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On Wednesday, February 1st, we have a special tasting planned. Chef Trevor has prepared the perfect dessert—complete with a beer pairing. You won’t want to miss his special take on fried ice cream featuring vanilla ice cream with coriander doughnut holes! Along with it, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a truly local, hand-crafted brew from our friend Steve Finnie with the Wee Highland Brewing Company. Before dropping in for this heavenly pairing, learn a bit about the brewery from the brewmaster himself!

I moved from Scotland to the US in 1996, then to Rochester in 1998. In 1999, I started home brewing as a fun, creative hobby that I could share with friends. Also, with no place to get my favorite beers in the area, I found I just had to brew them myself!

I met Tessa and Nelson in 2010; we became friends over our mutual love of beer and wine. I helped teach them some brewing techniques the best way possible, by brewing a few batches of beer. One of our favorites from those batches was a coconut porter—dark in color yet relatively light, flavored with toasted coconut and bourbon vanilla beans. That porter is truly is a dessert beer.

I like to brew all beers, and love drinking all beers, from pilsners and wheats, to ales and pale ales, porters and stouts and IPAs. I’ll brew them all out of my small scale home brewery, but, having grown up in Scotland, I’m especially fond of ales and stouts.

The style of Wednesday’s debut beer is an imperial stout. An imperial stout is an extra strong stout that was originally brewed to withstand the rigors of travel, as it was made in England to be sent to the Russian czars. The imperial stout is a high-alcohol, highly hopped beer aged over time. The beer you’ll enjoy at Söntés, for instance, has aged in the bottle for one year. In that beer, you’ll find tastes of raisins, chocolate, and coffee with a warm alcohol feel (8.5% abv). It’s great paired with desert, cheese—you name it! Or, just sip it by warm fire on a cold winter’s night from a nice goblet!

The Wee Highland Brewing Company is indeed wee; it’s a nanobrewery in the Finnie garage and the Söntés kitchen. The beer you’ll be tasting at the event was made just twenty feet from where you’ll be drinking it—in Söntés’ kitchen! Each beer is made in 10 gallon batches, hand-crafted with love by myself and whatever friends are available to pitch in. And, of course, with the support of my wife, Dawn, and my two master bottlers, Duncan (age 5) and Ewan (age 3).

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

-Steve Finnie