Welcome back to All About The Beers …
Here’s your round up of news, suggestions on beers to try and a guide to who has what on.
ODDS AND SUDS …
The contestants are …
News just in … the shortlist has been announced for the Best New Brewed or Distilled Product in the prestigious North East Food and Drink Awards for 2018
The brewing contenders are:
- Brew Toon for their Brew Toon range of Weekend Hooker, Raspberry Carronnade and Northern Sinner.
- Fierce Beer for their imperial stout, Very Big Moose.
- Windswept Brewing Co for their Lighthouse, a Kolsch style lager.
- Spey Valley Brewery with three special edition beers, Sailor Terry. Spey’s Hardware and Spey’s Hopper
Also in the running in this category are spirit makers Lost Loch Distillery with Murmichan Absinthe and Twin River Distillery wit Twin River Gin (Naked)
The finalists have been whittled down from a very healthy entry this year – which is no surprise given the great brewing and distilling going on in the North-east right now.
We’re told the judges had a tough time selecting just who should make it to the final three, as they were so impressed by the sheer quality of the drinks on offer.
Which should make it an interesting challenge for them to decide on the eventual winner. We’ll have to wait until March 22 to find out who that is.
Brewdog Castlegate is going global today (Friday, February 23) by joining in the worldwide launch of the Mr. Series from To Øl Brewery.
The Scandinavian scamps are a gypsy brewery, meaning they don’t have their own brewing facilities but work with others who have spare capacity (a case of wherever I lay my hops, that’s my home).
It’s also a chance to share knowledge and experience as well as kit.
Anyway, their latest outing in the annual Mr beers launch sees the arrival of:
- Mr Blonde, Peach Melba Gose, brewed with vanilla, peach & raspberry.
- Mr White, New England-style grisette brewed with white grapefruit and a solid amount of wheat
- Mr Pink, East Coast IPA with Beetroot
- Mr Blue, Imperial Berliner with blackberries
- Mr Orange, Sour Citra IPA
- Mr Brown, coffee stout matured with Cognac oak chips & cedar spirals.
Craig Fallenstein, general manager of Brewdog Castlegate, said: “I’m looking forward to all of them, To Øl simply don’t produce a bad beer.
“The interesting one is probably Mr Pink, the East Coast IPA with beetroot. I’ve had a few beetroot beers and natural roasted beetroot is quite sweet.”
“For me, I think I’ll be sitting on the peach melba goze,
“I’d recommend people come early, because they will go. It’s a renowned brewery.”
Kicking off your weekend with the Mr Men looks like the way ahead, then.
Good things come to …
Peterhead’s Brew Toon has beer fans playing the waiting game.
This week they’ve started barrel-ageing their fine Holy Smoke chilli and coffee stout in a previous Jack Daniels 190l barrel, ready for a limited small batch release in December.
Brew Toon head honcho Cameron Bowden explained: “We were offered the barrel to age one of our beers in and when we found out where it had previously been (Jack Daniels then a Scottish whisky distillery) we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“We reckon the natural smokiness of the barrel and the previous bourbon/whisky that was stored in it will crank Holy Smokes taste profile up to a whole new level. Expecting a strong flavoursome end beer that will be a complete one off.”
That’s Christmas presents sorted then …
Six°North are getting ready to hit some high notes this weekend.
They’ll be playing host to Six Degrees of Sound with a line-up of some of the most talented North-east musicians around.
On the acoustic front will be Margaret Finlayson, Horacio Colombo, Craig John Davidson and Innes Cardno, playing cool tunes to go with cold beer from 3pm on Sunday.
Kerr Sellars, general manager for the Aberdeen bar, said: “It’s great to showcase some of the best and the rising talent in the city’s music scene … and let’s face it, what better way is there to spend a Sunday afternoon than listening to some great tunes with a beer?”
THIS WEEK I HAVE BEEN MOSTLY DRINKING … YELLOW BELLY FROM BUXTON X OMNIPOLLO
Imperial stouts have rapidly become a thing in the craft beer world, big flavours that carry a real heft.
Of those, Yellow Belly is talked about in near reverential terms, not least because it’s not the easiest to get a hold off.
But the bottle that fell into my hands (a present from mates who had been in Edinburgh) was a chance to find out if it is worth the fuss.
The intrigues starts with the packaging, a la a white hood with eye holes. Yeah.
Get that off and the label delivers a heartwarming message decrying yellow belly racist cowards who hide behind anonymity then introduces a beer that celebrates all things “new, open-minded and progressive”.
So, does that touch of genius extend to the beer? Oh yes.
It’s a viscous pour, languidly filling the glass with a jet black brew while unleashing a heady aroma of warm biscuits.
The nose is all milk chocolate digestive with a suggestion of peanuts.
The first sip is an OMG moment, like liquid velvet that bubbles up off the tongue before delivering a warm comforting mouthful, reminiscent of Reese’s Pieces then settling into a warm glow.
Each subsequent sip opens up new flavours, like Hotel Chocolat salty caramel puddles, even a hint of smoke and liquorice.
All in all, it makes you want to settle into a leather wingback chair in front of a roaring fire with a good book.
This is an awesome beer, just remember it’s 11%, that needs to be sought out (luckily Westhill Service Station have it stocked at the moment).
WHO’S GOT WHAT …
A round up of what new beers you can find where this weekend and some suggestions on what to try
The Craftsman Company
With the Tempest Brewery tap takeover, which happened yesterday, there are still plenty of tasty Tempest beers on offer.
The Craftsman’s Garry Russell said: “Apart from Tempest I would like to focus on one of my favourite brewery’s, Beavertown. Based in London, Beavertown have been producing, consistently top quality beers for a number of the years now. The Lupiloid is an absolute cracker of an IPA coming in at a pretty strong 6.7% This was their first ever straight up IPA – just malt, yeast, water and hops. Lupiloid gives off tropical notes and hints of peach. There is a light to medium body and a light bitterness at at the end. A beer not to be missed.”
Also on tap:
- Beavertown: Neckoil, session IPA
- The Craftsman Co: Happy Pils, pilsner
- Magic Rock/Basqueland: Brother Chucker. IPA
- Tempest: Long White Cloud, APA
- Tempest: Centennial, India pale lager
- Tempest: Mango Berliner, Berliner Weisse
- Tempest: SOMA, IPA
- Tempest: The Old Fashioned, Rye IPA
- Tempest: Elemental, Porter
Kerr Sellars, general manager for the Aberdeen bar, said: “We’ve had a tap takeover with Tiny Rebel Co and are pouring some of their birthday beers, which they release every year.
“I’m particularly looking forward to the Orange Mocha Frappe Stout, which they produced in collaboration with Aberdeen’s own Fierce Brewery.”
New beers on offer at Six°North this weekend are:
- Tiny Rebel: Didgeridank, DIPA in collaboration with Siren
- Tiny Rebel: Cheeky, sour ale
- Tiny Rebel: There’s Always Honey In The Banana Stand, oat wheat
- The Kernel – Pale Ale Mosaic Hallertau Blanc Zeus, Pale Ale
- Odyssey Brew Co. – Cross the Line, APA
- Almasty – NE Mango Pale, New England style mango pale ale
- Black Isle Brewing – Systems Theory, Imperial Stout
Announcing a new craft beer hotel at Ellon isn’t BrewDog’s only new development this week. They have also released their new Native Son.
Kirsty Davidson, keyholder with the bar, is a fan of this big bold beer with its fruit notes and hop tones
She said: “It’s a west coast double IPA that came from Jason Pond, one of the brewers who is helping to run our American brewery. It is just so well balanced and clean. A lovely beer.”
Guest ales at Brewdog Gallowgate are:
- Wiper & True: Plum Pudding Porter
- Voodoo: Gran Met, a Belgian ale
- Beavertown: Gamma Ray, American pale ale
- Flying Couch: Hop Sneeze. a fruit IPA
As well as the afore-mentioned Mr series of beers from To Øl, the Castlegate venue has showcased the Rochester Mills Beer Co. out of Detroit.
Craig Fallenstein, general manager of Brewdog Castlegate, said: “We are going to try to keep both showcases going for as long as possible. We have some great beers on.”
The Rochester offerings include:
- Milkshake Stout
- Red Velvet, sweet stout
- Juice Bigalow, New England IPA
- All The Good Names Are Taken, DIPA
Bar manager Craig Begg is spoiled for choice for his pick of the week from the new beers on tap.
“It has to be the Brew By Numbers, 10/10, coffee porter imperial at 10% ABV. It’s really roasty at first with a lot of chocolate sweetness and hints sour cherries. I do love a good Imperial!
“Admittedly it was a tough choice between that and Cloudwater, a table beer at 3%. Made in collaboration with Manchester beer specialists Beermoth it’s light and earthy with some sweetness coming from the hops.”
Others new on tap this week at CASC include:
- Hofbräu: Hofbräu Original
- Fierce Beer: Peanut Riot
- Black Isle: Migrator
- Black Isle: Blonde
- Fourpure: Sunset Ridge
- Bristol Beer Factory: Milk Stout
- Tempest: Mango Berliner
- Beavertown: Gamma Ray
- Chorlton: Mosaic Wild Sour
- Tiny Rebel: Stay Puft
Westhill Service Station (Hop Shop Aberdeen)
Craft beer guru Chris Proctor has a tasty recommendation this week, Wylam’s: Macchiato (6.5%, Porter)
Chris said: “This beer is loaded with hazelnut praline and backed up with divine notes of roasted coffee. Smooth and full-bodied, this is my favourite nut beer of the moment.”
Newly available at Westhill:
- Cloudwater: IPA Simcoe Ekuanot (6.5%, IPA)
- Cloudwater vs Beermoth: Little Table (3%, Saison,)
- Cloudwater: Brown Ale (4.8%, Brown Ale)
- Cloudwater: Helles Mandarina (4.8%, Helles)
- De Molen vs Beavertown: Quirks & Quinine (8%, Saison,)
- De Molen: Rasputin (10.4%, Imperial Stout)
- De Molen: Amarillo (9.3%, DIPA)
- Tiny Rebel vs Fierce: Orange Mocha Frappe (7%, Chocolate Orange Stout)
- Tiny Rebel vs Siren: Didgeridank (8.4%, DIPA,)
- Left Handed Giant: Outer Limits American Stout (8.4%, American Stout,)
- Siren: Sheltered Spirit BA Imperial Porter (14%, BA Imperial Porter)
- Siren: Salted Caramel Shattered Dream (9.1%, Imperial Stout with Cacao Nibs)
- Burnt Mill: Ties That Bine DIPA (8.2%, DIPA)
- Oskar Blues: Ten Fidy Bourbon Barrel-Aged (12.9%, Imperial Stout)
- Verdant: Track & Field (7.2%, IPA)
- Verdant: Pulp (8%, DIPA)
- Verdant: Huddle (4%, Pale Ale)
- The Kernel: Bière De Saison Sour Cherry (5.5%, Sour)
- The Kernel vs Off Colour: Bière De Saison Honey (6.1%, Saison)
- The Kernel: Export Raspberry Stout (6.4%, Stout)
- Brew York: Imperial Tonkoko Stout (7.5%, Imperial Stout)
- Brooklyn: Black Chocolate Stout (10%, Imperial Stout)
JK Fine Foods
This fine shop has more than 150 beers from around the world to choose from.
Pete Mackay, who selects their craft beers, said: “Right now Norwegian brewery Amundsen are producing some exceptional beers. Lorita, is an American Pale Ale loaded with passionfruit, is an absolute stunner and will go down a treat at a barbecue once the season comes round.
“Also Hop Magic and Apocalyptic Thunder Juice, both New England IPAs, are brilliant examples of the style. Huge exotic tropical fruit flavours with very little bitterness, effortlessly quffable.”