When Sonny Priest created the Valhalla Brewery in Unst in December 1997 he was commercialising an activity which had been carried out in Unst in particular, as well as all over Shetland – for many years. Not just by men either – more than one ‘auld Aunt’ had a brew quietly fermenting in the ‘but-end of the hoose’.
The idea to set up a brewery came at a period of real downturn in Unst at the end of March 1996, when Sonny, who was part of the fire crew at the airport had been served a redundancy notice and was commiserating with his colleagues in the traditional style. He wasted no time and by December 1997 ‘Auld Rock’ was in production in 9 gallon casks and in 1999, just before the first Tall Ships Race arrived in Shetland the bottling plant was operating, producing the now familiar 500ml bottles with the ‘White Wife’ now added to the range.
Now in larger premises at Haroldswick, a range of 6 beers and his daughter Yvette Carnell part of the business Sonny is flat out keeping up with demand. The beers are exported all over the UK and are in high demand throughout Shetland in all seasons. Visit the website for full descriptions of each of the beers and much more information. A visit to the brewery is a really interesting component of a trip to Unst.
The best thing to do with this range of lovely beers is to drink them, but why not have a go at these recipes with their lovely combinations of flavours?