by Caroline Copeland

I have developed something of an obsession with Kinross lately. It’s one of the prettiest local towns – not yet gentrified enough to have become trendy, and definitely still a working town where people shop on the High Street and bank in the still-open banks. Perhaps because of its lack of pretence, it’s establishing itself as a real destination, with interesting shops, cafes and businesses opening throughout Kinross: among them, can be found Loch Leven Brewery. Opened in September 2017, the brewery has already made an impact with visitors and locals and has established a strong reputation for its craft beer.

There can’t be many brewery owners who can claim that one of their ancestors killed a King, but so it is for Jamie Montgomery, one of the Directors of the new brewery. Jamie’s direct ancestor Gabriel de Montgomery, a Captain in the Scots Guard, was tasked in 1559 with defending the King of France. Unfortunately, during a practice joust he accidently wounded the King, and two days later the King died. Nearly 500 years after this unfortunate kingslaying, the event gave birth to an idea for ‘The Great Scots’ range of beer at the new brewery. Marketing Director, Thomas Moffat explained: ‘Kinross has such a great history with Mary Queen of Scots, when you add in its close proximity to Dunfermline and the history of King Robert the Bruce and Andrew Carnegie, it made sense for us to celebrate that history by creating this new range of beers in honour of these great characters that give this place its sense of history and heritage.’  Named after these four great historic characters and with a nod to recent filming taking place in Dunfermline ‘The Great Scots Range’ of Warrior Queen; Kingslayer; Outlaw King; and Shining Knight beer was born.

Loch Leven Brewery is located directly opposite The Green Hotel, next to the main bus stop to Edinburgh. The building is as stylish as it is innovative, and houses a small tap-room, shop and adjacent brew house that have become a destination for aficionados of craft beer. The beer is produced by Master Brewer Gareth Lee who has over 30 years of brewing expertise, that is now poured into creating the distinctive craft beers that are Loch Leven’s: Gareth is passionate about using traditional methods and locally sourced ingredients and is happy to chat with visitors about the beer and brewing methods.

The brewery has already made its mark locally and its beer can also be found in many bars in Edinburgh, Dunfermline, and Perth. Such has been its popularity that it has already plans to double its output in the coming weeks. Christie Slater, Director of Operations, explained, ‘We’re thrilled people have embraced our beer and enjoy it, but it’s also great to see the brewery providing employment opportunities for people as we expand.’

With plans to open every day, the brewery is currently open Thursday to Sunday from 11 am to 8pm. The tap-room provides a warm and dog-friendly welcome for those seeking a pint of craft beer or a quick stop-off to purchase one of their many gift packs to take home. Their ‘Growlers’ and ‘Howlers (2 litre and 1 litre bottles) are popular with people returning to have them filled with their favourite beer, fresh from the cask or the keg. In addition to beer, their partners at Loch Leven Distillery have created their own range of gins from locally sourced botanics, that can also be taken home in your very own ‘Squealler’ (100 ml bottle). More on the distillery coming soon.