It holds a certain draw for the both of us ever since we stumbled upon the event whilst up visiting friends & family.
Nestled as it is in the picturesque & historic fishing village of Pittenweem in the East Neuk Of Fife about an hours drive from Edinburgh – which is visible on a good day across the Firth Of Forth from the harbour walls.
Strolling through the numerous venues my eye was drawn by all the whiskey & beer connections within the varied art on display. Scotland after all is the world’s top whisky producing nation as well as having some fine beers.
A new venue for the festival opened this year just a short drive up the road from the village in a place called Ovenstone. Formerly a tractor showroom, the space is now the home to Ovenstone 109 Brewery – the East Neuk’s newest craft brewery!
For the duration of the festival there was a rich diversity of art on display – paintings, jewelry, sculpture & for my delight – craft beer. Well isn’t brewing an art?
I got chatting to Nick – the man behind the brewery – and the video above – and sampled his dark IPA beer. Now I have to admit IPA isn’t my style – but it was crisp, fresh & hoppy & went down well. It was so fresh it hadn’t even been bottled or canned such was the rush to get it out for the festival. I certainly look forward to developments in the years to come.
Back in Pittenweem itself we made our way to the harbour area & the always amusing and entertainingly attractive ceramic designs of Craig Mitchell. One of his pieces caught my eye.
I’ve seen some micro distilleries in my time – but this one perched on the back of a scooter definitely takes it to a different level.
Just don’t drink & drive kids. It’s not big & it’s not clever – ceramic man might fall to pieces!
A little further along the shore Susan McGill had a stunning larger than life modern interpretation of the popular Oor Wullie cartoon character.
I just had to go in for a closer look!
Some of the intricate design work seemed familiar – then it dawned on me – that lovely bottle of dark, malty & heavy Scotch Ale I had the other night from the St Andrews Brewing Co?
Not only does Susan do the artwork for the brewery’s lovely range of beers – she has also collaborated with independent whisky bottlers D R Scotch Whisky to release Ae Fond Kiss. A whisky celebrating the writings of Scotland’s favourite national poet – Rabbie Burns.
And if you were in the market for some glasses to drink that whisky with – glass blower Elin Isaksson just happened to have a pair of hand blown chunky whisky glasses for the job. As well as her own whisky pairing to boot!
I didn’t indulge on this occasion – but all this art was making me thirsty. So we repaired to the nearby West End Bar for a display of the art of distillation!
Bowmore 12 won out in this contest.
I was expecting a peatier punch from this Islay single malt. What I got was a smooth, lightly smoky, sweetly sherried approachable dram. More of a kiss from Bowmore!
If you haven’t been to the Pittenweem Arts Festival before – do visit.
Apart from the fact that Islay is visible from the Antrim coast – and depending on which way the wind blows – pleasant smells may also be experienced.
And in Connemara, Ireland has it’s own award winning peated whiskey to challenge those of Islay.
That was until now.
Would it excite you if I said the former CEO of Bruichladdich was opening a distillery in Waterford?
After Mark Reynier’s successful turn around in the fortunes of that Islay distillery – the sale of Bruichladdich to Remy Cointreau – and the continued rise of whisky sales – is it any wonder he was on the lookout for a new venture?
Following on from the Scottish acquisition of Tullamore DEW – Waterford now seems to be the happy recipient of the rise in Scottish whisky popularity.