Friday, 17 June 2011

A Tale of two Festivals

Well this weekend was the Scottish Real Ale Festival and The Brewdog Alternative Scottish Beer Festival.

So i took Thursday afternoon of work to do the 2 Festivals.

First off we decided to head to the Brewdog bar for kick off and turned up at noon to find only 7 Brewdog beers on, with only the Dogma not being a regular beer. So we decided to pass till later in the day.

Heading off the SRAF (only 2 minutes from the Brewdog pub), We encountered a small queue but it was fast moving and we were soon in.

First up we discovered that despite having third pint lined glasses they were not serving third pints. I just dont get this, and really i cant see any reason for them not to serve third pints.

Hitting the bar we discovered that the first 50 people to down 6 half's pint of beer in different style Won a t-shirt. Now im surprised they are allowed to do this, as it fair encouraged irresponsible drinking as most of the people in my group and at the nearby tables were drinking as fast as they could so they could get a t-shirt and it only got worse when it was reported there were few t-shirts left.

Still downing beer aside I had my wish list of beers and managed to get through them. The best of the new beers was from Burnside and was the "Black Katz", which was a full flavoured mild that while a bit thin in the Body was still tasty. However the other Burnside beer "Mad Dogz IPA" while not bad was just a little bit run of the mill. I had been looking forward to the Tinpot beers and the most interesting was the "Beetroot and Blackpepper", and this was clearly the best of the three and really quite interesting and while im glad to have tried i wont be rushing back any time soon.

The best of the Other beers i tried were Black Isle "Hibernator", which was rich dark tasty and just a delight, and probably the best its ever been, so i was really pleased to have finished with this beer. Also staring earlyier in the dar was Deeside "Talorcan" one of my favourite Scottish beers and while it was delightful it probably the worst ive ever had it. It just seemed to be lacking a little bit of body on this occasion. Saying that it was still my second favourite beer of the day.

The Biggest disappointment was the Orkney "Dark Island Reserve" , just like last year this cask beer totally fails to live up to the Quality of the bottle. The body and balance just fail completely.

All told i really enjoyed my time at the Scottish Real ale festival. While not the best festival beer list ive seen, its got much better than previous years with more beers from the smaller brewers and more beer that cant be found in the Edinburgh pubs on the same day.

But id love someone to explain there refusal to use third pint glasses, They did have a few(if not enough) strong beers where a 1/3 of a pint is a much more respectable sample size.

From there i headed back to the Brewdog bar for just after 4pm, but there was no change with still only the same selection of only Brewdog beers on. A very disappointing beer selection for a pub that was promoting an "alternative Festival".

However i have kids so it was time to head home and get the Tea on.

Having missed out on anything exciting from the Brewdog range i headed back to the brewdog bar for opening time on Friday. Well there had been a little movement in the beers. Three more had appeared. The amazing Angel Share and for a pub in Scotland to have this beer is just amazing, but the other two beers were Brewdogs own AB06 and Chaos Theory. Again not the Rival festival id hoped for. A great selection if you just walked into the bar, but if i had travelled into Edinburgh for this i would be sorely disappointed.

Also advertised on the Board and trailered on the web site was the hoppinator, and from the reports i heard this was a great success, but this was only on a limited times, so a little disappointing to have missed this.


  1. Totally agree on both the lack of thirds and the beer racing to win a t-shirt. Equally, I could probably find reasons to defend both if I were inclined. This is key to an argument I've been trying to get across about BrewDog; every single method of trying to promote alcohol, or venues that serve alcohol, raise an eyebrow somewhere. BrewDog are clever at finding chinks in other's armour (or should that be amour) and go for it. They are also much, much better at shrugging off criticism themselves, the success this provides them is pissing everyone else off. And the more people object the more it looks to me like sour grapes.

    I'd go to a bar specially to find 7 BrewDog beers including AB06 and Chaos Theory on draught, and Lost Abbey I've only ever had in bottle, so would have been a great win for me. I'm just sorry I can't get to Edinburgh this weekend, as I'd have gone to both.

    This blog post just adds to the great weight of on-line mentions for the guys.

  2. Just a thought, if you live in, or near Edinburgh then the BrewDog bar experience is something you can do any day I presume. I've been to the Aberdeen bar once, going to any BrewDog bar would be better than most festivals in Cumbria for this hop-head.

  3. I dunno, I have noticed there seem to be a lot of people saying Brewdog are twats nowadays.

  4. Dave im not dissing the Brewdog Bar. Its a Great Bar. Its well run, its got some Great Beer both on Tap and in Bottles.

    Angel Share is an amazing beer to find anywhere on Draught, let alone in Scotland. I Just think for all the Hype about competing festival. Its not what i would call a festival. More just business as usual. All be it that the Usual business is very good.