Brewdog make some fantastic seasonal beer - Hop Fiction, Candy Kaiser & Arcade Nation to name a few. Yesterday they released their last seasonal beer for 2017; Slot Machine, a 5.2% ABV Red Rye IPA.
Designed to bridge the gap between summer beers and winter stouts, Slot Machine is laced with a warming spice that is perfect for drinking as the dark nights draw in. I must give a shout-out to Westhill Service Station for having their shelves & fridges packed with this the exact moment it launched in the bars.
Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"Slot Machine is 5.2% ABV and packs a bitterness of 55 IBU from being kettle hopped with Magnum, but also a hit of citrus from Amarillo in the whirlpool and dry-hop. We have also added a third wave; the herbal spice from German hop Callista bringing a nobility to the proceedings. Added with the Amarillo, this new hop (it was first released in 2016) also gives a berry fruit and gooseberry character, so Slot Machine has a series of interlinked hop flavours to unravel!
The beer was also brewed with Pale, Carafa and Crystal malt to give notes of caramel, toffee and bread crust as a baseline, and then layered in we added a generous addition of rye. We love brewing with this ingredient, despite the potential it has to make brewers think twice. In Slot Machine it adds a depth of spice to go with the hops and balance out the caramel from the Crystal malt. In short, as any brewer will tell you, rye holds everything together."
Have Brewdog hit the jackpot with this one? Lets find out...
Slot Machine pours a dark deep red - but not quite brown, leaving a foamy beige head. The aromas are great - the spice of the rye pierces through to the forefront, backed by malts and sweet toffee. The spice is ever present on taste too, but works great with the bread, malts and the slight sweetness of the toffee. There's a touch ot bitterness from the hops showing at the end too, which rounds everything off nicely. The alcohol is well hidden by the flavours, making it extremely drinkable.
Overall, Slot Machine was a very enjoyable beer with interesting flavours - the ever present spice from the rye making the difference for me. Brewdog can be happy that they have rounded off their seasonals for the year with a winner.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Big Fish Brewing
I've already had a pleasant experience with Big Fish Brewing & their Long 14 Blonde IPA. So when I had the chance to sample their porter; 12 Fathoms, I was extremely keen. Porter isn't my usual go to style of beer, but they offer such deep interesting flavours, it is great to indulge in them now and again - Self Assembly Pope & Dirty Sanchez being prime examples.
12 Fathoms is a 9.9% ABV Imperial Porter & I was able to try 3 different versions of it - one that was only weeks old, one from March this year, and one from March last year. I was really looking forward to see how the flavours developed across the 3 different bottles.
12 Fathoms pours a dark coffee brown, leaving a thin beige head that disperses slowly. Consistent across the 3 beers were lovely aromas of deep coffee & chocolate and brown sugar.
The flavours were pretty consistent with the aromas; a mixture chocolate & coffee (although not too intense) with a slight hint of forest fruits giving the whole thing a bit of black forest gateaux about it! The addition of oats in the 3rd version (the youngest) give this beer a lovely velvety body, making it as smooth as silk - and making it the best of the 3 in my opinion. I think the ABV was well hidden by the lovely flavours which is extremely dangerous for a beer that is 9.9% ABV!
Things are looking great for Big Fish Brewing - that's 2 out of 2 very good beers I've had from them now and I can't wait to see what comes next .
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
When it comes to small batch releases, anything by Brewdog is usually worth getting excited about. The beer is usually something a bit different and the can art is usually insane; Pump Action Poet, Self Assembly Pope & Neon Overlord are all perfect examples of this.
Nine to Five Wizard is their latest small batch release - a 7.5% AVB Weissbier that was launched a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to try it on draft on the day and found it extremely enjoyable.
Here's the official blurb from Brewdog:
"Nine to Five Wizard majors in the classic German Weissbier aromas of banana and clove, layered with New World hop notes of orange, mango, pine and grapefruit. The combination of the Magnum, Cascade, Mandarina Bavaria and Ariana hops give a rising and refreshing citrus complement to the smooth mouthfeel from the wheat and the fruity esters of the Bavarian yeast. Listen to your inner 9-5 wizard and you’ll do very well indeed."
Sounds like a winner to me.
Nine to Five Wizard pours a deep amber with a long lasting, medium foamy beige head. Aromas are initially musty, with some spice from the cloves and the combination of cereals, yeast and banana giving off a banana bread like smell.
These flavours combine again on taste; spicy clove & sweet banana brought together with by cereal grains - lovely. There's little to no bitterness, little carbonation and the finish is full bodied and sweet.
This is a great beer that is bursting full of flavour and I highly recommend you try to get your hands on some whilst it's available.
4.25 out of 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 🍻
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 🍻
Drygate are a brewery that I've seen and heard so much about - I just haven't drank a lot of their beer.
Enter Crossing The Rubicon - A 6.9% ABV IPA that is described by Drygate as; “Pale golden Weegie-West Coast IPA. Tropical fruit, citrus & honey combine with a cutting, bitter finish.”
Sounds good, right?
Seriously, look at that can! You just want to pick it up and look at it right? I'd be lying if I said it wasn't the can that attracted me to the beer. The awesome can art was designed by John Felix.
Anyway, on to the beer. Cracking the can and having a whiff, the aromas are almost perfect; sweet, juicy & fruity. If ever a beer was going to come close to the impeccable Tropigamma, then this is it. The bold fruity flavours hit you right up front, with pineapple and berries prominent. There's then some lovely malt and bitter hops to round off this excellent beer. I highly recommend you try it.
Crossing The Rubicon gets an impressive 4.5/5 hops from me 🍻
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 🍻
Brewdog x Omnipollo
Well this is an exciting combination...
Fruit Bat, a 6% ABV raspberry smoothie IPA - the first of two collaborations between brewing giants Brewdog & Omnipollo.
Described as being packed with fresh juicy raspberry flavour, wheat, oats & milk sugars have been added to give this beer the creaminess & depth of a fruit smoothie, which in turn balances out the tartness of the raspberry. The beer has then been single hopped with Mosaic to give it a touch of that familiar bitterness you associate with an IPA.
Cracking the can & pouring into a tulip glass, I was hit with the scent of raspberries straight away. On taste, there is an incredible mouthfull of fruity flavour with a slight hoppy backbone. You get the flavour from the wheat & oats that also give it a thick smoothie like texture.
All in all, fruit bat is an extremely tasty beer which is very refreshing. However, in a week of reviewing two fruit beers - Tropigamma is the winner for me.
If you can't find Fruit Bat at your local bottle shop then you can buy it online here:
You should without doubt try and get your hands on Fruit Bat whilst it's available, I'm definitely looking forward to trying out the second collaboration between Brewdog & Omnipollo 🍻
Wow. I don't know where to start with this one.
Neon Overlord by Brewdog is a 7.3% ABV chilli & mango IPA. Released today, I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of cans on my way home from work at Westhill Service Station.
Opening the can you are lured in by the sweet fruity aromas of pineapple & mango. However, upon tasting - you are smacked in the mouth with a massive dollop of spicy chilli. This may not sound like everyone's idea of a good beer, but I really enjoyed it. The sweetness you get from the fruit is just enough to compliment the chilli.
Not only is the beer awesome - the can design is up there with the best efforts from Beavertown, if not better. It is seriously cool.
I wouldn't suggest that Neon Overlord be your entry to chilli beer - the chilli is very strong, and quite spicy. If you are a fan of chilli beer or just looking to try something different - then I highly suggest giving it a go 🍻
Just a quick update today since receiving this month's Beer52 box yesterday. It looks to be a cracking selection of beers.
This months box is Scottish themed and includes beers from:
Ferment magazine features an interview James Watt (Brewdog) plus various other features on Scottish craft beer. My snack this month is spring onion & Italian cheese Soffles.
In particular i'm looking forward to trying out the various lagers in the box this month - especially from Brewgooder, as I think what they are doing with their clean water initiative is fantastic.
As always, if you are interested in trying out Beer52, then you can sign up via my subscription link below...it will save you money 🍻
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.