Pineapple beer is something I've not experienced much of, in fact I've only ever had one; Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin whilst in New York. So when Westhill Service Station dropped a bunch of Amundsen beers last week, there was one in particular that caught my eye; Pineapple Oceans.
Pineapple Oceans is a 6.6% ABV West Coast Pineapple IPA, that according to Amundsen is best paired with a handlebar mustache and a Hawaiian shirt. Hard to argue with that.
My only previous experience of Amundsen was with the excellent Apocalyptic Thunder Juice, so I had high hopes for this beer.
As soon as I opened this beer I could smell pineapple. A little spurted on my hand as I cracked the can, so I tasted it; pineapple!
It pours a slightly cloudy deep copper/amber colour, leaving a medium sized long lasting beige head. The pineapple aromas are in your face the whole way as you pour it into the glass, backed by some super fresh pine.
The taste is much the same as the aroma; huge juicy sweet pineapple fills your mouth before giving way to some bitter, hoppy goodness. It has an extremely thick mouthfeel, with a slight oily texture; all made extremely drinkable by the awesome flavours.
Also let's not ignore the awesome can art on display here - it looks seriously cool! And it seems to be a running theme with all their canned beers; they are instantly recognizable.
I loved this beer. I want to drink more of it. It is so jam packed full of flavour, I think almost anyone would enjoy it. I for one will be trying to get my hands on more of not only this beer, but also many more pineapple beers.
I've got another review from Amundsen coming later this week - so keep an eye out for that.
4.75 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Blood, Sweat & Beer
It's been a while since I reviewed a beer movie. Crafting a Nation was great, and definitely worth watching. Next up is Blood, Sweat & Beer.
Blood, Sweat & Beer is a documentary movie, written and directed by Chip Hiden and Alexis Irvin, that focuses on the growth of two new American craft breweries; Backshore Brewing (Shorebilly Brewing) & The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company. It also sheds light on the explosive growth of the craft beer industry as a whole across the US, and the many challenges faced by new start-up breweries.
Check out the trailer below, as well as my thoughts on the film:
At the beginning of the movie, Backshore, named Shorebilly Brewing at this point, are already a semi established brewery on the Ocean City, Maryland boardwalk. The Brew Gentleman however, are yet to open their doors in Braddock, Pennsylvania.
Backshore, already being established are more focused on the day to day struggle of running the brewery & trying to expand in to the bigger market. There is also a very ugly lawsuit hanging over the brewery that has the potential to shut the business down, with another company having using trademarked the Shorebilly name for use on t-shirts.
The Brew Gentleman's story is more focused on them trying to the doors open and the struggle they face. Alongside that, we get the story of their background and how they got to where they are today.
Despite the contrast between the two breweries the one thing that is present between them both is their passion for the industry, and their passion for creating exciting, great tasting beer. The contrasting locations work wonders for the cinematography of the film; Ocean City being a picturesque seaside town & Braddock, more of a run down, working class steel mill town that is starting to get back on its feet.
The film makers also check in with more established breweries like Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Oskar Blues, Rogue & many more. These guys help give a picture of what the smaller breweries have in store for them on the road ahead, and how they fell about the future of the craft industry.
The other point the movie highlights is how threatened by the craft industry that giant brewing companies such as Ab InBev (Anheuser-Bush InBev) & The Miller Brewing Company are, and all the tricks they will try to squeeze the independent breweries out of the market. It is shocking to see.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Blood, Sweat & Beer. If you have any kind of interest in craft beer, whether it be a passing interest, or you are an enthusiast - I highly recommend that you check this one out.
You can find out more about Blood, Sweat & Beer by visiting the link below, where the movie is also available to stream.
4.5 out of 5 hops from this beer lover 🍻
Big Fish Brewing
Aberdeen is pretty spoilt when it comes to local breweries. With Brewdog, Fierce, 7 Brewing, and more recently; Brew Toon Brewery, we have a lot of quality beer to chose from. So naturally, when a new brewery comes along - they have a lot of expectation to live up to.
Step forward Big Fish Brewing, from Stonehaven. I was recently given a couple of bottles of their Long 14 to try. Long 14 is a 5.2% ABV citrus sweet blonde IPA.
Here's what Big Fish Brewing have to say about it:
"They say the legend started in a garage...and that's only a legend. In a sea of craft beers you can always find a 'big fish'.
Long 14 is a homage to a glorious union, created on a special day."
Long 14 pours a slightly hazy gold with a medium foamy white head and medium carbonation. Aromas are fresh, citrusy lemon, grapefruit backed by malts and some hoppy bitterness. The citrus flavours show up again on taste and are very refreshing. There's a slight bitterness to it from the hops, and it is all rounded off with slight malt like biscuit taste. You really get the mashup of the blonde/IPA styles - they work really well together and it's very refreshing.
Overall, I enjoyed this beer a lot. It was a great mix between a blonde and a citrusy IPA that was extremely drinkable. Having a look on their Facebook page it looks like they have a lot of great beers in the pipeline including a DIPA - so I think it's fair to say that Big Fish Brewing are one to keep an eye on.
3.5/5 hops from me 🍻
Fun In The Sun! (with a splash of rain)
This weekend past saw the first Sessions Craft Beer & Gin fesivlal take place at Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen. Over the course of Friday night and Saturday afternoon, into the early hours of Sunday morning hundreds of festival goers got to sample some of the best craft beer, gin and street food that Scotland has to offer – along with some excellent live music.
We went along for the Saturday session, and thankfully it managed to stay dry for the most part.
Many apologies for my lack of photos – my phone died very early on!
The selection of beers on offer was great, with the tap list changing every time one ran out. The highlights for me were New England IPA by Brewdog & Highwire by Magic Rock. The gin bar was excellent too and the tiki bar served up some epic cocktails (I'm looking at you Pina Colada!)
Particular musical highlights included indie lads The Capollos & energetic rockers The Ruckus. Grilled cheese gods Melt were on hand too with their ultimate festival food.
We had a fantastic day at Sessions. The combination of quality drinks, great food and some highly entertaining live music made for a awesome atmosphere. They say they are already planning for next year, so I look forward to see how they can improve on an already excellent addition to Aberdeen's festival scene.
Be sure to keep up to date on their plans for next year by keeping an eye on their website and social media pages:
Until next year 🍻
The Growler Strikes Back
growler: a pail or can formerly used to carry out beer bought at a saloon, etc.
My local hop temple, my beer palace, procurers of the finest beer; Westhill Service Station, has just had a refit.
After a recent review of their licensing, and the go ahead from the owners; the shop will now house a growler filling station. This will consist of two 30 litre kegs that will allow you to fill your growler will the freshest beer!
Also as part of the recent refit, the craft beer section of the store has been totally overhauled with new fridges and shelving in place to house their ever expanding selection of the finest craft beers. The amount of refrigerated beers available in store now is absolutely incredible! There has also been a new coffee station installed in store. Take a look for yourself at the pictures (which Chris from WSS kindly sent me) below, and I think you will agree that it looks amazing.
The plan for the growler station is that they will try to get their hands on kegs of some of the hottest beers at the time, or if they take in a limited stock of cans/bottles of a certain beer, then they may try to supplement this with kegs. I'm really excited about this, as it is a fantastic way to experience great beer at its freshest - I can't wait to see what they bring in first. Also, if you don't already have your own growler, then they will have a range of them available in store.
The guys are hoping to start pouring beer next week, so be sure you are signed up to their Craft Beer Newsletter so you can find out which beer their pouring first, as well as keeping up to date with their latest stock and make reservations.
This is a HUGE step up for the guys at WSS. One that sets them apart from almost every other bottle shop in Aberdeen, except maybe Brewdog Castlegate. For a city that has such a great craft beer scene, that is a fantastic achievement, and one they can be extremely proud of 🍻
Siren Craft Brew
Siren Craft Brew are a brewery that I've seen a lot of, but never had much experience with. A few weeks ago I tried their excellent sour IPA; Pompelmocello and I have more recently managed to get my hands on Comfortable Silence; a glorious sounding Fruit Smoothie IPA, coming in at 6% ABV.
Here's what Siren have to say about it:
"Welcome to the next scene in our fruit smoothie movie! Comfortable Silence is the follow-up to Ten Dollar Shake, and we’ve upped the lactose for an even smoother, even thicker body than before. We’re topping it off with peaches, apricots and sweet cherries for good measure."
I have heard nothing but good things about Siren, and have had a great experience with them so far myself, so I have high hopes for this beer.
Cracking open this bottle, you are greeted with wonderful fruity aromas; tropical fruits mixed with sweet cherries and soft peach – great start! It pours a murky orange leaving a small foamy head. Again, as per New England IPA v2, this beer has quite a lot of sediment in it – so this may not be to your liking. However, I am again unsure if this was just purely my bottle.
The flavours in the beer are fantastic; instantly you are met with glorious sweet cherries & peaches, backed by some citrus orange. There is a slight amount of bitterness at the end rounding it all off, which complements the sweetness perfectly. It has an incredibly thick mouthfeel – which does actually give the impression of a fruit smoothie!
I really enjoyed this beer, and I can’t recommend it enough. This has really opened my eyes to what Siren can do, and I will definitely be looking forward to trying more from them in the future.
4.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Brewdog x Cloudwater
New England IPA by Brewdog & Cloudwater is arguably in my top 5 beers of all time. It was so good. It was up there with the best that Cloudwater have to offer; v12, v13 & NW DIPA Citra. So it’s safe to say I was rather happy when I heard that V2 was on its way.
New England IPA v2 is 8.5% ABV New England Style IPA. Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"A second team up with Cloudwater sees us brewing an 8.5% ABV New England IPA, hopped with a blend of hops known for their citrus, tropical and berry characteristics. Spicy, zesty and piney aromas give way to an effervescent, tropical IPA, backed up with a hints of clove and pepper. Hopped in the whirlpool with Mosaic hops, and dry-hopped with Citra, Mandarina Bavaria and more Mosaic."
If this beer is half as good as the original it would still be a great beer. However, I suspect it may just be as good, or even better...
When you open this beer, you'll instantly notice the BIG juicy flavours that we're used to with this style of beer; pineapple, mango & orange are complimented with a huge amount of pine. It pours a hazy amber with a thin white head.
The flavours here are excellent. Those juicy fruit flavours are at the forefront of it all backed by loads of piney bitterness. You also get that slight hint of spice at the end, coming from the cloves. This is such a great beer to drink, and the 660ml bottle ensures it's an extremely boozy drink!
Now this is one HAZY beer and it has A LOT of sediment. I'm
not sure if it was just my bottle, or that is how it was meant to be, but there was a lot of it. It didn't bother me, but if you don't like sediment in your beer, then this one might not be for you.
This beer is AWESOME. You simply have to try it while you still can. It will be interesting to see if Brewdog & Cloudwater continue this collaboration in a similar vein to Cloudwater's DIPA series. Overall I loved this beer, but I think the original just scrapes it for me; that was almost the perfect beer.
4.75 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Evil Twin Brewing x Omnipollo
We all love a nice ice cold shandy on a refreshing day right? So when I seen that Evil Twin Brewing & Omnipollo had come together to brew an Old Fashioned Lemonade IPA, I was extremely interested in trying it out.
Old Fashioned Lemonade is a 7% ABV IPA that has been brewed for Evil Twin by Dorchester (home of Marky Mark!) Brewing Company in Boston, Massachusetts.
"A refreshing drink often associated with childhood nostalgia to others a pop-cultural symbol of emancipatiion. Whatever the association Evil Twin teamed up with Omnipollo to squeeze out a tasty, tempting and deceivingly well balanced IPA with sweet and sour notes of old-fashioned memories. Perhaps you can taste the dishonesty, it's all over your breath - it's Lemonade."
When brewing giants come together, it usually produces good results, lets see what happened here...
Cracking open this can and it is just lemons galore; the sweet citrus aromas fill your nose as you pour it into a glass. It pours a bright golden yellow with a foamy white head, with a surprising amount of murkiness to it.
This beer tastes exactly as you would expect it to - like lemonade. There is really no other way to describe it. From the first sip you get that instant sourness of the lemons coupled with a decent amount of sweetness. There's a slight hoppy/bitter backbone to it all that reminds you that you are in fact drinking a beer, and not a can of lemonade.
The overall result is that this is literally the perfect summers day beer. It's so light, smooth, refreshing and the ABV is almost non existent that you could easily smash your way through a few of these. However, it didn't stand out enough from me and was too similar to other fruit beers I've had in the past. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I did, it was just missing something that could have took it to the next level.
3.75 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
How can you still count yourself a knight, when you have forsaken every vow you ever swore? - Catelyn Stark, A Clash of Kings
I've been waiting for the return of the epic TV show, Game of Thrones to crack this one open. Bearing the same name as one of the the show's titular characters; Jamie Lannister, Kingslayer is a 8% ABV New England style DIPA.
Buxton are usually purveyors of the highest quality of beer - so a New England style DIPA from them can only be a good thing...
Popping open the bottle (complete with dragon!) you are greeted with sweet, tropical fruity aromas with a backbone of pine. It pours a golden amber, with a thin white head and little to no carbonation.
Those smooth, sweet tropical flavours show themselves again on taste; pineapple, mango & grapefruit are combined with some slight piney bitterness that gives this beer the all familiar awesome taste that we are so used to with a New England style IPA. This is such a smooth and sweet beer, it is incredibly easy to drink and the 8% ABV is well hidden by the fruit flavours.
Overall this was an extremely enjoyable beer - one that is certainly worthy of a king.
4 out of 5 hops from me. Valar Morghulis 🍻
Aberdeen's newest beer festival
We all love a good beer festival right? Well it just so happens that there's a brand spanking new one coming to Aberdeen later this year.
Sessions Festival is a product of the team behind Dusk Bar and will take place on the 4th & 5th August at Hazlehead Park. The two day festival will feature craft beers, spirits, street food and live music.
The full lineup has yet to be announced and will be revealed over the coming weeks, but the following names have already signed up:
The event will be held over three sessions; Friday evening, Saturday afternoon & Saturday evening. Tickets for each session cost £20 per person, and can be purchased through Eventbrite. VIP packages are also available for corporate guests. The event itself will run on a token system rather than a cash bar, which should hopefully sped up bar queues.
Tickets are already selling fast, so be sure to get your hands on some before they are gone!
Find out more on the Sessions Festival website, or keep up to date by following their social media channels:
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.