Monday, 9 May 2016

North Hop Aberdeen


Last weekend Gordon and I made our way to North Hop for a few bank holiday beers and foodie treats. The festival celebrates some of the best food and drink creators that Scotland has to offer, showcasing local vendors at events up and down the country. Aberdeen was lucky enough to host three sessions over the May Day weekend at the AECC. The event was small in size (compared to Brewdog's AGM!) but was full of chilled out, happy vibes with everybody there for the same reason - to fully appreciate the finest craft beers, gins and cocktails around!


Craft Beer

Upon arrival each guest recieves their own North Hop glass, along with a token for one free drink (which justifies the ticket fee to me!) and a programme letting you know what to look out for. The glass is yours to keep and it's what the bars will use to serve your drinks in throughout the session, so don't lose it! I won't pretend to be any kind of beer expert but there was plenty on offer and Gordon happily made his way around the various breweries. He started at West Brewery (who disappointingly weren't serving his favourite St Mungo!) followed by local legends Six Degrees North, Drygate Brewing Co and his top pick of the night - Williams Bros with their Double Joker IPA.


It's not all about the beer...

Whether you're a gin hand or more of a rum fan, enjoy an ice cold cider or a fruit wine, an enthusiastically shaken cocktail or a sophisticated whiskey - there's something for everyone at North Hop. My only gripe is that there isn't much on offer for the designated driver (me)! Luckily my favourite cocktail connoisseurs 10 Dollar Shake came to the rescue and fixed me up with an epic mocktail, while Gordon sampled their whiskey flight. 

We enjoyed a taste of Eden Mill's North Hop exclusive chilli and ginger gin, and ended up buying number 88 of only 200 bottles - best served with ginger ale! Gin was a big deal at the festival with offerings from Juniper, Rock Rose and Aberdeen's very own Porter's. Next year I'll be leaving the car at home - you'll find me in the cocktail lounge!


The Street Food

Where do I even start with the food? If it wasn't for my wedding diet I would of eaten everything! We sampled some delicious Scotch eggs from Aye Love Real Food - the chorizo was divine with chilli jam but the black pudding won hands down! Our second stop was Cue, where Gordon was treated to the mouth watering house burger and I admired their BBQ hut which will be appearing at our wedding later this year! 

We pretty much made it a full 3 course meal and made a beeline for dessert at The Crema Caravan. A beautiful retro van named Florence serving beautiful creme brulee, burnt to order! I was tempted by rhubard and custard but thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate brownie with salted caramel sauce. Gordon made the best decision though with the chocolate stout "craft-brew-ley"! Perfectly chocolatey with just a hint of malty goodness. 


Our bellies were full, but luckily many vendors were happy to hand out mini samples, so we were fortunate enough to taste some gourmet popcorn flavours from Poporopo - the gin and tonic was an unusual but delicious creation, and you can never go wrong with peanut butter! (Unless you're allergic, in which case, STEP AWAY FROM THE PEANUT BUTTER. More for me.) 

Last but not least, Stew n Drew's cannot go unmentioned! Stew was happy to talk us through their ice cream flavours, including the Brewdog beer infused Elvis Juice sorbet and Jet Black Heart ice cream. Apparently Brewdog are keen to get this on the menu at their new Castlegate venue and I think it'd go down a storm! The whiskey ice cream was also created specially for North Hop and won Gordon over very quickly.


We had a great time at North Hop and can't wait to bring our chums along next year! I loved the atmosphere and the whole relaxed set up - especially the trestle tables and hay bale seating. It was a pleasure to meet the vendors, most of whom were the actual business owners themselves, and excitedly offered samples and talked you through their products. It's really refreshing to meet people who are so passionate about what they do! There was a good mix of live music, from acoustic guitar players to DJs, and we had a ball in the photo booth. My only regret is that I didn't have enough macros for The Bay on the Road's fish and chips!

Look out for North Hop at a venue near you - they're hitting up Glasgow with 2 sessions on 18th June - get involved!

Have you ever been to a beer festival?


*I was invited by event organisers to enjoy North Hop Aberdeen. This does not affect my views which are all 100% genuine and my own.

2 comments:

  1. I was also there! Was a great setup and will definitely be going again. Shame you were the driver.

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    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I won't be making the same mistake next year ;)

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