Fallen Brewing Company, Kippen, Stirlingshire – all aboard for an inspiring, thirst-quenching train journey.
It’s like a 21st century version of The Railway Children – an inspiring tale of an entrepreneurial young couple with an adventurous spirit – and a love of trains and beer – to live the dream.
First opened in 1856, the Kippen Railway Station, at the foot of the Fintry hills in Stirlingshire, was one of busiest stations on the Forth & Clyde Line due to local industries, until it closed in 1934. Paul and Karen Fallen purchased the former Victorian station in 2012, spending a year transforming the heritage site into their home and business, Fallen Brewing. (Fallen is pronounced “Phalin”)
The Old Engine Shed was renovated into the Mash Tun and they began brewing in April 2014.
The Station setting, rich in character and history, is reflected in their traditional brewing methods with a modern twist, based on carefully picked ingredients such as hibiscus, raspberry, peach, coffee, cacao, passionfruit, lime to create a refreshing range of craft ales and stouts.
Many of the names of each beer are cleverly inspired by the world of trains – Platform C, Local Motive, Switch and Chew Chew or local places as in the rather witty, Stirliner Weisse.
Fallen Brewery has recently rebranded the beer cans, working with Union Creative for a series of charming designs. Now packaged in fabulous, fun rainbow colours, they are illustrated with unique labels based on original pen and ink drawings by Dr. Zain Kapasi, a GP in East Lothian, a keen artist and photographer.
The railway-themed, decorative artwork on each branded beer can, tell the story of Fallen Brewery: the hills and rural landscape around the old Kippen Station, with cute wee trains chugging along the scenic route from Glasgow to Stirling and Edinburgh.
“Zain’s illustrations were exactly what the coloured designs needed. They add texture, interest and provenance to the cans.” Fallen Brewery team
Dr Kapasi is inspired by this project and would love to write and illustrate his own children’s books. A Scottish version of Thomas the Tank Engine would be brillliant – and likely to be very popular. Kids love Choo Choo train sets. Just imagine, picture books, toys, T shirts, TV series – (and, of course, Fallen Chew Chew Beer for the adults!).
The Fallen craft beers are made using only pure, soft Scottish mountain water and the best hops and malts from around the world. So, let’s start tasting a few of the Regulars.
Odyssey – 4.1%
This is Fallen’s best-seller, a revamped version of a traditional Bohemian Pilsner. – described by Paul as “a blonde beer with a fruity aroma and slightly spicy, citrus and stone-fruit flavour.”
Verdict: A classic America Blonde, good frothy head, light gold colour, with a fragrant, fruity, herbal scent; Fresh peach, lightly hoppy bittersweet taste, refreshingly smooth. This is a seriously quality, moreish pale ale.
Switch – 4.8%
A smooth base of pale malts and oats yield a soft, pillowy texture. The delicate bitterness allows tropical fruits to take centre-stage in this juicy, hazy and refreshing pale ale.
Verdict: A delicate, golden IPA. On the nose, sweet mango and watermelon, developing into a luscious taste of the Caribbean sunshine. The initial sour notes are quickly mellowed by the juicy fruitiness, a touch of spice and lingering dry malt flavour.
Local Motive – 3.9%
“First brewed for our local, The Cross Keys in Kippen, a classic, balanced, easy-drinking session style modernised with Mosaic dry hops.”
Verdict: Pale amber colour with lively carbonation, a rich hoppy, sweet fruit perfumed aroma. A finely textured flavour blending mango, apricot and tart tang of grapefruit with an earthy pine bitterness.
Stirliner Weisse – 4.5%
“Our interpretation of a Berliner Weisse … flavours of citrus, peach and passionfruit for a sherbet explosion and lasting refreshment.”
Verdict: Pour a glass of this effervescent golden liquor with a thick white head. Soft tropical fruit aroma before the first sip gives a mouthfeel of sharp, sherbety fizz, layered with bitter hops. Complex tart and tangy flavours create a rich, fresh tasting beer.
As one fan has described Stirliner Weisse “Hugely refreshing and drinkable stuff. Glad I bought two cans.”
Chew Chew, Salted Caramel Milk Stout – 6%
Verdict: A strong coffee colour with a creamy head and then be prepared for a whiff of sweet caramel and chocolate. Take a slow sip of this richly textured milky, malty Mocha of a beer with undertones of fudge, chocolate brownies and hint of roasted hazelenuts. Yes, delicously decadent.
Despite being brewed with dark Belgian candi syrup, it’s not overly sweet, the sugary, toffee taste is well balanced by a sprinkle of Hebridean sea salt in the caramel flavour. A good, solid stout with a bold, boozy punch which would pair well with a platter of oysters.
The experts at Fallen recommend the perfect partner to a Chew Chew – a lightly-peated whisky. Detective Inspector Rebus, partial to a smoky Laphroaig with a beer chaser, is sure to approve.
“Rebus took a long swallow of beer. Having nursed his pint while Rebus downed two double whiskies and two beers, Grant was dismayed to find another half poured into his glass as soon as there was room for it.”
The Falls, Ian Rankin
Fallen Brewing is all about eco-friendly sustainability – electricity from 100% renewable sources, the spent malt becomes cattle feed, hops are composted and the beer is vegan, unless stated otherwise.
“We brew beers we want to drink ourselves and we only want to drink the best. The beers are unfiltered and unpasteurised and we source the best ingredients, fill all casks and kegs by hand, and (with) our own canning line, we have total control over the quality of every beer.”
Paul and Karen Fallen have certainly embarked on an adventurous journey on the fast track, inspired by and preserving the cultural and industrial rural heritage of the Kippen railway. In just six years, the brewery has won numerous awards for their distinctively different, hand crafted range of Scottish beers based on commitment, creativity and passion.
Hope this has whetted your thirst and if so ….
Full list of beers, stockists and the online shop, visit, www.fallenbrewing.co.uk