Spring is in the air ... daffodils are blooming beautifully, new-born lambs are gambolling in the lush green fields, and local breweries are making exciting new brands of beer available to the public.
And at Tempest Brewery in Tweedbank, it means that Springfest – a festival celebrating its beer as well as local food and music – is just around the corner.
Tempest has also brought out some new ales that can be tasted at the festival – an experimental double IPA called the Alligator Man, and a new dry-hopped India pale lager known as Nelson Sauvin.
Following the purchase of some brandy and bourbon barrels last year, the company has released six-month-barrel-aged varieties of its famous Mexicake beer, both of which are running in short supply already.
A spokesperson said: “Barrel aging is a unique and interesting process, and we wanted to really push the boat out with such a highly-anticipated release.
“Different woods and barrel types impart different flavours that not only work with the flavours of Mexicake, but highlight different flavours in the beer and also add their own unique profile.”
Also making the most of spring, Traquair has launched its thirst-quenching Spring Ale.
Wth an ABV of 4.2%, it is the lightest of Traquair’s ales produced from the tiny ancient brewery at Traquair House.
“We are trialling this new ale for the spring and so far the response has been brilliant,” commented Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair.
“Traquair Ales are often on the stronger side for many people’s tastes so this ale is aimed at a wider audience.”
The recipe is devised from an earlier cask ale brewed for the Referendum in 2014 and has a hint of coriander, but also has the distinctive taste of all Traquair’s ales derived from their fermentation in oak tuns – the only brewery left in the UK continuing to use this ancient method of brewing.
Traquair also has a new head brewer in Frank Smith, who has finally achieved the top job after 25 years at the brewery. He is responsible for the new ale and thinks it will be repeated in future years if capacity allows.
Last year, the brewery increased its production through purchasing two new conditioning tanks and is looking to increase sales in Scotland and the UK. The brewery currently exports nearly 70% of its production to the US, Canada, Japan, Italy and France.
Traquair House and Brewery are open to the public from April 1 until October 31. Visitors can enjoy sampling and purchasing the ales in the brewery shop and museum in the courtyard.
Broughton Ales is also looking to up production by expanding its business.
Local MP David Mundell paid them a visit recently – and said he was looking into putting a one of their ales forward as a guest beer in the House of Commons Strangers Bar.
Mr Mundell said: “I was delighted to pay a visit to Broughton Ales which is vital for the local economy in Tweeddale.
“It was very pleasing to hear that there are plans to develop and expand the site and I thoroughly enjoyed getting shown round the tour.
“It was also nice to sample some of their products, although I couldn’t try too much as I had a surgery in Peebles afterwards.”