Lokapolly – Galaxy Mosaic IPA

Loka Polly

Galaxy Mosaic IPA

6.5%

Loka Polly are the new kids on the block and I’ve been dying to try their beers! This is a really interestingly flavoured beer – big, bold hops held together with a very viscous mouthfeel coming from the wheat and oats. It reminds me of papaya; not overly tropical but creamy in texture. This creaminess really balances the bitterness and the whole beer is lifted with a little orange kick at the end. An added bonus is the look and texture of the label – this will definitely be getting used as a vase for some bright tulips!

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Beavertown – Heavy Water with Raspberries, Cacao & Vanilla

Beavertown

Heavy Water with Raspberries, cacao and vanilla

10.4%

There’s no denying Beavertown cans look amazing and their beers are pretty solid too but this time, they’ve absolutely blown it out the park. I’m always a bit dubious when a beer sounds too good to be true but this ticks all the boxes. An initial sour and fruity hit from the raspberries developing into sweet vanilla then rounded off with bitter, roasted notes and that kind of ashy flavour I love in an imperial. Brilliant.

Brooklyn Brewery – Black Chocolate Stout

Brooklyn Brewery

Black Chocolate Stout

10% ABV

My dad first introduced me to Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout years ago, and since then I’ve been hooked on imperials. It was my favourite beer for a long time and drinking it tonight is bringing back such fond memories. It’s a truly sensational beer packed with so many different flavours, all balanced beautifully. Bitter chocolate and coffee, dark berries, treacle, vanilla and almost a hint of smoke or spice.

Natural Selection 2017 Launch

Four Heriot-Watt masters students will be launching Natural Selection Brewing’s most recent creation, Common Ancestor, at OX184 on Cowgate, Edinburgh, on Thursday 29 June. The launch night will feature guest speaker Roger Protz. This collaborative project, now in its seventh year, is between selected MSc Brewing and Distilling students at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling and Stewart Brewing. These students are tasked with the challenge to trial beer recipes, brand their own product, brew 5000 litres of their chosen creation and sell it across the UK. The name, Natural Selection Brewing, stems from the project’s evolutionary developments which take place each academic year, with the new students adding their own creativity and innovative ideas to drive the project in a different direction.

This year’s beer, called Common Ancestor, is a 5.2% ABV California Common. The style originates from California in the 19th Century, where lager strains of yeast were fermented at higher than normal temperatures due to a lack of viable temperature control options.

Common Ancestor

Patrick Smith, Project Marketer, describes the beer as “an effervescent ale/lager hybrid, with caramel, citrus and pine notes, thanks to a liberal dosing of Dr. Rudi and Chinook hops. A slight hint of juniper complements this nicely. Our beer has evolved from the traditional California Common style to be fit for modern day consumption”.

Mark Ritchie, Head Brewer for the project, said “A California Common, being relatively unexplored by the craft beer scene, gave us a lot of scope to play around with and add our own twists. It’s a slightly unusual, but still very drinkable style”.

“We wanted to show that lagers can be exciting” adds Philip Sisson, Project Coordinator, “We’ve used a lot of citrusy hops during the end of the boil and fermentation to maximize flavour and aroma. The small addition of juniper also brings an extra dimension to the beer. It should be readily enjoyable by both craft beer enthusiasts, as well as traditional cask drinkers”.  

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The style works well in both cask and keg format and will be distributed across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Newcastle and London in both these formats, as well as bottles.

The beer’s launch night at Cowgate’s OX184 is open to the public to allow people the very first taste of Common Ancestor. Two types of ticket are available for purchase at the Stewart Brewing website. A £12.50 ticket includes a talk with guest speaker and beer journalist, Roger Protz, as well as an intimate evolution tasting of how this year’s beer has developed (doors 6.00pm for 6.30pm talk). Alternatively, a £7.50 ticket provides admission at 7.30pm. Both tickets include one pint of Common Ancestor, a commemorative glass and bar snacks. Keg, cask and bottle formats will be available, as well as access to Natural Selection Brewing’s limited edition sherry barrel-aged Belgian Quadrupel, Aged Ancestor. There will be a raffle in aid of Marie Curie on the night, with various beer-related prizes, including an evolution gift box of each of this year’s trial brews.

Keep up to date with the team at:

Website: http://www.naturalselectionbrewing.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NaturalSelectionBrewing

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatrlSelectBrew/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/naturalselectionbrewing/

North Hop Glasgow

North Hop is a roaming food, drink and music festival that takes place in various Scottish locations with the Glasgow event happening on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th June at SWG3 in Glasgow. The festival has a wide selection of exhibitors, with drinks including some of Scotland’s finest food and drink companies.

Beer-wise, there’s a lot going on at this North Hop festival. St Andrew’s Brewery have produced a one-off special for the festival which is a bramble saison. I was lucky enough to try it at the North Hop Glasgow meet the producers event on Friday at Crossing the Rubicon. The brambles used in the beer are picked locally in St Andrews, this is a big bonus for me as I really like when producers try to use as much local ingredients as possible. Flavour wise, it was a really interesting beer. I often worry fruit beers will be too sweet and sickly but the Bramble Saison wasn’t like that at all. It reminded me of grapefruit juice, quite bitter and slightly sour but incredibly moreish and refreshing. Definitely check it out as it’s very unusual and something really different compared to your usual beer styles.

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Out of Town Brewery will be live brewing at the event, so not only will you be able to see how beer is made, but the festival will be filled with the incredible hoppy, malty smells produced from the brews.

Eyeball Brewing from Cockenzie will be using North Hop as a launch venue for their newest beer, Eyeball Orange which is a 6.5% dark orange lager which offers a different perspective on the coffee and chocolate flavours of the dark malts. I’ve never tasted any of their beers before so I’m quite excited to check them out.

Beehive Brae, Brewgooder and Tempest will also be there with a variety of beers available.

Thistly Cross Cider will be bringing their Farmhouse Cider which is exclusive to North Hop Festivals. I’m not the biggest fan of cider but I really, really like this Farmhouse offering by Thistly. It’s so light and refreshing without being too sweet. You can definitely taste the apples (which are all donated by local apple tree owners) which is quite unusual for most of the ciders I’ve tried.

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Persie Gin from Blairgowrie are the third producer to make a special edition product for North Hop. Their Dog Days gin is served with a sliver of orange peel and lime, and Fevertree Tonic. The 20cl bottles are really cute and will be available for sale on the day. This was a very small batch so a one time opportunity to get your hands on it.

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10 Dollar Shake, The Fizz Bar, Auchtentoshan, The Glasgow Distillery Co and Aelder will all be there serving up delicious prosecco, whisky and cocktails, so there’s something for everyone.

There will also be some pretty tasty food vendors present including Babu Bombay Street Kitchen

Reekie’s Smokehouse, Street Food Putter Club, Wild Fig and Loch Fyne Oysters. There are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans amongst the producers.

Michelle Russell, North Hop Director said:

“I always describe North Hop as a blend of cocktail lounge meets beer hall with a unique atmosphere. North Hop is rustic yet refined, and has the feel of an outdoor festival with indoor conveniences, and luxuries. We’re passionate about introducing new tastes to new audiences and Scotland has so much to offer in terms of its food and drink.

“It’s a great time of year to host this kind of event because everyone is getting into the summer vibe. Tickets are selling fast so I’d advise everyone thinking about attending to buy now.”

There are three sessions running over the course of the weekend:

Friday 16 June 2017 – Evening Session – 7pm till 12am

Saturday 25 February 2017 – Afternoon Session – 12pm till 5pm

Saturday 25 February 2017 – Evening Session – 7pm till 12am

Tickets cost £17.50 per session and includes a festival glass, programme and a Festival Brew or Cider token for the St Andrews Bramble Saison or the Thistly Cross Farmhouse Cider.

WEBSITE northhop.co.uk

FACEBOOK facebook.com/northhop

TWITTER @northhop

INSTAGRAM instagram.com/northhop 

HASHTAG #northhopgla

Gift Guide for a Beer Lover

Father’s Day is in sight (Sunday 18th June to be precise) which prompted me to write this post. However, instead of making it Father’s Day specific, I decided to make it a general gift guide for a beer lover seeing as I’ll probably never be a father but would still love you like one of my own if you ever got me any of these things.

Beer pub map

In my opinion, there are few cities with a finer selection of pubs than Edinburgh so I absolutely love this Pubstops map of Auld Reekie. This edition is in conjunction with Stewart Brewing and covers the city right out as far as Newhaven, Currie, Musselburgh and Muirhouse. You can get it from Stewart Brewing brewery shop, Stewart’s Dockside Tap shop and Edinburgh Framing Company (77 Newington Road, EH9 1QW). Also available online here.

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Beer Glasses

Good beer needs a good glass. When you’re served a plate of food, your first impression is how it is presented and that can really alter your perceptions of the taste. The same goes for beer. Choosing the correct glass for each style of beer can add a bit of theatrics, as well as enhancing the taste of the beer inside. Beers of Europe and Beer Hawk both have a great selection of glasses of all shapes and sizes.

glasses

Flavourly craft beer gift box

As well as a monthly subscription, Flavourly also do one off gift boxes or a 3-month subscription which are a great surprise treat for beer lovers. You get a mixed case of 10 beers from the world’s best breweries plus the Flavourly magazine. The lovely guys at Flavourly have given Diary of a Beer Girl readers an exclusive 5% off the beer gift boxes using the code BEERGIRL5 in the run up to Father’s Day!

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Look the Part

Most breweries do some clothing merch like t-shirts, hoodies or caps so it’s worthwhile having a look on their website or emailing them to see what’s available. There’s also quite a lot of cool beer related t-shirts on Red Bubble, mostly hop-focused. I love this one:

hop tshirt

Brew your own beer experience

Both Drygate and Stewart brewing offer brew day experiences. These are slightly more expensive gifts (around £200) but perfect if you want to splash out or a group of you are clubbing together to buy someone a gift. It would also be a great idea for wedding favours – something personal and quite different! The idea is that an expert will help guide you through the brewing process with your input on how you want the beer to taste then after a few weeks once it’s conditioned and fermented, you can pick up bottles of the beer you brewed. You can also design your own labels or both sites will have people to help. I’ve seen the labels produced at Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen and there are some amazing designs.

Stewart Brewing Craft Beer Kitchen, Bilston Glen Industrial Estate, 26a Dryden Rd, Loanhead, Edinburgh EH20 9LZ

Drygate Brew your own Beer, 85 Drygate, Glasgow, G4 0UT

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Tickets to a beer festival

With the sun beginning to shine, beer festival season descends upon us. You could attend one every weekend of summer if you were dedicated enough and there’s bound to be one in close proximity to wherever you live in the UK. They’re always a great day out, trying lots of different beer and being surrounded by fellow beer lovers. Tickets vary quite a lot in price depending on the festival but usually aren’t too expensive so it’s a great idea for a present…plus they’ll need someone to go with so it’s a win/win gift idea really!

 

The Club Room at the Dome – New Steak Restaurant in Edinburgh

On Thursday 12th May I was invited to the launch night of the steak night at the Club Room of the Dome Restaurant in Edinburgh. The Dome is a bit of an Edinburgh institution, famous for its opulent Christmas lights and incredible décor. The menu is very simple – an option of three starters, Scotch Entrecôte steak with salad and unlimited fries for main followed by a choice of three desserts:

club room menu

When we first arrived, we were treated to a fizz reception in the Front Bar which was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t get a picture of the amazing chandeliers, but trust me, this bar certainly set the tone for what was to come:

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We were then taken through to the Club Room restaurant where our orders were taken:

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I really liked the table set up – there were booths for larger groups in the centre, with smaller tables round the outside of the room. It meant each table felt quite secluded and cosy but without being completely cut off from the atmosphere from the room. It also meant it would be the perfect place for a romantic dinner but equally suited to larger groups.

Service was very slick and the small menu meant choosing wasn’t too arduous a process. I like my steak rare, and it was cooked to perfection! Succulent, soft and absolutely delicious. The salad and chips made a great accompaniment, but really the steak spoke for itself. I chose the whisky rolled in oatmeal for starter and was actually genuinely surprised at how delicious it was. This is quite a common starter in Scottish restaurants but the Club Room version was by far the best I’ve ever had. The haggis was incredibly soft and flavourful and the whisky sauce was perfect. I was really, really impressed.

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DISCLAIMER: While the lighting made for a lovely atmosphere, it didn’t lend itself well to taking nice photos of food!

Although there are already quite a few steak restaurants in Edinburgh, I think the Club Room is a fab new addition and can hold it’s head very high against the competition. The décor and ambience can’t be beaten and it’s an all round experience to eat such delicious food in such a beautiful setting. It’s perfect for any celebratory occasion; graduation, birthday or anniversary and would also make a great place to entertain and impress clients. You can book via their telephone number or just click on the link below.

The Club Room, The Dome, 14 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PF

Book Here

Tel: 0131 624 8624