On the Ordnance Survey Six Inch map series, what is now known as Capernaum Pier is simply called Pier forming the basin of Bruce Haven. The Brucehaven Brewery above is no more, the area now covered in houses.
It’s not clear when the brewery closed. It was advertised To Let in the Aberdeen Chronicle in 1826 as a going concern with eight working tuns and the “good will of the present extensive business established in Edinburgh, Leith, Glasgow, Stirling and also Perth Aberdeen and other towns in the North”.
The map above was surveyed in 1854 and while it doesn’t suggest that the brewery was closed, a case reported in the The Scottish Jurist, in which Lord Elgin seeks repossession of an inn and bakehouse let to a William Beveridge, suggests that it was closed by 1831.
Following Beveridge’s sudden death in 1828, the inn was sublet by his widow. The inn had a local monopoly of trade in spirits, malt liquors and bread and was tied to the Brucehaven Brewery, from which Beveridge was “bound to take his malt liquors”. A Dunfermline brewer, Auld, who sublet the inn, subsequently sublet it to a Dunfermline builder in 1831, with the condition that the builder, Walls, should “purchase from Auld the whole ale and beer used in the premises, so long as Brucehaven brewery should remain empty”. This suggests that the brewery was closed some time after being offered to rent in 1826 and before the sublet of the inn in 1831.
Brucehaven was in the news 10 years later, in 1864, when the mallster, George Ainsley, was fined £150 (around £17,000 today) for cheating the tax man. But the record of the court case doesn’t actually refer to the brewery, only the maltings so it might be that while the malt house was rented in 1826, the brewer was not. By 1880, the Dunfermline Journal, in its Historical Notes of Limekilns and Charlestown, writes that “…there was an extensive brewery and malt barn. The first has long been discontinued, and only at the latter, are reduced operations now continued”.
The next set of maps, surveyed in 1895, the site of the brewery was marked as disused and the pier now has its current name – Capernaum Pier.
By 1929, the publication Limekilns and Passagium Regimae refers to “the ruins of a large brewery, formerly famous for its Elgin Ales”.
Capernaum Black is a hybrid of the hoppy American style IPA, with a small amount wheat (5% of the grain bill) and another 5% from chocolate malt, giving a light roasted taste after the initial bitterness of the hops has passed. The hops are magnum, which gives most of the bittering over the 60 minute boil, with equal amounts of Galaxy at 15 minutes and one minute providing the remainder. Some Styrian Goldings at the end and as a dry hop for seven days before bottling, ensures there is plenty of aroma. The stout flavours really come through if the beer is served around room temperature rather than very cold from the fridge.