A weekend in Aberdeen

This weekend I found myself in Aberdeen. This came as no big surprise as I had gotten on a plane to that very destination. The reason of course was to attend the AGM of the Scotish Brewer, which many others have blogged and will blog about; so I'll not say much here. Their pub caused me to jump of the bus a few stops early though.

Marischal College
I was impressed with Aberdeen as a city. Having not been before I enjoyed visits to the Art Gallery and Maritime Museum alongside wondering the streets marvelling at the fantastic granite architecture. I even stumbled across a farmer's market and sampled some artisinal cheeses from an up-and-coming Scottish cheese maker.

Busy Grill
It wasn't all fun and games though, I had some serious pub research to do so. Starting out in The Grill (closest to my place of abode) I went for a Deeside IPA. Not having had any from this local brewery before I wasn't sure what to expect. I loved it. A proper British-hopped IPA with a really sicy Challenger note, plenty of bitterness and a decent 5.7% ABV, none of this session-strength bollocks here! The bar itself is an award-winning whisky destination and there was a massive array available...they'll have to wait for another day.

Unassuming Entry
Next up was a cellar bar...part of a hotel (The Brentwood) no less and with ten hand pumps. A selection of session strength offerings was the order of the day, with both national and local brands available. Having followed the pseudo-Burton debate on B&B's and Martyn's blogs recently I chose to try "Burton Ale" - really a pale ale. Another enjoyable find: an arthy fuggles nose without the metallic note that i find so off-putting in some. A creamy texture herbal to taste at first, think weak tea with a shortcake biscuit dunked into it. Then someone squeezed the teabag and added some tannic bitterness and stinging nettles to the finish. A nice drop, style traitor or otherwise.

Slain's Castle
We also visited a pub inside a converted church -Slain's Castle. Decked out inside like a medieval dungeon, replete with gargoyles, skeletons and cobwebs, its not so OTT as to be tacky and gives the pub something unique.Only two cask beers to choose from here but both in good nick. I went for an old favourite Black Sheep Bitter and was almost charged for two pints instead of pint and a half. Prices must have been well north of £3.50 a pint however as I got no change from a  fiver even with 20 per-cent CAMRA discount.

Scotty and Phil
Of course, no visit would be complete without a visit to the eponymous bar of the aforementioned brewer. Here i was well looked after by Phil and assistant manager Scotty on multiple occasions, the Friday night being particularly busy. I got through Libertine Black Ale, Anarchist Alchemist, Barrel Aged 77 Lager, Nogne O Tiger Tripel, Chris From Stone's Stout, Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and Cantillion Kriek - not a duff beer amongst them.

Brewing up a Storm
We were also treated to a goodly selection of beers at the AGM itself, which Craig has written about here. My personal favourites were the American Saison and libertine black ale, but Dog A was also amazingly good, if a little boozy for five of the evening clock! There was a batch of beer being brewed on the pilot plant at the AGM with galena hops

In all then Aberdeen does have some decent pubs and I didn't even get a chance to check out MUSA or the Moorings on the waterfront, certainly more to see and I'll definitely aim to return another day.


  1. I also couldn't resist hopping off the bus early when I saw we were passing the bar. Cantillon Kriek on tap was a fantastic introduction to the city. We took a trip down to http://www.marinehotelstonehaven.co.uk/ on the Friday. Fantastic selection of beers and very friendly & helpful staff (who even dug out their last unibroue fin du monde for us when we discovered it was no longer on the menu). We'd kept the Moorings as a Sunday visit, but they were closed, and avoided Slain's Castle, but kept going back to the Beautiful Mountain across the street for breakfasts.

    Saturday night in the Brewdog bar was immense (even though I managed to forget that I had a shareholder discount). http://untappd.com/user/beinmysolo and http://www.flickr.com/photos/beinmysolo/sets/ sum it up a bit better.

    1. certainly an impressive lineup! Certainly missed a few of those by not sticking at brewdog on sat, but i'd had too much too quickly anyway. If I'd realised you were there could have aimed to meet up.

  2. Sounds like a fun trip. I've yet to visit Scotland and it's something that should be rectified.

  3. It has taken me to read this blog to remember I had a brief and incoherent chat with you on the Saturday...Hope you found the fiancée!

    PS did not like American Saison at all. Too much ginger not enough hops. The rest of the beers were excellent.

    1. Yes, she was watching the bands with a journalist! I'd completely forgotten who I'd talked too and drank far too much...good day then!

  4. I guess someone had to be watching the bands....

    Yes was fun but the bands were a bit superfluous if you ask me. And the food was pants.

    1. The whole venue was a bit vacuous, there could have been more done to decorate it. The pilot brew wasn't given enough promo. Food provision was poor, especially for veggies.

      But great beer prices made up for it and the business meeting was fun an dinformative too, that's teh two main things I went for