maanantai 3. maaliskuuta 2014

Trip to Scotland Aberdeen / BrewDog - 17/2/2014

Couple of these for breakfast!
This is my travellogue to Aberdeen, Scotland at 17/2/2014. English is really bad, but the trip was great :)

Check out also my yeasterday's travellogue.

The clock woke me up a little bit after seven, and I walked to the hotel's downstairs for a breakfast. I ate a large pile of bacon, beans and sausages. In addition to this, of course, a few mugs of coffee and half a dozen glasses of orange juice. At nine o'clock we left the hotel. Zarah from BrewDog came to pick us up. I met Zarah at one beerfestival in Finland last year. Ari, Pierrick and Tommy came to same ride with me and we travelled about 27 kilometers to the BrewDog's brewery. After arriving to the brewery we went to the office of James Watt’s wait for other invited guests.

BrewDog's brewery
Ceiling light BrewDog style!

James went to his office quickly and playfully pointed us to be ahead of schedule. When the entire nine-person group was together, we were served a cup of coffee. At the same time James told the plans for the day and went through the history of the brewery. Then arrived BrewDog’s other co-founder Martin Dickie, who was the guide for our brewery tour. James was also present most of the time.

Brewery tour guides Martin and James

When we started our brewery tour they were brewing Hardcore IPA. Martin presented how they make beer at BrewDog. I also met BrewDog’s Headbrewer Stewart Bowman, who told me that he was specially dressed in t-shirt of one Finnish craftbeer brewery called Ruosniemen Panimo (Panimo = Brewery in Finnish), cause he heard that I was coming to visit the brewery. I met Bowman also last year in Finland.

Martin explained that one of the most important investments in new brewery has been a laboratory, where they can do analysis from every step of the brewing process. BrewDog is known for using large amount of hops on their beers. James told us that one-fifth of each batch of beer will go to waste, because they use so much hops. He points out that it’s expensive, but the flavor of the beer is the main thing. Used hops will be sent to five different farms, where the hops are used for example fertilizer.

Friendpicture Stewart and Jaska
In the laboratory
An overview of the brewery
Presentation of the hopcannon
There we climbed!

Guys told us that bottling line moves like 15 000 bottles per hour, when I was watching at my favorite BrewDog beer Hardcore IPA’s bottling. I was told that bottling line rejects 1000 bottles from 100 000 bottles. At one point, James asked that those who want to climb on top of the huge tanks, raise their hand. So Tommy, Pierrick and I climbed to top of the brewery with James. Next we went to the loading dock and there was one shipping container. It was a freezer and there was “maturing” beer called Sink the Bismarck (41 % alc. Double IPA). They were freezing water out of that beer. Of course I jumped right a way to the freezer and the temperature was like in Finland. Next stop was a newly built storage. There were huge amounts of BrewDog beers, but there was lot’s of beers from other brewers. There was also a huge number of barrels among those beertowers. They were maturing many different beers for example Sort Maelk from Danish brewery called To Øl. There was also many boxes of new beer from the Abstrakt –series. It was AB:15 and James told that we will taste that beer very soon. That was our tour at BrewDog’s brewery. 

New brewing facilities looked great. New brewing equipments and automatic factory functions. Nowadays this Craftbeer –message comes from uncompromising way of using raw materials. After the tour we went back to the James office, where was time for some beer tasting.

Top of the brewery!
Line of Hardcore IPA's
Sink The Bismarck
To Øl Sort Maelk
Punk cans
Abstrakt AB:15 in boxes

Today's first beer
Stewart talking about Punk IPA

First beer was familiar to me and it was Punk IPA, which was bottled about two days ago. Very fresh and aromatic. James, Martin and also Stewart was telling stories about brewery and their beers. Next James brought couple Growlers from maturing vessel. Growlers were filled with Jack Hammer. This beer was new for me, but Ari said that Jack Hammer is one of his favorites of the BrewDog.

BrewDog Jack Hammer

BrewDog Jack Hammer

Strongly hopped beer with fruits. Strikes straight to my palate and I became interested in what it tastes like totally ready.

After Hammer front of us arrives bottle with red label including skull and typewriter. This beer was called Dead Metaphor and it was brewed collaboration with two beerbloggers Rob Derbyshire and Rich Taylor. Label says that it’s Scottish Chocolate Breakfast Stout and brewed with the Brazilian Sertão coffee and Venezuelan black chocolate. From the taste came up little bit sweetness. The sweetness seemed familiar, and I realized that it is lactose. So I said to Ari that reach out to me my bag, which I threw in my mouth a couple of lactosepills and thus tasting continued.

BrewDog Dead Metaphor

BrewDog Dead Metaphor

Coffee, lactose, and a little sweet. I tasted this a few days earlier in Helsinki, and I didn’t like it very much. Again, this tasting was no exception. It was not my kind of beer.

After Dead Metaphor then it was time to taste the beer that I already held in my hands in storehouse and it is Abstrakt AB: 15. The specs of the beer quite special. Used in the manufacture of the beer there was used salt and popcorn. After this, it was "forgotten" to mature in bourbon and rum barrels for 19 months.

BrewDog Abstrakt AB:15

BrewDog Abstrakt AB:15

The big beer, with vanilla, plenty of sweetness and madeira. That popcorn, I did not pick up on this. Quite a diverse beer and sort of time awesome. Was this, however, too much? Well, maybe not! BrewDog "big" beers, however, worked better than the previous night's Lumberjack.


After "popcornbeer" it was lunch time and in front of us was brought couple trays full of tasty sandwiches. We ate them with Punk IPA. After lunch, I gave my souvenir beers to James that I carried from Finland. James took the bottles with enthusiasm and promised to tell his opinion about those beers.

Souvenirs from Finland

List of the souvenirs:
Next there was something extra to our original program. We went to visit the old brewery in Fraserburg. Distance was about 40 kilometers. Today, this old brewery is used mainly as the test brewery and they brew smaller special batches. The doors were open and there was quite cool breeze. Exciting to think that there they built-BrewDog brand. Charlotte Cook is the headbrewer of the old brewery and she told us how they make beer there.

The old brewery

We were able to taste two different beers. The first beer was from the blitz sourbeer –series and it was…

BrewDog Blitz Passion Fruit

BrewDog Blitz Passion Fruit

Lots of passion fruit and strong sourness. In the past, I had tasted Blitz Apricot from this series and I liked it very much. I liked this Passion Fruit also. As a summer drink this would go perfectly.

The second beer that we tasted was still a little unfinished beer...

BrewDog Jasmine IPA

BrewDog Jasmine IPA

I tasted this beer with Ari and we talked about it. The taste came out really strong and there was plenty of jasmine flowers in it. Aftertaste was very tangy. I did not like it.

After that it was time to go back to the new brewery and the weather began to be more like in Scotland should be. It started raining. When we arrived to new brewery, we went to watch bottling of Jack Hammer and James picked us fresh bottles straight from the bottling line. Jack Hammer tasted very good and I think I can agree with Ari’s view that this is one of the brewery's best beers. James also gave us BrewDog t-shirts and then we head back to the hotel. That was our brewery tour and it was time to get ready for the dinner.

Fresh Jack Hammer on the bottling line

At six o'clock we walked to the BrewDog Bar to have couple beers before the beerdinner. First beer that I tried was…

BrewDog Libertine Black Ale
BrewDog Libertine Black Ale

7.2 % Black IPA. There was toasty coffee and grapefruit/pinewood hopping was very balanced. I’m big fan of Black IPA’s so this was my kind of beer. I liked it a lot.

After Libertine, I took a half pint of Fake Lager and at the same time James brought a tray full of…

AleSmith Grand Cru

AleSmith Grand Cru

Ripe fruits, raisins and not too sweet. A great beer. Alcohol was very well in the background.


Then we went to dinner at the restaurant called MUSA. This restaurant is owned by James, and he described it to his own hobby. The restaurant was opened specially for us, as usual, it was closed on Mondays. The dinner was accompanied by James and Martin, but also other employees of BrewDog for example Sarah and Zarah. We were welcomed and had an aperitif...

BrewDog Blitz Rasberry

BrewDog Blitz Rasberry

Light, fresh, sour, and lots of berries. These beers from the Blitz -series have been very good. I have tasted three different, and the Apricot has been my favorite.
After aperitif, started the four-course dinner. Before each course there was somebody from the brewery, presenting the food and a beverage. First beer & food combo was…

1. serve
1. serve
BrewDog Libertine Black Ale
Smoked Beef Fillet Carpaccio, Horseradish Toast and Pickled Walnuts

The fillet was very tasty and horseradish gave a nice boost to fillet. Roasty and hopped beer with some grapefruit, pine flavor offered a suitable partner.


2. serve
BrewDog Punk IPA
Haggis Spring Roll, Apricots, Coriander, Tomato and Chili Jam

This was my second time eating haggis and this Spring Roll filled with haggis was kind of funny idea, but it worked really well. Lots of pepper. Sweetness of the apricot balanced that strong pepper of the haggis. Funny and at the same time tasty portion.

Pääruoan esittely
3. serve
BrewDog Hello My Name Is Vladimir
Halibut, Crayfish Rice, Prosecco Avruga Butter Sauce

A mild-flavored fish and soft-flavored rice. Beer fairly strong with lots of berries and fruits. I tasted this Hello My Name Is Vladimir few days ago in Finland and did not reach to my favorite Double IPA’s. But tasty combination.

After the third serve was dessert time and in front of us were brought glasses with the beer and ice cream. Beer was specially made for MUSA. It was BrewDog Riptide which was aged in Jura barrels for 529 days. In the glass there was Riptide Jura vanilla ice cream and a glass of 16 year old Jura whiskey.


4. serve
Musa Jura Riptide Affogato

Chocolate, soft vanilla and sweet taste experience. In the past, I haven’t tasted beer and ice cream together, but certainly will in the future. Dessert for beergeek!!!

After the dessert James and Martin brought few bottles of BrewDog Dog B to the table, and we were able to taste that beer after the dinner.

BrewDog Dog B
BrewDog Dog B
15.1 % Imperial Stout, spiced up with naga chillies. Pretty impressive beer, even though I have been tasting “few” beers that day. Hefty Imperial Stout, with liquorice, coffee, a hint of chili and vanilla. Could it be the brewery's best beer?

Dinner was over, and then we moved to a nearby beer place called CASC (cigars Ales Scotch Coffee). The place was opened a few months ago and the decor was stylish. A straight lines, and the gray color. The interior was to my liking. There were 24 beertaps and very wide range of whiskeys and beer bottles. The first beer that I took was so Epic…

CASC:n Draft beers

bottle selection...
...and little bit more!
Three dogs!!! :)
EPIC Hop Zombie
EPIC Hop Zombie
8,5 % staggering Double IPA from New Zealand.

After that we had little whiskey tasting with Martin and Pierrick. Whiskey that we tasted was Glen Garioch.

Four pure Amber Ale
Four pure Amber Ale
5,1 % Amber Ale. Nothing special Quite dry. There are lots of better Amber Ale's like Beer Here Dead Cat, Stone Levitation Ale and BrewDog 5 A.M. Saint.

Summer Wine Maelstrom

Summer Wine Maelstrom
9 % Double IPA. Grapefruit and tropical fruits. Very tasty DIPA.

From there, we moved with smaller group to have few cocktails. I was at the hotel at four in the morning and I had to wake up at six. So the journey home was pretty tired. And that was my travelogue to Scotland.

The trip was memorable in every way, and I had awesome time there. Thank you for the invitation. Thanks to James, Martin, Sarah, Zarah and Bowman for good company. Thank you also to the rest of the people from the brewery. Special thanks to other beerblog colleagues and beerauthors for awesome company. Thanks!

Check out my article about BrewDog!!!

2 kommenttia:

  1. Olipas hyvä jo ensilukemalta ja palaan lukemaan tuota vielä palasina erikseen..ehkäpä BrewDogin olut seurana. Nyt alkoi loma ja Alkosta tuli matkaan Ridgeway Quadruple Strong Ale. Voltteja vähän liikaa (12.0%), mutta voltit ei tule ollenkaan päälle. Vauhdikkaan vapaapäivän olut ruuanlaiton kaveriksi. Niin ja oikein kelpo englantia luettuna ja myös kuunneltuna nuo aiemmat videot.

  2. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thank