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 🍻
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:
At this years #PunkAGM2017, one of my favourite beers of the day was Brewdog's own Vermont style IPA. So when I received an email following the AGM asking if I wanted to retain my shareholding, and in doing so I would be rewarded with a 6-pack of their new Vermont style IPA - it was a no brainier.
The beer in question is Hazy Jane - a 7.2% ABV New England IPA. This has fast become my favourite style of beer, so I was extremely excited to get these cracked open. Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"Hazy Jane is a Vermont style IPA, with low background bitterness, loaded with intense juicy fruit character. Pineapple, stonefruit, mango, light resin and hints of lime peel – this juicy IPA is full-bodied and smooth, enhancing the soft ripe fruit flavours. Unfiltered and only available in cans from our online shop and BrewDog bars!"
Everything about this beer sounds great so far - I think we're onto a winner.
Opening the can, you are instantly hit with a fruit explosion; pineapple & mango are backed up by the slightest hint of citrus from the lime. There is almost a sort of cereal smell about it too - the oats being the likely culprit.
It pours a golden hazy yellow, with a small head that disperses quickly. The fruit really shines through again on taste - with pineapple and mango at the forefront, backed by some slight sourness from the lime. Hazy Jane is extremely easy on the mouth, with little to no sign of the alcohol or any bitterness - perfect summer drinking.
Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It hasn't quite hit the heights of the version from #PunkAGM2017 or the collaboration with Cloudwater, but it is still a great beer to drink and I look forward to working my way through them. The added touch of giving them to Equity Punks first for keeping their shareholding was an extremely nice one, and certainly hope that this beer becomes a seasonal staple of Brewdog.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
I normally get excited when Brewdog release a new small batch beer. More often than not they tend to be something different, and come with can art that rivals Beavertown. Step forward Pump Action Poet, their second small batch release of the year which is a 7.5% ABV Stonefruit IPA.
Here's what Brewdog have to say about this one:
"Pump Action Poet is loaded with stonefruit and tropical flavour – aromas of juicy peach, apricot and nectarine, pineapple and mango - all piled on biscuity malt. Hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe and brewed with added wheat and oats, this super smooth IPA has a balanced bitterness and a full-bodied mellow malt base. The addition of peach and apricot enhances the flavours of stonefruit naturally present in some of our favourite US hops, and adds a subtle tart edge to offset the intense juicy fruit character.
The second small-batch can release of 2017 is a locked-and-loaded salvo of flavour for the summer."
Sounds like a perfect beer for this glorious summer weather we are having...
Now this is seriously some of the coolest can art that I have ever seen. Artist Tracie Ching has done an awesome job here. I'd love to see Brewdog release this one as a tee.
It pours a golden yellow, leaving a big foamy off-white head. The aroma is very sweet with big juicy citrus fruits, backed by some nice piney hops. The sweetness continues on taste, with little to no bitterness present. Extremely drinkable - you wouldn't think of this as being 7.5% ABV. This beer hugely reminded me of another Brewdog beer; Elvis Juice, however the bitterness of the grapefruit has been replaced with a lovely sweetness from the apricot & peach. It is extremely easy to drink and very refreshing on a hot day.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Craft beer...in a petrol station?! It might sound crazy to some people. But not if you live in Westhill, or more recently; Peterhead.
Gary Haigh, retailer at Peterhead Motors has recently started to build the craft beer scene in the recently re-branded Keystore More at the garage. Fitting out the shop with a new 1.3m fridge, he has started stocking some of the biggest names in UK craft beer such as:
Not bad if you ask me...You can pick up some pretty good beers from that selection of breweries! And if you're just getting into craft beer & looking to try something new, then you can't go wrong with the likes of Beavertown, Northern Monk & Magic Rock.
Gary has big plans for craft beer at the garage, and plans to keep expanding on his current stock. With the help of Brewdog, he is also mid way through the Cicerone Certification Program. This is fantastic as he will be able to offer advice and tasting notes on the beer - perfect if you are new to craft beer or looking for something new to try (you don't get that kind of service in the supermarket!). There are also future plans to launch a craft beer club at some point.
To mark the recent re-branding of the store - there will be an open day on Friday 2nd June. Brewdog will be on site holding a tasting session, of not just Brewdog beers but various other beers that you can find in the store. There will also be some beers from Brew Toon Brewery available to sample. Gary will be having giveaways and prize draws throughout the day. Everything is scheduled to kick off around 10am, and run until about 5pm, with Brewdog being there from 12.30pm.
The adjacent coffee shop also offers a range of hot food and drinks for breakfast and lunch; ranging from breakfast rolls, soups, burgers, chips, pizzas, curries, pies & pastas to name but a few. They change their specials every week and post these on their Facebook page. You can phone up to pre-order your food beforehand, or take away (along with your craft beer carry out of course). The coffee shop is open between 6.30am-2pm.
It's exciting to see places like this taking such an interest in the craft beer market - this will be great for the local beer lovers, and anyone who wants to get into craft beer. Westhill Service Station has played a huge part in my beer influences, and I really think that this will have the same effect for some in Peterhead.
So next time you fancy picking up some beers in Peterhead, don't go to Tesco - pop in by Keystore More at Peterhead Motors instead and check out their excellent selection; many of which you wont find in the supermarkets.
You can keep upto date with the latest from Peterhead Motoros on their Facebook page, so go ahead and give them a like & share.
Craft Beer Comes To The Blue Toon
It seems we have new craft brewery in the North East...craft beer has arrived in the Blue Toon!
Brew Toon Brewery are a micro brewery based in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. Formed earlier this year, they have spent some time kitting out their HQ with brewing equipment and brewing their first batch of beers.
They will also be opening a café bar; scheduled for this month, that will serve cakes, speciality coffees and locally sourced deli food.
They currently have 3 beers listed on their website:
Loose Cannon - Indiana Pale Ale (4.6% ABV):
"Our American IPA is fully loaded with a juggernaut of hops that will send earthquakes crashing through your taste buds. Its strong floral and herbal aromas and sharp grapefruit notes are well balanced by its rich malt base. Its finish is edgy and uncompromising and leaves for an expressive, almost spicy palate...
This IPA is a loose cannon!"
Raspberry Cannonade - Raspberry Cream Ale (5.0% ABV):
"Our Raspberry Cream Ale is jam-packed with locally sourced Scottish Raspberries, combined with a sweet malt base making for a smooth, creamy finish. When you first open the bottle there is an explosion of raspberry aroma...and the blend of citrus hops paired with the raspberries creates an intense palate that really pushes your tart tolerance to the brink!"
Weekend Hooker - Lager (5.0% ABV):
"Get hooked on our new craft lager! Reinvented with a bold variety of malts and left to condition until the optimum moment to ensure a smooth head with a soft, refreshing finish. Earthy in aroma, expect a full bodied malt character, with citrusy undertones and an assured bitter finish."
It's great to see new breweries popping up in Aberdeenshire and hopefully Brew Toon Brewing can follow the trend of producing quality beer.
I'm definitely looking forward to trying out these beers; especially the IPA & the raspberry cream ale. Hopefully Westhill Service Station will get their hands on some 🍻
Westhill Service Station
If you're local to Westhill, or if Westhill Service Station is your local beer wonder emporium then you may, or may not be aware about their craft beer newsletter.
This is the official blurb from Chris, who works at the service station:
"The newsletter will be sent out to selected customers that would like to be the first to hear what’s new in stock each week. Detailed info on each new beer will be provided, along with options to reserve as much stock as you wish, for store collection at anytime that suits. Prices of each item will also be listed, and there’ll be a brief word on craft competitions, upcoming tasting events and a weekly review on what’s selling the best, including what’s close to selling out. There will be links to read how each beer is going down by others around the world through Rate Beer, and there’ll be links to fire us any requests that will automatically get saved for me to try hunt down! Finally, I’ll be including an up-to-date stocklist of everything craft currently in-store that week…so you can plan out your craft purchases to your hearts content! "
It's definitely worth signing up to the newsletter. Every week so far it has been jam packed with great beers, and the opportunity to reserve some of the limited stock beers from guys like Beavertown & Cloudwater is a great touch. The reservation system works great, I've used it a couple of times so far to bag some excellent beers, Cloudwater DIPA v12 being one of them, and more recently the super rare collaboration between Brewdog & Beavertown - Coffee & Cigarettes.
Even if you don't use the newsletter to reserve beers, it's still a good way to keep up with the latest releases and learn a little about them.
You can sign up to the newsletter by visiting the link below 🍻
New from Brewdog, Self Assembly Pope is a 7.4% ABV coconut/vanilla infused porter.
Described by Brewdog as a Myriad hedonistic aromas of cocoa powder, vanilla bean, coconut, and bitter chocolate, with hints of roasty black coffee and dark fruit, followed by a smooth, velvety mouthfeel and a rich, bittersweet finish.
Combining vanilla, coconut & chocolate with a selection of malts and Galena hops is bount to procude interesting results, and something I was eager to try.
Cracking the can and pouring into a glass, the beer is near jet black with a bubbly beige head. Sweet coffee and coconut aromas are instantly present and it's these two flavours that battle it out to be the strongest on taste. There's a backbone of sweetness from the chocolate and vanilla this gives an overall impression of a drinking liquid bounty! Everything in this beer comes together nicely to give an excellent porter.
Brewdog are continuing their trend of procucing some awesome artwork for their small batch beers here, with Self Assembly Pope being no exception - it looks seriously cool!
You can purchase Self Assembly Pope through Brewdogs online shop:
Overall, a very tasty porter with strong, interesting flavours. 4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.