Well hello … And welcome to All About The Beers, a look at what’s happening in the burgeoning craft beer scene in the North-east.
We’re blessed with some great breweries and great bars, all part of the beer revolution that has exploded in recent years.
Here you’ll find a mix of news, recommendations on beers to try out and a guide to who has what on.
ODDS AND SUDS …
Beer @ The Barn – the Banchory Beer Festival’s bijou winter event – is in full swing today (Saturday, February 17)
Over at the Barn in Banchory you’ll find a cornucopia of 15 brews on offer in this popular festival’s fourth outing,
Breweries taking part include Aberdeen’s own Fierce, with its excellent Split Shift, a yummy American IPA.
Also setting up stall is and one of Scotland’s newest craft breweries, Two Thirsty Men. Based in Grantown-on-Spey, Frazer and Colin will be offering up their Speyside IPA and their amber ale, No 74.
The festival’s operation director Mungo Finlayson said: “We have some amazing breweries on board this year. We have Magic Rock Brewing, Cloudwater – one of the world’s top breweries, Deeside are there. We have new breweries that are putting out great, wonderful beers. The beery people’s type beer.”
Mungo said he’s expecting up to 1,000 people at the event, which kicked off yesterday, and there are still plenty of tickets for today’s sessions.
There’s gin also – 12 of them – rum and prosecco, too, with tunes and food and even special buses laid on to round out the festival experience.
Check it out at banchorybeerfestival.com
Since we mentioned Fierce, it might get you asking what’s happening with plans for a Fierce Beer pub in the Granite City.
Quite a lot, actually, with the lease on the old Henry’s Bar on Exchequer Row due to be signed off any day now, the building warrant about to land and licence application in the works.
At the moment, the spot is a building site (as you can see) with everything to play for on the power, plumbing, sound, proofing, heating fronts.
It’s a power of work but look to bellying up to the bar by the end of March.
Tempest taking over
The nice folk from Borders outfit, Tempest Brewing, are heading to Aberdeen for a tap takeover at The Craftsman Company on Guild Street this Thursday (February 22).
It’s a chance to try out some of their great beers, like Long White Cloud and the rather tasty Old Fashioned Barrel Aged Marmalade, as well as meet the nice people who make it.
Tempest have a great track record for innovative brewing, so take the chance to check them out if you can.
Blue Toon Brew Toon
They’ve been flat out bottling their new M’Ango Unchained – an IPA infused with mango and passion fruit that promises to be sharp, edgy and bursting with flavour. The first batch should be available to purchase and peruse this weekend.
Not only that, on Saturday next week (February 24) Brew Toon is hosting an all day food and drink event, “Sweet Meats & Sweet Beats”. They’re opening the brewery doors to play host to Smoke & Soul, a new street food business out of Newmachar.
With beer, grub, music and the Scotland v England rugby game on a big screen, it’s going to be a great afternoon.
THIS WEEK I HAVE BEEN MOSTLY DRINKING … CHAPEAU FROM SIX°NORTH
So I was delighted when they announced the arrival of this triple hop to their Belgian-style range of beers.
It’s a beautiful beer to look at, a rich golden colour, and has a sweet nose with a hint of honey to it. The first sip reveals a big complex beer with fruit notes that give way to a lingering, pleasant bittersweet finish.
The balance is spot on and for a beer that’s checking in at 9.5% it is surprisingly mellow. It’s one to spend your time over – and at that strength treat with the respect it deserves.
Chapeau is, of course, French for hat. And 6DN deserve a tip of the hat for this one.
WHO’S GOT WHAT …
A round up of what beers you can find where this weekend and some suggestions on what to try:
The Craftsman Company
The Craftsman’s Garry Russell is recommending a Magic Rock & Basqueland collaboration called Brother Chucker.
Garry said: “Released in early February this is a big hitting fresh as they come IPA. Brother Chucker is a clean and hoppy with citrus notes in the background.
“A crowd pleasing beer that won’t disappoint. There is not much of this around so you better be quick.”
Craftsman also has on tap:
- Fallen: Chew Chew, salted caramel milk stout.
- Basqueland: Equinox, wheat ale from Spain.
- North Brewing Co: Transmission IPA
- Fierce: Very Berry, sour berry ale
- Wild Beer: Puritan NEIPA
- Burning Sky: Robust Porter
- Magic Rock: Salty Kiss, Gooseberry Gose
six°north general manager for the Aberdeen bar, Kerr Sellars, is excited about Northern Monk’s Death, a 12% imperial stout, on tap.
Kerr said: “It’s one of those super rare, beasts of a beer. It’s big, boozy, like dark chocolate, plum, raisin and oak and it’s just one of those intensely crazy beers.”
Guests on tap:
- Lindemans: Faro, lambic beer
- Van Steenberge: Celis White, witbier
- St Benardus: Prior 8, dubbel abbey ale.
- The Musketeers: Troubadour Magma, triple IPA
- The Musketeers: Troubadour Blond, Belgian blonde
- The Kerrnel: 4C IPA
- Six°north / Fierce Beer / Basqueland Brewing Project: Jigsaw #1 – Ella, black IPA
- Maule Brewing Co: Lucky IPA
- Beatnix Republic Brewing Co: Riviera Dreamer, citrusy fruit beer
- Northern Monk/ Ox Club/ Culinary Concepts: Patrons Project 10.1 Muscovado & Oak Porter
- Left Handed Giant : Reuben Picks Apricots, Berlinner Weisse style beer
- Siren: Little Legend, IPA
- Huyghe: Delirium Tremens, strong Belgian golden ale
- Verhaeghe: Duchesse de Bourgogne, Belgian sour
- Lindeman’s: Pêcheresse, peach lambic fruit beer
Kirsty Davidson, keyholder with the bar, said: “We have a lovey beer on at the moment, the Wiper & True Plum Pudding Porter. It’s sweeter than you would think, but really nice. It has a lovely balance to it. If you are looking for a porter or a stout, go for that.”
Guests on tap:
- Crooked Stave: Origins, a Burgundy stout
- Wiper & True: Plum Pudding Porter
- Voodoo: Gran Met, Belgian ale
- Voodoo: On Fleek, imperial stout
- Flying Couch: Hop Sneeze, fruit IPA
- Brewdog’s own Abstrakt 25, it’s barley wine aged in a bourbon barrel. Just launched
Tap take over for Saturday evening (February 17) with Gonzo BiggDogg Brewery out of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Craig Fallentstein, the Castlegate bar manager, said: “Just come and try some super fresh, super amazing rare American import. It’s going to be really interesting diverse beers. I’m looking forward to their double IPA, the Yummy Hoppy. As a hophead, its meant to be juicy tropical and amazing.”
The BiggDogg beers are:
- Vanilla Porter Ale: Vanilla Porter
- Dunnie the Bounder: Wee Heavy
- Yummy hoppy: DIPA
- Nature Of Evil: Imperial Stout
Casc bar manager Craig Begg is keen on a fine seasonal beer this week.
Craig said: “I’d recommend Manchester-based Cloudwater’s autumn and winter Baltic Porter. It has a soft, sweet malt on the nose with a big burst of fruity hops.”
- Cloudwater: Baltic Porter
- Black Isle: Goldfinch (Gluten Free)
- Redchurch: Turban Farmhouse
- Chorlton: Spiced Clementine Wild Sour
- Amundsen: Lush Raspberry
- Chorlton: Dirty Wild Sour
- Chorlton: Bbc Citra Double Sour
- Tiny Rebel: Dutty
- Fierce Beer: Dirty Sanchez
- Fourpure: Burns
- Chorlton: Centennial Mosaic Marinka
- Pressure Drop: Domino Topple
- Chorlton: Mosaic Wild Sour
- Fourpure: Juicebox
- Tempest: The Old Fashioned
- Chorlton: Project Brew(Will) Rye Sour
- Weihenstephan: Pils
- Amundsen: Apocalyptic Thunder Juice
- Weihenstephan: Weiss
- Cidersmiths: Jersey Cider
- Williams Brothers: Lager
- Cromarty: Brewed Awakenin
- Cromarty: Happy Chappy
- Timmermans: Strawberry
- Little Earth Project: Brett Organic Stock Ale
- Paulaner: Munich Lager (Stein)
- Williams Brothers: Black Ball Stout (Nitro)
- Siren: Afterlight (Nitro)
Westhill Service Station (Hop Shop Aberdeen)
This is an absolute mecca for beer lovers with a dizzying range on offer at their brilliant bottle (and can) shop.
Chris Proctor, their craft beer guru, has a couple of “must tries” on the go this week.
Chris said: “My favourite local beer of the moment is out of Dundee, 71 Brewing vs Dead End Brew Machine vs Gallus Brewing: East/West DIPA is a New England style DIPA. It’s packed full with citra, denali and motueka hops to create a juicy flavour bomb with a full on west coast style bitterness. It’s easily one of my new favourite Scottish DIPAs!
“My favourite worldwide beer of the moment is the Buxton vs Omnipollo: Yellow Belly, a peanut butter biscuit imperial stout with an ABV of 11%. Without a doubt the most frequently requested beer I’ve ever heard of. A.100% rating online is a rare sight, but this beer takes the top spot. A peanut butter biscuit stout brewed with no biscuits, butter or nuts. Outstanding aromas of peanuts and toffee, with flavours of smoky roasted malts, chocolate and caramel. It’s a one of a kind and only seen around this time, once a year.”
Also newly available from Westhill Service Station this week is:
- Evil Twin vs Omnipollo: Half & Half Lemonade Iced Tea IPA
- Evil Twin vs Omnipollo: Coffenade IPA
- Magic Rock vs Basqueland: Brother Chucker IPA
- Cloudwater vs Beermoth: Big Table, mid-strength table beer
- Cloudwater: Baltic Porter
- Nøgne Ø: The Craic, blackberry porter
- Nøgne Ø vs Basqueland: Where The Pepper Grows, powerful stout
- Tegernseer: Helles, a Helles lager
- Big Fish Brewing: Red 5, red ale