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:
Beavertown x Lervig
Gods of beer Beavertown & Norwegian brewery Lervig; the brains behind the wonderful Tasty Juice have come together to produce M.A.D, or Mutually Assured Destruction - a 9.5% ABV DIPA.
Here's the official rundown from Beavertown:
"In a world full of crazy, only one thing keeps us sane. The cold comfort blanket that is “Mutually Assured Destruction”.
Brewed in collaboration with insane Norwegian beer despots, Lervig, this hop bomb is the “gift” that keeps on giving. Pure mango juice in the glass it packs a hefty payload of tinned mangos and pineapple on the nose with just the faintest hint of pine-y menthol. On the palate it’s banging fresh, targeting your taste receptors with juicy peach, passionfruit and a lick of zesty lime, then, just when you thought the bombardment was over, a wave of punchy black pepper & liquorice bitterness reinforcements arrive that keep on going, and going, and going until your taste buds are so battle-weary you can’t remember a time before this flavour.
Beavertown can do no wrong in my eyes, and I absolutely loved Tasty Juice, so I can only assume we're onto a winner here...
Before cracking it open, take a minute to admire the outrageous can art on display here...seriously epic stuff!
The flavours that we have come to know and expect from a beer like this are all present here; gorgeous tropical fruit aromas fill your nose as you crack the can and pour into a glass, backed by a healthy amount of piney bitterness. The beer pours an extremely hazy amber with a thin beige head that disappears quickly.
On your first sip you are hit with a huge bitter hop bomb, however it doesn't last too long as the fruit soon comes into play; orange, pineapple and mango overcome the bitterness to round this beer off with a perfect sweet mouthfeel.
For a 9.5% ABV DIPA, the alcohol is hidden extremely well by the flavours...dangerous stuff!
I really enjoyed this beer - it's not quite Humuloid, but still very enjoyable nonetheless. Beavertown knock it out the park yet again.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
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 🍻
Northern Monk x Verdant x Deya
Northern Monk's Patrons Project has produced some fantastic beers, one of them being the excellent Peanut Butter & Jelly Brown Ale.
Hazemaker is a collaboration between 3 of the UK's most exciting breweries; Northern Monk of course, Verdant & Deya. A blend of 3 different hops, Hazemaker is a 7.4% ABV IPA. It also features some incredible artwork by artist Jon Simmons. Here's the official lowdown:
"An extraordinary hazy collaboration between Northern Monk, Verdant & Deya. A jab of Amarillo, a right hook of Simcoe and an uppercut of Columbus hops equate to one knockout brew. Put your taste buds to the taste against the juicy tropical fruit flavours and punchy pine notes."
Sounds like a winner right?
Well this beer is a winner. It pours a hazy golden amber, leaving a thick foamy white head. Very hoppy on the nose, along with plenty citrus and tropical fruits.
Taste is similar to the aromas; plenty citrus and tropical fruits up front - orange, mango & pineapple. These are followed up with some nice piney, hoppy bitterness to give it a great finish.
Overall this is a really solid IPA that these fantastic breweries have conjured up - I would highly recommend it.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.