Blog: All About The Beers – your guide to what’s happening in the North-east craft beer scene

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We’re in for a tasty weekend… top brewers – and beer fans – are flocking to Taste Of Grampian,  there’s a Magic takeover at CASC, the Midsummer Beer Happening folk are doing good things and a wee Stonehaven brewer is full steam ahead for luxury. Enjoy
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Odds And Suds

Tasty Saturday …

The excellent Taste of Grampian food and drink festival swings into action tomorrow (Saturday) – and the north-east’s finest brewers are right at the heart of it.

The Brewfest marquee  of ToG includes a BrewDog masterclass with Martin Dickie, the brewery’s co-founder, and a craft beer masterclass hosted by Peter Sim.

Exhibitors showcasing their art at the marquee will include: Six˚North; Fierce Beer; Brew Toon; Windswept Brewing Co; Deeside Brewery, while BrewDog will have their mobile big truck bar, Norris, along.

Carol Fowler, from organisers Prime Event Management, said: “The BrewDog event really is a rare opportunity to have a masterclass from Martin Dickie.”

Martin will be joined by BrewDog’s master of quality Dr Fraser Gormley for the event.

Carol said: “They will be highlighting new beers that aren’t readily available yet.”

A separate masterclass, hosted by connoisseur Peter Sim with individual brewers will look at offerings from Deeside Brewery (their APA and Stout) and Lerwick Brewery (Azure and Blindside).

Carol said: “If you are a beer fan in the North-east, there really is only one place to be on Saturday.”

Who’s Got What? We take a look at what Aberdeen’s craft beer bars have on tap

It’s a kind of magic …

CASC are gearing up for a big weekend of IPA mayhem.

From 6pm today (Friday) their Magic Rock mini tap takeover kicks off.

Bar general manager Craig Begg said: “We’ll be pouring Cannonball 7.4% IPA, Human Cannonball 9.2% DIPA, Un Human Cannonball 11% Triple IPA, Neo Human cannonball 9.2% NE IPA and The Fabulist 6.2% IPA.

“The new range will also be available in cans to sit in or takeaway.

“Magic Rock never disappoint with a pale or an IPA and I can tell you that this year’s release of the Human and Un Human Cannonball are no exceptions!”

Magic.

Cheque it out …

The Midsummer Beer Happening folk in Stonehaven had some visitors this week … Guide Dog puppies Chad and Beryl.

They popped along, with volunteers from the Stonehaven branch of Guide Dogs, for the formal handover of a whopping £10,000 donation to the charity.

Robert Lindsay, organiser of the Happening, said: “Last year visitors to the Happening helped us raise £27,500 for local charities, with £8,800 able to go to Guide Dogs.”

That was generously topped up with £1,000 from a legacy fund left by Robert’s mum, Mary, who was registered blind, and a £200 contribution from Stonehaven Lions took the total donation to £10,000.

Robert said: “My mother didn’t have a guide dog, but she knew how important they are. She was always instrumental in helping at the beer festival, too, so this felt like a fitting tribute to her.”

The grand total has allowed the Happening to sponsor and name a Guide Dog puppy – and visitors to last year’s Happening voted on the name Summer.

Robert said: “It’s great to be able to do something that will make such a huge difference in someone’s life. We are all looking forward to meeting Summer when she arrives for a visit sometime in the future.”

The three-day Happening is gearing up to kick off again from June 28 to 30 and once again it will be supporting local charities – which will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Beer Of The Week: Stone IPA

Full steam ahead

The Royal Scotsman train is a byword for luxury and discerning taste.

So discerning, in fact, the well-heeled travellers are savouring a fine Red 5 beer from Stonehaven’s wee Big Fish Brewery as they take in Scotland’s glorious scenery.

How did  brewer Fred Stockton – who still has a day job as a project manager in the oil industry – manage to join such illustrious company? Here’s how.

“I have a wholesaler in Dundee who was asked to supply beer to The Royal Scotsman and they specifically asked for a well-know, larger brewery’s beer. The wholesaler said he would get in touch with them, but there was no answer.

“So instead he said ‘I have this brand new stuff, off the shelf that no one else has got, would you like to try that?’

“They took a case and after the train went up the tracks and back down they said ‘give us another six cases’.

“It was literally being in the right place at the right time when another brewer wasn’t answering the phone.”

Fred has been brewing since 2002 and still uses the kit in his garage at his Stonehaven home to hone and perfect his beer before his gypsy brewer instinct kicks in and he finds spare capacity in a large-scale brewery for his products.

“All my concepts are in the garage and when I’m happy with them  – and when my happy band of critics who get beer for free all agree that’s one that should go forward then I go to a bigger brewery and go for it.”

“I’m using a brewery in Cornwall at the moment and that was partly because the water profile was so similar to Stoney, there would be less tweaks required.”

So any dream of not having a day time job?

“Always”

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