The clocks go forward on Sunday … which cuts into our drinking time.
So here’s a quick look at how to make the most of it with news of foraging at Six°North, the Siren call of CASC, drinking for water at Brewdog, what’s Happening in Stonehaven and where to find brews and blues.
ODDS AND SUDS …
Foraging for flavour
Those lovely folk at Six°North have been foraging and finding new tastes for new beers again.
This time they’ve been scouring the coastline around Stonehaven for sea buckthorn, with the bright red berries now being used in an exciting sounding collab brew with Burning Sky, the South Downs-based artisan brewers.
The result, brewed earlier this week, is going to be a saison which Robert Lindsay, owner of Six°North says will be “very easy drinking”.
“As well as the sea buckthorn, we’ve also added some spices, such as green pepper and caraway. It will be a marriage of the wonderful sort of spice background notes which should marry very well with the European hops we’ve used.”
The Stonehaven-based brewery launched their popular Foraged and Found range last year, using heather, spruce and gorse all hand-picked from the wilds around the Mearns.
“This is the first in our Foraged And Found series for this year,” said Robert.
“Sea buckthorn is a berry that grows on a spiky bush, which is quite sour and acidic. It’s quite difficult to find, but we worked as a team. Our chief scout found it around the coastline of Stonehaven and it was hand-picked by the brewers.”
Robert said he thoroughly enjoyed working with Burning Sky, a brewery which, like 6DN, brews in the Belgian style
“Mark Tranter is probably one of the more exciting brewers in the UK. We’ve got to know him over the past few years because Burning Sky is one of the breweries we really respect and has helped us shape some of our direction as well.”
The sea buckthorn is the first of three Found and Foraged collabs coming up, with the ingredients and brewers yet to be announced.
Call of the Siren …
CASC have a big weekend in store, helping Berkshire-based Siren Craft Brew celebrate its fifth birthday.
The bar’s manager Craig Begg said:: “We’re really excited to be one of 11 bars in the UK chosen to celebrate Siren’s fifth anniversary party!
“We will have 11 beers in total from Siren.
“The one to watch for me is this year’s Caribbean Chocolate Cake. It is 7.4%ABV , the subtle spice and citrus notes come at you first, followed by sweet vanilla and roasty dark chocolate flavours. This blurs the line between dessert and beer!”
So you can have your cake and drink it then.
And the winner is …
There was an outstanding field of contenders for the prestigious best new brewed or distilled product at the North East Scotland Food and Drink Awards.
The brewers waiting on tenterhooks for the big reveal at a glitzy gala last night (Thursday) were Brew Toon, Fierce Beer, Windswept Brewing, Spey Valley Brewery, alongside distillers Twin River and Lost Loch.
The judges had a tough choice to make with that one, but the winner was … Lost Loch Distillery, with its Murmichan Absinthe.
Round of applause to them … and to the rest. It just underlines what a great and growing drinks industry we have in the North-east.
Tune in …
Beer and music go together like, well, beer and music.
And a couple of places will be offering that marriage made in heaven this weekend.
Six Degrees of Sound will be getting all acoustic at Six°North’s Aberdeen bar on Sunday.
Kerr Sellars, general manager of the bar, said: “We have a favourite musician of ours – Dermot O’Connor – an Irish singer/songwriter who often plays his own songs mixed with more unusual covers.”
Also on the bill will be Bryn McLernon, Harry Livingstone and David Angus. It all kicks off at 3pm.
Meanwhile, Brew Toon Brewery in Peterhead has music on tomorrow night (Saturday) in their cafe bar with rockabilly band Memphis Routes.
You can even enjoy their guest beer on tap, Heaney’s Tune, a rather tasty red ale. Tune in from 8pm.
What can be better than drinking beer? How about drinking beer while helping provide clean water for people in Malawi.
That’s the aim of Brewgooder Clean Water Lager, which provides 100% of its profits to digging wells to provide clean water.
The pils is brewed by Brewdog and their bars have a drive to sell as much of it as they can – with a leaderboard to see who’s doing best.
And at the moment Brewdog Castlegate (or Team Mwanza) is in top place.
Craig Fallenstein, general manager of Brewdog Castlegate, said: “That means we have been able to provide clean water for 459 people … so we’d really like to thank all our customers for that.”
It’s Happening again …
The Midsummer Beer Happening in Stonehaven put its tickets on sale last week … and they’ve been flying out the door.
Organiser Robert Lindsay said: “It’s good to see just how in demand the Happening is.
“We’re seeing a huge uptake on the limited edition weekend passes (when they’re gone, they’re gone).”
The Happening will offer more than 120 different beers, hand-picked from around the UK, continent and US.
It also has an al fresco food court with award-winning producers and a great musical line-up, too.
Robert said: “We’re all volunteers, it’s a not-for-profit event and we aim to put on a great festival that people will love while raising funds for good causes too.”
Last year the Happening was able to split £27,500 between a variety of charities and organisations in Stonehaven.
This week I have been mostly drinking: North Brewing Co. Imperial Stout
So spring has started, the clocks go forward on Sunday and its time to finish off those big hitting imperial stouts that saw me through the winter.
And North Brewing’s Imperial Stout is, indeed, a big hitter, checking in at 10%, while promising hazlenuts and cacao in the mix.
It’s a treacly pour and fills the glass nicely, with a black-hole-swallowing-light quality. The tan head tops it nicely, but collapses fairly quickly.
The nose is nicely mocha and sweet, which is why the sharpness of the first sip and the bitterness at the back of the mouth is a bit of surprise.
The mouth feel is pleasant. It’s a chewy glug of a beer but still comes off the tongue easily and drily
Subsequently this is a mix of tart and sweet, with some toffee notes but not a lot of hazlenut action.
The lingering aftertaste is very espresso and warming.
A nice beer to take your time over and enjoy its complexity.