Four days later and I suppose I’ve just about recovered from the hangover – Aberdeen once again delivers a fantastic weekend’s entertainment, and thanks to some more careful drinking and a more generous flight plan, I got to see more of the city too.
I’ve decided to split my review into two, looking first at the Brewdog AGM which took place on Saturday in the day, before considering Aberdeen’s fine selection of other bars in my next post.
Brewdog AGM was much better organised this year; none of the #queuedog fiasco of last year, with six bars instead of two and a much broader range of beers. I don’t think I ever waited more than three minutes to get served, compared to the 20 minutes last year. The selection was better and the food was again quality – if still enormously overpriced – so we were well sated on that front. The music was great too – Idlewild were very good and Twin Atlantic killed it, not bad for a corporate shin dig.
I have to admit I’m starting to get a bit wary of the Brewdog brand now – these guys are absolutely raking it in – the company is now worth £300 million and they increased profits by 60% on last year. It’s hardly very “punk”, and while that in itself isn’t a problem (more success to them I say), it rankles with the David versus Goliath image they like to portray of their relationship with other brewers. It doesn’t help that I think some of their more recent beer releases have been crap (see This.Is.Lager). I shouldn’t moan too much – they do make good beer and clearly support smaller brewers, even if they are making a tonne of cash by selling it in their own bars.
Anyway, as a result I found myself drinking quite a few of the other brands on offer, including the following three (I’ll be honest, I didn’t make notes on everything I drank!)
Mikkeller Chill Pils Yuzu – The first beer I had and probably my outright favourite at the AGM, this is a fruity pilsner lager made using the Yuzu fruit (no I didn’t know that was a fruit either). It’s a full bodied, hazy beer, balancing a smooth carbonation and fairly thick mouthfeel with plenty of juicy, tropical citrus flavours. There’s some elements of a lagery hop flavour there as well, but it would probably be best classified as a fruit beer. Super refreshing stuff from the crazy Danes.
BrewDog Hinterland – well I couldn’t really not have this once they announced it on stage. A proper thick milk stout made with oatmeal. Surprisingly bitter for a milk stout, it has a roasted, slightly burnt coffee flavour with rich caramel sweetness underneath. It is pretty potent (of course it is) so you get a boozy vapour at the back of the throat. Not as nice as the Bounty Hunter by Beatnik, which I didn’t have myself but did get to rather jealously sample from my drinking companion.
Ballast Point Grunion – An American Pale Ale, this was pretty unimpressive and blandly hoppy. Some herby flavours but mostly just the usual. I later had the Dorado by the same brewer and it was much the same but twice as strong!
I also retired This.Is.Lager just to see if I had a bad pint when I reviewed it last year. I didn’t. It’s still crap.