19 Sep Brewing up a storm at Wasted Degrees
We’re looking forward to kicking back on these cool autumnal evenings with a bottle of our very own Red Stag espresso beans expertly brewed by Wasted Degrees into a delicious syrupy stout. Smooth, rich and supremely complex, we think drinking the newly released ‘Red Stag Espresso Stout’ is a little like diving into a slice Christmas pudding.
The mastermind behind this inspired brew is Wasted Degrees’ founder Conall Low, a young entrepreneur with a passion for delicious, authentic craft beer. Conall is committed to working with other like-minded business and includes as many locally sourced ingredients as possible in their beers.
We love Wasted Degrees’ innovative and collaborative approach to brewing and had fun catching up with Conall at his new brewery in The Saw Mill Yard outside of Blair Atholl. With local funding support, Conall moved from Pitlochry to Blair Atholl and invested in new equipment in May. His main warehouse space is now dominated by tall cylinder containers for brewing and fermenting beer. All around the warehouse are neatly piled white boxes of tinned ales, the dark bottles of his signature collaboration brews and, kegs of maturing beer. It is all immaculate and the brews controlled to precise temperature. Despite the deliberately ambiguous name of the business there are no ‘wasted degrees’ in Conall’s craft.
From brewing up experimental beers in the garage in his father’s home Conall has scaled up Wasted Degrees’ operations to being able to wholesale their beer anywhere in the UK. They have increased their capacity from being able to brew 100 litres to 1,000 litre batches at a time and now offer three beers all year around: The popular Pale Ale, a crisp IPA and a smoky porter with cacao nibs and chipotle. “From only being able to sell small batches at farmer’s markets we can now supply whoever we want large or small,” says Conall and their wholesale customers now extend as far as London and Brighton.
These are Wasted Degrees’ ‘volume beers,’ and consistent all year round. But it is the speciality range that we are thrilled to be a part of. At the heart of this initiative is a commitment to sourcing “all the fantastic ingredients that we have on our doorstep.” “Instead of following trends we are creating our own,” Conall tells us. The Red Stag Beans in their new stout are from individual farms in Brazil, Colombia and Kenya. Carefully roasted to exacting standards at our Aberfeldy roastery, Conall used an innovative approach to extracting the coffee with three different methods (espresso, filter and cold brew) to produce a limited run of 1,000 bottles of the Red Stag Stout.
We are the first of three collaborations that Wasted Degrees are working on. Next up they are going to brew with what they describe as the ‘wonky fruits’ from Broadslap farm in Dunning. Undecided on which fruit to use at the moment, Conall is leaning towards a raspberry sour in the Spring. Their third and final planned collaboration is a punchy Imperial Stout, fermented with home grown hops from Guardswell Farm in Errol. “This will be a ‘wet hopped’ beer, with the hops hand-picked and brewed the next day”. Aged in whisky casks from Strathearn Distillery, Conall is expecting a ‘zesty, lively and fresh’ beer suitably fortified with a smoky caramel sweetness from the cask.
Still small compared to the bigger breweries out there, Wasted Degrees are confidently carving out a space for themselves in a competitive market. Conall is convinced that when it comes to food and drink, “values are shifting and people will pay more for quality rather than quantity.” Their next initiative is to open up a tap room for people to come direct to their brewery to sample and buy their beer. This will allow them to connect with their customers who will be able to get a true provenance.
So look out for Wasted Degrees’ delicious Red Stag Espresso Stout while stocks last. Like all the best things in life this unique beer is finite and together with Christmas pudding will be long gone by the New Year.