Over a hundred miles lay between us and our destination, but the Texan didn’t appear like he was in any hurry.
The man earned thousands of dollars every year.
His time, presumably, was worth a lot of money (more than mine at least).
Still, in his own quiet way he seemed to be revelling in the foreign climes that he had found himself in. Although he’d made the mammoth journey for the sole purpose of learning how the Scottish farmers of Darnford Farm produced their award-winning beef, he practically begged to take the scenic route. For the one of the most successful of business owners I’d met, he seemed awfully keen to kick back and enjoy the scenery.
Although by this point, I’d spent hours driving through the roads of Scotland, I had no problem with acquiescing to my passenger’s demands.
As we wound our way through mountainous passes and past glittering lakes, I could tell my passenger was beginning to drifting off. We’d kept up polite conversation for the first hour, but the duration of the flight, in addition to the jet lag, appeared to be finally taking their toll on him. The soft lull of Radio 4 was the final nail in the proverbial coffin. As soon as Woman’s Hour kicked off, the dulcet tones of well-spoken English ladies took him to the land of nod. By the time we were leaving the small town of Perth and heading onto the A90 to Dundee, Morpheus had him well and truly in his grip.
It was nearing 2pm by the time we reached Dundee: the city perched on the edge of the River Tay.
For an hour or so, I’d been at risk of falling asleep myself. The quiet traffic, hazy sunlight and gentle snores of my travelling companion were having their effect on me and I desperately needed to get some fresh air. The relative still of the countryside slowly gave way to the hum of a city centre, gently bringing Jeremiah out of his slumber. Wiping his eyes, he declared his hunger, more or less to himself and started scouring the passing streets for a place to eat.
Luckily, for him, this wasn’t my first time in Dundee and I knew just the place to take a starving Texan looking for a shot of Scottish culture.
The Beer Kitchen might well be a part of a chain, but it’s a particularly Scottish one. Owned by craft beer brewing company, Innis & Gunn, the Dundee location of the bar/restaurants is a modern take on Scottish pub culture. The decor blends traditional pub features and modern sensibilities, with a similar style applied to their exceptional food menu. As far as drink goes, the beers on offer are what the the company has made it’s money on: a selection of unique brews that couldn’t be anymore Scottish.
The company initially came to prominence when a famous whiskey manufacturer wanted to use a beer to flavour their casks. The job was done and the whiskey was made, but there were reports of an interesting by-product to the process: the beer tasted good.
Buoyed by their efforts, Innis & Gunn was formed around the concept of beers flavoured by the barrels of distillers. Within a few years, the craft beer company had taken Scotland by storm. A few years later and the beer had broken Canada, becoming the country’s most popular British beer. With the money made by their ventures at home and abroad, they invested in the bar industry, thus The Beer Kitchen was born.
Although they’d taken a fair few influences from the States for their food menu, the ingredients and style of cooking can still be considered to be very much Scottish. Scottish beef rules the menu here, much to the appreciation of my travelling partner. He’s initially puzzled by the beer, however after a couple of flights he appears to warm to it. Over piles of meat, we discuss our mutual love for good farming and well sourced food, until suddenly its 5pm and Jeremiah is starting to look a little sleepy again – apparently this beer is a little stronger than the brew he has back in the States.