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 🍻
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 🍻
Happy (belated) birthday Beavertown! It's been a few weeks now since Double Chin was re-released to celebrate Beavertown's 5th birthday, and I have finally got my hands on it thanks to Westhill Service Station and their newsletter.
Orginally brewed to celebrate their 4th birthday, Double Chin was brewed again to mark their 5th. Double Chin is a DIPA, coming in at 8.5% ABV. Here's the official blurb by Beavertown:
"A double version of our first ever beer, "Neck Oil," brewed to celebrate our Fourth Birthday, everybody who has helped us over the years and all those around us who make great beer!
Resinous and hoppy, but oh so dangerously drinkable. You will have cake coming out of your eyes."
Beavertown rarely disappoint. Time to find out...
Well...where do we start with this one? The can I guess. Look at it! How cool is it? Some seriously awesome can art going on there!
Cracking the can and having a whiff, you are met with big piney smells, followed up with sweet citrus fruit. It pours a golden yellow, leaving a foamy white head.
Right off the bat sweet tropical fruits and orange lead the way to give a great initial flavour. Your are then met with the familiar piney, hoppy bitterness that you are used to in a classic DIPA. Again, this is another case of a DIPA that is way too easy to drinks (which is not a bad thing).
Overall, another top quality beer from Beavertown that is up there with the best of the best DIPA's that I've had.
4.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
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 🍻
I've been drinking craft beer for what seems like forever now, and in that time I've only had one beer made by Cloudwater...two if you include Big Dipper; their collaboration with Magic Rock. Neither of these beers have been any version of their DIPA series, and for a brewery that's considered as one of the best in the UK - that is shocking on my part!
So when Westhill Service Station's weekly craft beer newsletter was sent out the day before I flew to New York, and the headline beer for the week was DIPA v12 - I immediately emailed and asked them to reserve a can for me on my return. Chris who works there was more than happy to so for me and after a brief mix up when trying to collect it...I was finally ready for my first taste of a Cloudwater DIPA.
DIPA v12 is the 12th beer in Cloudwater's highly revelled, and now monthly, DIPA series. Coming in at a hefty 9% ABV, Mosaic hops take the lead here, backed up by a combination of Nelson Sauvin, Chinook & Citra. WLP095 Burlington Ale Yeast is used with a small addition of Caramalt to give some fruitiness.
Well, I don't know what to say, apart from that I'm blown away. This is one of the best DIPA's I've ever had - it's certainly up their with Bloody Notorious & Big Dipper.
Opening the can, you are greeted with big fruity aromas - pineapple and mango especially. These flavours follow through into the flavour, with mango in particular at the forefront of the flavour bomb. Rounding these flavours off, is just the right amount of bitterness that makes this DIPA very drinkable - it is everything you look for in a DIPA.
v12 has also looks great, pouring a nice hazy golden colour, that is topped off with a nice white head.
Now I know what everyone has been raving about for so long! I wont be leaving it so long to have my next Cloudwater beer after this. On the basis of this beer, I can certainly see why the are gathering such an impeccable reputation. I'm not sure how long they're planning on keeping up this DIPA series, but I will definitely be keeping tabs on the next release.
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
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 🍻
Heavy breathing more like! That's usually me, when Beavertown release a new beer. This one is also made with cherries...I love cherries. I had a feeling I was going to like this beer.
Again, picked up from the ever great Westhill Service Station, Heavy Water is a 9% ABV Sour Cherry and Sea Salt Imperial Stout. Described by Beavertown as; "Pitch black and thick like tar, masses of roast barley molasses, muscovado and brown sugar amp up this imperial stout so it lives up to its heavy name! Infused with sour cherries and sea salt".
This sounds like a good'un.
Beavertown aren't ones to lie when they describe a beer, and that continues again here. After you open Heavy Water and pour the silky stout liquid into a glass, you are met with a sour, chocolatey aroma. And from the first glug, the sour cherries kick in - wow! Combined with the salty stout that leaves you with a smooth malt finish. This beer was incredible.
This is another example of a Beavertown beer with with an exceptionally high ABV that is well hidden by the outstanding flavours. This does not taste like a 9% ABV beer - however, drink and few cans of it, and it will feel like a 9% ABV beer!
I feel like I keep repeating myself every time I review a Beavertown beer, especially when it comes to can art; they knock it out the park again here with another awesome design.
Overall, this beer is up with the best of the best that Beavertown have produced. I only wish I had more than one can of it!
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
The Kings In The North
Lately, I have been enjoying lots of awesome beer from Magic Rock Brewing. They make some seriously awesome beer. Beer that rival some of my favourites by Beavertown & Brewdog. I'm gonna give you a little rundown of some of the beers I have tried.
They first came to my attention by seeing some of their cans in Brewdog's bottleshop. Thinking they looked quite cool, I decided to pick a few of them up. Cannonball & Inhaler were the first two I tried, and as my taste expanded, I tried more and more. They definitely provide some of the more interesting beers on the market, with High Wire, and Salty Kiss being prime examples. Magic Rock have a core range of 9 different beers, as well as a HUGE back catalogue of limited releases and collaborations.
My local bottleshop, Westhill Service Station do a great job of stocking the core line of beers, and have also managed to get in some of the limited runs & collaborations. So far, I have tried the following beers by Magic Rock:
Without doubt my absolute favourite is High Wire Grapefruit, followed closely by Big Dipper. High Wire is awesome. Grapefruit works excellently in a Pale Ale, with another awesome example being Elvis Juice by Brewdog. High Wire, however, takes the crown for me.
If you have never tried a beer by Magic Rock, I would recommend at least trying High Wire Grapefruit, and Salty Kiss...they are both packed full of awesome flavours, and I can guarantee, that will not be the only can of High Wire Grapefruit that you ever have. I have never had a bad beer from them yet.
They have also today, announced their first collaboration of 2017 - with The Wild Beer Co. These guys have been doing awesome things lately, and I cannot wait to see what they can do together.
Magic Rock were formed in 2011 by two brothers; Richard and Jonny Burhouse and their head brewer Stuart Ross. Within six months, they had built up and excellent reputation and were named 2nd best new brewery in the world, 2012.
In 2015 the brewery moved to a new Brewery in Birkby, Huddersfield, which increased their capacity to 10,000hl PA. Since then, The Magic Rock Tap launched and they did their first run of cans. In early 2016, their capacity increased by a further 100% to a total fermentation capacity of 70,000 litres.
You can find out more about Magic Rock in the following places:
I can't wait to see what they do next 🍻
Magic Rock x Cloudwater
Happy New Year beer drinkers! For my first post of 2017, I’m going to be reviewing the collaboration between Magic Rock & Cloudwater – Big Dipper.
Big Dipper is a 8.3% ABV Double IPA, that is a new recipe that is loosely based on the ‘Three’s Company’ collaboration they brewed together for Manchester Beer Week last Summer. This is the third Magic Rock beer to be packed in labelled 500ml cans that feature Rich Norgate’s awesome artwork and one of the first beers to be put through their new centrifuge.
Described by Magic Rock as: “A collaborative Double IPA brew with our friends from over t’hills Cloudwater Brew Co. Golden Promise, Wheat, Oat and Crystal Malt were used for a smooth, golden, malty body. A combination of Magnum, Citra, Simcoe, Eureka and Mosaic T90 hops were used in the whirlpool and dry hopping, with additional Citra – ‘Cryo Hops™ Lupulin Powder’ added in the dry hop. Fermented with US ‘Double IPA’ yeast the result is a massively fruit-filled DIPA with loads of Mango and Peach aroma & flavour and gravity-defying drinkability. Strap yourself in!”
Again picked up from Westhill Service Station, I was certainly looking forward to trying this beer...
Cracking the awesomely designed can, you are greeted with a big whiff of mixed citrus fruit...good start. The beer pours a light hazy orange with a small foamy white head. On taste you get dry, citrus orange flavours backed up by huge bitter hops. I think that DIPA's excel with a good amount of bitterness from hops (Looking at you Bloody Notorious!) so this beer was definitely too my taste. One thing for sure, this beer is FAR too drinkable for a DIPA at 8.3% ABV. Dangerous stuff!
You can buy Big Dipper online at:
Overall, I loved this beer, and it carries on the excellent experience I've had with any Magic Rock beer I've tried - I will definitely be doing a blog post about them as a brewery in the future.
Big Dipper gets a solid 4.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
NEW BEAVERTOWN ALERT...
I get a little excited whenever the brewing heroes that are Beavertown release a new beer, and yet again Westhill Service Station have come through with the goods.
Appleation is a 8.7% ABV Bramley Apple Saison, that is described by Beavertown as; A brew to finish a day in the fields! This sparkling wine / beer hybrid perfectly balances the familiar spicy characteristics of the saison yeast and apple tartness with rich honey notes.
It sounds like the right kind of beer for this time of year then...
Cracking open the (again) beautifully designed can you are met with citrusy, spiced apple aromas which are excellent and the beer pours light amber with a finger thick white head. On taste, you get a nice and refreshing citrus flavour with a spiced acidic apple backbone. There’s not much bitterness at all present in this beer, and the alcohol is well hidden by the sweet, fruity aftertaste. You could almost be convinced that this beer is in fact, a cider!
Overall, a good, but not outstanding beer and not one of Beavertown’s more impressive efforts.
3.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.