Following the crushing disappointment of Indie Pale Ale earlier this year, BrewDog are back with a new addition to their Core range (which includes Elvis Juice & Jack Hammer). Native Son is a 8.5% ABV West Coast Double IPA that is now in full production following a successful prototype period last year & here's what BrewDog have to say about it:
"Our latest Amplified beer, Native Son is now in our core range and is now fully available.
The brainchild of our Head of Production Jason Pond, and one of his first two recipes after joining the good ship BrewDog, it is one of the truest representations of a classic American IPA that we’ve brewed to date.
Dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Centennial, it has a superb combination of tropical and citrus fruit, with huge fresh grassy notes, and a big savoury smack of dank hop. Native Son clocks in at double IPA strength, but has effortless drinkability, with crystal malt providing light complexity and a shred of sweetness – no big chewy toffee notes. Bittered with Columbus and Chinook, there’s a driving bassline of pine; both sticky resin and cut wood – a building presence that melds beautifully with the green hop notes."
Indie Pale Ale definitely wasn't for me, however I have a feeling that Native Son could be right up my street. It sounds like an absolute banger! Although is it going to be worthy enough to stand alongside Elvis Juice, Jack Hammer & Cocoa Psycho?
First up the can art is signature Brewdog, this time opting for a royal blue colour scheme. Native Son pours a clear golden amber with a small white head that disperses very quickly - there seems to be little to no carbonation present. Aromas are initially malts, lots of hops & pine before being followed by some citrus/tropical fruits; orange, grapefruit & mango mainly.
On taste, the first thing you notice is the bitterness - it smacks you right in the face. It's backed up by loads of pine & oily resin. I didn't get too much fruit flavours - there was certainly citrus grapefruit in there, but it's the overpowering bitterness that really takes hold of this beer. There is almost no carbonation in the body, and the texture is very oily. While the sheer bitterness of this beer may overpower almost all the other flavours, it's not to say I didn't enjoy it - because I did. I'm a huge fan of DIPA's & while this may not be the best one I've ever had, the flavours did work well together, and it was enjoyable & easy to drink.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid beer & whilst it's certainly no Elvis Juice or Hazy Jane, it is a massive improvement on BrewDog's first offering of the year. If you are partial to a DIPA, then I encourage you to give Native Son a go.
Native Son gets 3.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Beer With a Story To Tell
Recently whilst browsing Instagram, I stumbled across a post that featured a new Aberdeenshire based brewery - Beer Story Brewing.
I took the time to follow their social media channels & find out a bit more about them & more importantly, their beer. Based in Insch, Aberdeenshire, Beer Story Brewing were formed last year with the goal to make beer that tells a story - using interesting ingredients from all around the globe. Impressed with what I was reading, I decided to contact them to find out where I could purchase their beer to review & spread the word. I was very kindly offered the chance to collect some samples if I made my way out to the brewery, which I promptly did.
When I arrived there, I was immediately taken aback by the size of it. I didn't really know what to expect; but I was thinking it would be something more of a small industrial unit, but it's actually quite a large space. I was greeted by John McKenzie who took the time to show me around, tell me a bit about his background & the company itself. It is a highly impressive setup for a relatively new & small brewery & they seem perfectly positioned to make a name for themselves. I left feeling educated & with samples of their two current beers; Clockwork Zest & On The Road.
On The Road
First up is On The Road, a 5.2% ABV Californian IPA, that is made using American hops & yeast. Here's what Beer Story have to say about it:
"This adventurous IPA explores the kicks and inspiration of floral and citrus hops grown on Uncle Sam's West Coast. Californian ale yeast accentuates these bold hop flavours to deliver big hop aroma and taste."
First up, the bottle is presented extremely well - I was told that the labels were to represent library cards as each beer is telling it's own story, a nice touch if you ask me. Popping the bottle & pouring into a glass, the aromas are mainly citrus; lemon & orange, backed by some light floral notes. On The Road pours a golden amber with a thin white head that disperses quite quickly. Flavours are a malt base with a touch of caramel & some crisp citrus. There is almost no bitterness carbonation was relatively low - I'm not sure of this was just the bottle I had or if it is usually like this. The flavours all work together quite well in my opinion, making the beer very easy to drink & very tasty.
Overall, I found On The Road to be a very solid IPA & an great first beer for Beer Story. It's an extremely easy drinking beer & one that I think most would enjoy - you should check it.
3.75 out of 5 hops from me
Next up is Clockwork Zest, a 5.4% ABV chocolate porter that has been made using African cocoa nibs, coffee beans & oranges. Here's what Beer Story have to say about it:
"Take a dive into the utopian blend of chocolate malt, Madagascan cocoa nibs and very subtle oils of orange and zest. Equatorial African coffee beans round off this red island inspired porter."
Again we have another example of the library card style label that does a great job of telling you that little bit more about the beer. Opening the bottle & pouring into a glass, you are immediately hit with huge coffee aromas & a hint of citrus sweetness from the orange peel. Clockwork Zest pours a very dark, almost black, brown with a thin light brown head. On taste, you are hit with those huge coffee flavours right away before loads of bitterness from the cocoa nibs & some ever so slight sweetness of the orange. It's a great tasting beer & the flavours work well together, however I think that there is just a touch too much bitterness for my liking.
After drinking loads of fantastic porters & stouts over Xmas, Clockwork Zest certainly does not disappoint & it is another encouraging sign of what's to come from Beer Story.
3.5 out of 5 hops from me.
From first impressions I have been greatly impressed by Beer Story & I very much look forward to trying what comes next from them - first up is Outsiders IPA, a 4.17% ABV red IPA. They are also going to be at North Hop Aberdeen later this year, so be sure to keep an eye out for tickets going on sale.
You can keep up to date on all things Beer Story on their Website or by following them on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. Beer Story are located at:.
Beer Story Brewing Co
Insch Business Park
Big Fish Brewing
Stonehaven's own Big Fish Brewing are back, this time with K3; their take on an American DIPA, coming in at a whopping 8.0% ABV.
Big Fish Brewing have highly impressed me so far, with their Long 14 blonde IPA & 12 Fathoms porter both getting very favourable reviews from me. So naturally, I was interested to experience their take on a DIPA - probably my favourite beer type...
K3 pours a hazy dark amber, leaving a foamy beige head at the top of your glass. Huge ginger aromas are backed by subtle citrus grapefruit & orange.
After the first sip POW...this beers smacks you right in the face with a booze fueled hop bomb. That is no understatement, this is one boozy beer. Huge hoppy bitterness is at the forefront followed by more bitterness from the grapefruit before being rounded off by some slight warming spice from the ginger. All the flavours come together perfectly. It's quite worrying how drinkable this beer is for its ABV; sink a couple of these & you will be fast asleep in no time!
Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this beer. It is easily the best I have had yet from these guys & a worthy addition to stand alongside some of my favourite DIPAs such as Humuloid & King Slayer.
If you haven't already checked out Big Fish Brewing, then what are you waiting for? Do it. You won't regret it. It is the perfect time of year to crack open a bottle of 12 Fathoms .
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Westhill Service Station
I'm a little bit late with this post, but the guys at Westhill Service Station have ramped it up a gear...they're ready for world domination!
Having recently renovated to store to increase the craft beer selection along with the addition of the growler station,they have now unleashed Hop Shop Aberdeen on us; making their incredible beer selection available to buy online & have delivered to your door.
The online shop is fantastic; it is jam packed full of great beers from all the top breweries. You can apply a bunch of filters to narrow down your search by location, brewery, style & price. Each week when the newsletter comes out, there is a link that will take you to the online store & automatically filter the latest releases, which is incredibly handy.
You can order online from anywhere in the UK, with free shipping on orders over £45. Orders are delivered via courier so can be tracked to ensure you are there to receive them. If you live local, you can skip delivery chargers and collect in store, with the option to pay online, or pay on collection...this is extremely handy for me with the shop only being 5 minutes from my door!
There is also a loyalty points system where the more you spend, the more you can save in future; for every pound you spend, will gain a loyalty point & for every 100 loyalty points collected, you will receive £1 off your next order.
If you haven't already signed up for the newsletter, you can do so here. And if for some reason you are yet to check these guys out, you should - they are killing it right now 🍻
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 🍻