Thursday, 3 March 2016

North Hop Edinburgh: 10 things you don't want to miss

Anyone who knows me will understand what this festival means to me personally. After being involved for over a year, producing all of the PR articles myself, its been one heck of a journey in seeing how the festival has organically grown. With over 30 exhibitors now participating in each festival, and a number of sell-outs under its belt, North Hop is the place to be.

Taking to the road this year, the indoor craft beer festival plans to hit-up Edinburgh (5 March), Aberdeen (29 April - 30 May, Glasgow (18 - 19 June), and an unknown location in the Highlands (date tbc).

As I look to the first of many festivals this year, I'm sharing my top ten exhibitor's you'll want to ensure you pay a visit to at #northhopedi.

1. Edinburgh Beer Factory
Launched at the latter end of last year, this brewery has impressed me since the day it opened. A definite 'one to watch' in the brewing industry. I'll be sure to try out the Palozzi lager they will have on cask. At 5.2% the Munich style lager boasts Edinburgh flair and is guaranteed to tantalise the tastebuds, especially if you enjoy a malty aroma! 
Photos sourced from Edinburgh Beer Factory 
2. Roots Soda Co
Think back to your childhood when lemonade was made with real lemon juice, or when your mum squeezed fresh orange juice first thing in the morning, that's the feeling Roots Soda Co wants you to give you when you drink any of their soft drinks. A whirlwind of childhood memories infused with high quality ingredients creating the pinnacle of soft drinks, which any designated driver or non-drinker should indulge in.
Photos sourced from Roots Soda Co.
3. Drygate Brewing Co 
Since participating in a private tour with my boyfriend last year at Drygate, this brewery has held a special place close to my heart after finding out all their dirty little secrets, and when I say dirty little secrets I mean new beers they are working on. (Don't worry your secrets are safe with me!). A fan of the Outaspace Apple Ale, Drygate's beers are definitely for those festivalgoers looking for something a little more experimental...

Expect to find Drygate Pils 4.0%, Ax Man Rye IPA 5.0%, Barrel-Aged 5.3% Outaspace Apple Ale with Winter Spices, Disco Forklift Truck 5.1%, and Forelsket Session IPA 4.0% all on keg at the festival.
Photos sourced from Drygate
4. Reekie's Smokehouse
A well-known lover of BBQ sauce, this is one festival exhibitor I am very much looking forward to indulging in. With two authentic American built BBQ smokers, homemade sauces, and the majority of their ingredients and produce being sourced locally what's not to love!? 

Come fill yer face and indulge in some seriously pulled pork.
Photos sourced from Reekie's Smokehouse
5. The Marshmallow Lady
Established in 2010, the award-winning company is one which I have been desperate to visit. With flavours including key lime pie with a biscuit base, prosecco and rose petals, maple bacon and raspberry, and gin and tonic with a slice of lime marshmallows, these wee works of art will be one of the first things I hunt down at North Hop.

Already well-established, these sweet treats will definitely be a hit.
6. 10 Dollar Shake
Festival residents since the very first North Hop festival back in 2014, the team at 10 Dollar Shake  will be providing high quality, creative tipples for all you lovely people to get your lips around. The Aberdeen-based mixologists have teamed up with family-owned distiller William Grant & Sons, and will be serving up a wide range of cocktails and signature serves in the cocktail lounge.

You can expect them to be serving spirits including, Hendricks Gin, Monkey Shoulder, Sailor Jerry, Balvenie Single Malt and Reyka Vodka.

Photos sourced from 10 Dollar Shake
7. Dunnet Bay Distillers
Masterminds of one of Scotland's finest gins, Rock Rose Gin, you will find these guys serving up plenty of Rock Rose in the cocktail lounge, mixing up delightful creations using their hand-crafted spirits, all the way from the very North of Scotland.

Catch Brand Ambassador, Jody Buchan, in the cocktail lounge, recommending the perfect serves for Rock Rose and on hand to answer all of your Rock Rose queries.
Photo sourced from Rock Rose Gin

8. El Cartel Casera Mexicana
Gracing the festival for the first time, El Cartel will be serving up some seasonal Mexican cuisine. These tremendous taco rascals will be teasing festivalgoers with their Mexican flavours whilst serving up some frozen margaritas to cool those tastebuds down. Catch them in the Beer Hall.

Photos sourced from El Cartel
9. Poporopo
If I urge you to do one thing and one thing only, then you must try every single flavour possible. This gourmet popcorn is handmade and comes in four core flavours, with a few extras just for fun. A must try is definitely the peanut butter one, oh, and the Sea salt one too. There's never been a snack so satisfying...
Photo sourced from Poporopo
10. Solid Liquids - The Rum Surgery and Juniper Pop-Up Gin Stop
The crafty team behind Solid Liquids will be serving up all sorts behind the bar over the festival period. These gin geniuses will be using 12 Scottish gins in their lovingly made cocktails, and will also be serving up some serious rum tipples. Expect to see Chairman’s Reserve Gold Rum, Spiced Rum, White Rum, and Forgotten Casks, all served neat, with a premium mixer or as a cocktail.

Why not put the guys to the test and let them choose the tipple for you!
Photos sourced from Solid Liquids
With over 30 different exhibitors it was really hard to pick a top ten, and I am very much looking forward to visiting every single one of them! For the full list of exhibitors and for tickets to the event follow the North Hop website link: http://northhop.co.uk/festivals/edinburgh

I would also advise checking out Tipple Box, a trendy company which allows you to create bespoke cocktails right in the comfort of your own home with some of the countries leading artisan brands. There will also be a photo cube with props to get your #northhopselfie on and guest artists working throughout the festival. Stewart Brewing has created a unique festival brew and Electric Spirit Co will be creating a festival gin so make sure you get your hands on that too!

  For Now...

Just Julia
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