Thursday, 18 August 2016

Banchory Beer Festival: Review (Aberdeen)

Yichty hoo here we go! Another month and another beer festival, oh Scotland, how I love you. After writing my top things to try out at Banchory Beer Festival, I was a determined wee soul in trying to at least tick a number of my top picks off of the list. Boy it was much more challenging than I had thought. Getting caught up in the beery atmosphere on Saturday evening, it was a case of 'let's just try everything' or as the cool kids would say, a case of YOLO, when it came to trying out different drinks. The festival was busy, real busy, not busy like Christmas sales 'I want to kill myself' busy, but a good busy. I'd never been to the summer Banchory Beer Festival, it looked awesome, the bands playing sounded pretty rad, and there was a good variety of food and drink available. Yes, I was excited, especially when the drinks tents look  like a god damn circus. Oh alcohol, come at me.

The gin game was strong at the festival, so picking my first drink was extremely difficult. Committing to a Little Bird (41.6% ABV) gin with hint o' mint lemonade, my sister opted for a Stirling Gin (43% ABV) with Summerhouse Drinks raspberry lemonade. We were pretty pleased with our first beverages of the festival, so much so that immediately after  I decided to jump on to the Stirling Gin band wagon, also joining the raspberry lemonade club too - delicious. After, I wanted to try out the new Persie zesty citrus gin (42% ABV) which I had heard so much about. Pairing it with Walter Gregor tonic, Scotland's first tonic water, I wanted to ensure that the mixer wouldn't corrupt the flavour of the gin. Extremely refreshing I rather enjoyed this tipple. A good marriage of citrus zest and crisp tonic. I also tried out the Warner Edwards Elderflower gin (40% ABV) and the Shropshire Spirits Salopian Gin (40% ABV) too. Sadly I completely forgot to try out Aberdeenshire's latest gin, Esker Gin (42% ABV), but there's always the Inverurie festival!

The rum on offer was local rum distillers, Dark Matter (40% ABV). A spiced rum with a beautiful heat on it, I rave about this rum to everyone I meet. Not only because it's the only Scottish rum to ever have been distilled, but because it boasts rad flavours which settle beautifully on the tongue. Best paired with ginger beer or Summerhouse Drinks hint o'mint lemonade, it comes very well recommended.
First stop for food was undoubtedly going to be The Bay on the Road. There was only ever one thing which would accompany my multiple rums and gins, and that was the best god damn fish and chips the North-east, and this incredible nation has ever experienced. Ordering a mini fish and chips each, with a fresh lemon wedge and a healthy dollop of The Bay's homemade tartare sauce, dinner was served. I've been pals with Calum Richardson, the owner of The Bay Fish and Chips for a number of years, so it was no surprise we caught up, gossiping about everything and anything. Btw, that fish and chips was bangin'. If you've never visited the shop in Stonehaven go right now.
I have a great relationship with my sister, she's my best friend and the one person I turn to for advice. She is my rock, and although she's my younger sibling, I literally pester her about all of my life mishaps. Poor gal didn't know what she was getting into all those years ago. Tbh she should have known when I kept stealing all of her dummies what the future would hold.

So in true sisterly fashion I tagged her along for some big drinks and some kick ass food.  Afterall she's put up with me for over twenty years so she deserves a boozy treat, and the fact she's a belter of a laugh and loves a drink, I just had to invite her.  (If you follow me on Snapchat, you would have seen how much fun we had at the festival...far too much!)

The festival was really busy, with lots of people going around sampling the different food and drink on offer.
As the sun started to set, we headed back into the tent - purely for more drinks obviously, turning to the beer and cider tent. Two Thistly Cross strawberry ciders it was. I adore this cider and have been a big fan of these guys for the past few years. The Elderflower cider is also a favourite and their freshly pressed apple juice is top notch!

Moving on to beer, I turned to the only brewery which I know that I actually enjoy their beers, Fierce Beer. Since beginning to work with these guys last month, the new micro-brewery has really impressed me with their pack-a-punch of flavour brews. I'm really not a massive fan of beer, but their craft beers are unlike any beer I've tried, and I really, really like them. The Cranachan Killer and Lemmy 'Avit were brilliant, really refreshing and great to drink whilst jiving away to Skipinnish - my favourite band of the night.

There were some great acts on throughout the festival and I'm gutted I didn't manage to see them all. Skipnnish was a highlight though, those guys sure know how to get a party started.
A little boozy and full of beery goodness, it was time for us to part ways with the Banchory Beer Festival. A great success in my eyes, we had a cracking time trying new gins and juices. Of course we couldn't leave without checking in with our favoutie Tex-Mex heroes, FreshMex. Chicken burrito in hand with homemade salsa and guacamole as well as a lashing of sour cream, lettuce and a sprinkling of cheese, we said our farewells to Banchory for the evening and disappeared into the night wondering who was going to get the first bite.
Big thanks to organisers Mungo and Guy Finlayson for inviting me along. Brilliant event, great crowd and a fab food and drink offering. Keep up the good work guys, I'll definitely be back!

   For Now...

Just Julia
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