release, Citra has made its way into the core range and I'm delighted. Citra is my favourite hop at the moment and there are some absolutely fantastic beers out there using this sought after greenery.

Citra Burst is Alechemy's Citra beer, and it's marvellous. The ABV and IBU are modest for such a hop focussed beer, 5.4% and 65 respectively. It's very, very refreshing. Lots of big, citrus flavours including orange, lemon and grapefruit at the forefront but a solid, biscuity malt taste edging its way into the background. I had this in bottle but would love to try it on draught - I've heard that the Waiting Room down in Morningside in Edinburgh has it so I'll have to wander down to try some.

As well as the core range, the brewers have 'Freestyle Fridays' where some interesting creations are born! One of said births was that of a strawberry flavoured milk stout called 'Daylight Strobbery'. It was a very interesting beer with intensely sweet strawberry jam flavours combined with a dark malty finish. I was quite sceptical to begin with, but after a small taster, I asked for a full pint!

The summer is setting up to be a very busy one for Alechemy since they've just launched a beer exclusively for the Pear Tree pub using pear tree blossom from the pub's beer garden. Pear Tree Summer Pale will be available in the bar throughout summer and sounds like the perfect thirst-quencher for sitting outside among those very trees from which its unique flavour comes from.  Alechemy are also releasing a new black IPA which will be called Malacca and is brewed using Malaysian and Indonesian spices. It's launching on May 31st at the newly opened OX184 on the Cowgate in Edinburgh, where the guys are having a week long tap takeover.

As well as the draught ales, they are launching a few new bottled beers. One of which is an Australian hopped double IPA called Budgie Smuggler and another is an Imperial Stout called Bring Out The Imp which has been aged in fifty five year old whisky casks. I'm particularly excited to try this one because, the casks looked pretty impressive and Imperial stouts are probably my favourite style of beer. The bottle label is designed by Dundee based artist WhimSicAL Lush who also did the artwork for the Alechemy/BrewDog collaboration last year - Smoked in History.

At least one of the Alechemy beers is available at most craft beer stockists and also in various pubs on draught.