Get your Beer Fix By Supporting Local
We may be going through some pretty tough times at the moment, but for some of us, getting our beer fix is still pretty important. With the rise of quality craft beer available in more and more supermarkets, it's becoming all too easy to grab a few, whilst on your weekly shop and stock up for the weekend. I'm as guilty as anyone for that, it's so handy!
Having an equally tough time of it, or probably tougher in some cases, is the independent local breweries and bottle shops that are still working super hard to make awesome craft beer available to us, despite everything that's going on. With lock-down set to be rightfully extended further (certainly here in Scotland), I wanted to put together this post to highlight some awesome breweries and bottle shops that we can support through these tough times - and you get your hands on some tasty beer at the end of it.
Note, that whilst I'm sure there are loads of places deserving of your support, I'm using this post to highlight places that I love, and have been supporting recently. Feel free to add others in the post comments or re-share and tag them.
I'm sure you all know how much I love Brew Toon - they have featured in many posts on this blog, and that hasn't changed. They have some amazing beers to choose from, with the incredible M'Ango Unchained, an all time favourite of mine, along with others such as Sour To The People, Mayday and Loose Cannon. I ordered from them last week; I placed an order at around lunch time, and it came before 5pm the very same day - incredible service! They have also recently launched 5L mini-kegs, which have been super popular. I got myself a keg of M'Ango Unchained last weekend, and it went down a treat!
Find out more at:
Now, whilst I haven't specifically ordered from Reids gold during lockdown, they are a great small brewery, making great beer, and absolutely deserving of your support. With beers such as Raspberry Sun, North Sea Haar and the award winning Green Monkey Wheat, they have plenty to choose from. They are also currently taking pre orders on 5L mini kegs.
Find out more at:
Dog Falls Brewing
Now, this is a relatively new brewery to me - I only found out about them last week, but I have already since placed an order. Based up near Inverness, these guys have an awesome looking selection of 440ml cans available, something which is pretty rare for a relatively small outfit, in my opinion. Offering free local delivery within a 10mile radius or courier delivery at a very reasonable price for further afar - they are definitely worth checking out.
Find out more at:
Six Degrees North
Again, another brewery that I haven't specifically ordered from throughout lockdown, but they are definitely a local favourite of mine. They have such a great selection of beer, and are offering up a great variety of mixed cased at very reasonable prices, with all orders posted next day via DHL.
Find out more at:
Now, whilst these guys may not be local to the North East of Scotland, they are an awesome Scottish brewery - in fact, I think they might very well be my favourite brewery around at the moment. They make such high quality beer on such a consistent basis, they are absolutely a brewery that you need in your life. I've banged on about them so much over on my Instagram, and I can't wait to see what they brew up next. They have a very decent selection of beer available on their online shop, with free mainland delivery available for orders over £35.
Find out more at:
Hop Shop Aberdeen
Potentially of of my favourite shops in the whole world, and the place where I but 99% of my beer - Hop Shop Aberdeen (also known as Westhill Service Station) are easily the best bottle shop in Aberdeen, and probably one of the top throughout the UK. Stocking such a HUGE range of craft beer, including two rotating taps that can be used for growler fills, along with merch, snacks and glassware - you can get just about anything you need to satisfy your craft beer needs here. They offer free mainland delivery for orders over £50.
Find out more at:
You may have noticed there are a couple of big omissions from this list - BrewDog & Fierce beer. BrewDog are one of the biggest craft beer companies in the world - I don't think they need highlighting. Fierce, whilst not on the same level as BrewDog, are probably one of the biggest craft breweries in the UK, and certainly need no introduction from me - we all know how good they are!
I've also recently ordered from, and received excellent service from two breweries slightly further afar - Pomona Island from Salford & S43 from Country Durham. I've yet to try the Pomona Island beers at the time of writing, but I've read so much about how good they are. S43, for me are making some of the UK's best beer this year, and whilst my latest order has yet to arrive - I'm buzzing to get my hands on them.
Find out more at:
So there you have it, my picks to help support local, independent breweries and bottle shops. Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below, or re-share this post and tag them.
Now, put down those £3 supermarket cans and go help out the little guys! 🍻
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 🍻
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 🍻