Aside from an ever-growing range of brilliant beers, one of the best things about our renewed love of beer is the surge in small and micro breweries throughout the country.

The number of breweries has rocketed in the past 20 years from a mere handful to something fast approaching triple digits. From groups of pals using the experimental studio kit in Glasgow's Drygate to veteran homebrewers who have decided to make a business out of their hobby, beer and brewing has seen wave after wave of small enterprises establish themselves.

So it's no surprise that Scotland's myriad islands are a key part of this brewing resurgence. Breweries such as Arran and Skye have been around for years. Others, like Eigg, have just started. All of them started and maintained by people who love the challenges of island living, and for who the trials of cancelled ferries, Atlantic storms, flooded roads, landslips, transport costs are just part of their day job.

Colonsay lays claim to being the world's smallest island with a brewery. With a population of about 120, the brewery with its tiny two-person staff is a massive contributor to the local economy. They've grown slowly over the years, from supplying bars and hotels on the Scotland's west coast to their recent facelift which is seeing them push into shops and pubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Colonsay Brewery has a core range of three beers, a sweet, malty 80/-, a floral, waxy IPA, and a soft toffee-flavoured golden beer, all easy drinking, all well-balanced and rounded. The latter, Pig's Paradise Blonde (4.4%), has an aroma of lager malt, with soft citrus and floral notes, a light tart touch, gentle bitterness and caramel sweetness. It's as soft yet distinctive as the Hebridean lilt.

Over on Eigg, the Laig Bay Brewery offer a core range of four beers, their potent Independence IPA, a 6.2% hop bomb, as well as their Cleadale 80/- (4.5%), and a couple of pilsners Kildonanbourg (5.5%) and Five Pennies (4.8%). These beers rarely make it off the island so if you see a bottle, get two.

Islay's rightly famous for its spectacular whiskies, but the island's brewery has been making a name for itself over the years. Their Angus Og IPA (4.5%) is in the ongoing Aldi winter beer festival but it's their special editions you really need to try. These are often brewed in collaboration with local distilleries, sometimes aged in whisky barrels and rarely making it to the mainland. Yet another reason to visit ...

Lerwick Brewery have just launched their fourth beer, a fruity floral and easy drinking IPA called Azure (4.3), adding to their crisp and floral lager 60 Degrees North (4.8%), the fruity and spicy Skipper's Ticket reddish pale ale (4%) and the viscousy, oat-heavy and chocolate stout, Tushkar, (5.5%).

Up in Orkney, Highland Brewing Company/Swanny Brewery has an outstanding range of core and special beers. Orkney Blast (6%) is one of the highlights of Aldi's beer festival, but it's head brewer Rob Hill's special editions that make this brewery one of the country's finest, with the Old Norway barleywine (8%) and the blindingly brilliant Barrel-Aged Orkney Porter (11.5%) worth pillaging for.

The Isle of Skye brewery celebrates its 20th birthday this year, which makes it one of the country's oldest. It too has had a recent rebrand, dropping the word Cuillin from its Skye Red (4.2%) and Skye Black (4.5%) range. It's recently just launched another beer, Yer Ben, a 5.5% golden ale brewed in collaboration with chef Tom Kitchin.