Thursday 7 July 2011

To Aberdeen and beyond... (Part II)


Welcome to part 2 of the Aberdeen story. But first a short overview of day 1: Me and Bongo had 27 different beers, met some cool people, ate great burgers and then slept for many, many hours. Our first day in Aberdeen was great, the Brewdog pub was awesome! Now here’s day 2, cheers…

N.B. Getting drunk is just a bi-product of drinking lots of good ale!

The place to be!

Saturday at 1100 hours: I woke up, grabbed a shower, and did my other necessities. No hangover, feeling well, nice! Ready to do it all over again! The city was gray, and the weather forecast said rain, but I felt great. “What a fine day to visit the pub”, I thought, but first we had to get some breakfast. We had been talking about Haggis and Fried Mars bar since before going to Aberdeen, we had a walk around town, looking for food, didn’t find any places open that served what we were looking for, so we ended up at KFC. Bongo bought the family value meal, with a bucket of chicken and four portions of frites. The service was crap and the food was medium at best, but it’s KFC, something we don’t have in Norway so we dug in like little children on a Saturday. Then we headed for the place we knew we would get great service…

Bongo eating breakfast at KFC!

We arrived at the Brewdog Bar 12:30. The bartender welcomed us, he was about to change kegs and offers us a taste of the "Mr Miyagi Wasabi Stout" planned for later that night. Dan, one of the bartenders at the pub made it at the Brewdog brewery just outside of town. The wasabi taste came into the picture at the end of the taste, nice and strong. We grabbed the beer menu and sat down, some dodgy looking person had already taken the couch we had the day before, so we were forced to taste wood at one of the benches by the wall. Slight criticism: It sure would be nice with some pillows dudes! But I guess not all guest and costumers that come in plan to stay for 12 hours drinking beer, he he. Before we decided what to order we were served two glasses of Brewdog’s very own “Royal Virility Performer”, basically it’s just a "spiked" mix of “Punk IPA” & “Hardcore IPA”, but there’s a taste there in the background I just can’t describe, maybe it’s the horny goat weed. By "spiked" I don't mean like a rape drug, more like the opposite, here drink this and want to have sex with me. Like a magic potion! A free stout and now a free IPA, what a way to start off the day! I asked if they had any hoodies size XL in stock, but they were out, bummer! Because one bad thing about the Brewdog web shop, is the hilarious 40 pounds postage fee if you order from Norway. We have to pay customs for anything that costs more than 22 pounds or 200 NOK, so it’s most practical to order for under that amount. And for alcohol you have to pay customs and surcharges. And adding 40 pounds on top of that, that’s just too much, even for me. The total for anything costing more than 22 pounds would almost become the same price as a cheap round trip flight ticket to Aberdeen. Sorry guys, I won’t be using the web shop, until…. *hint hint* ;) Do something about the postage fee! 

Do you want your ale to taste f**king awesome? Just drink a pilsner first…

The pub!

The first beer we bought was “Jinx Proof”, from the American brewery Three Floyds, it’s a pilsner. We would never buy a pilsner unless we really like the brewery, and Three Floyds is one brewery I want to try more from. Think about all the crappy pilsners you’ve drunk throughout your life. Life is just to damn short to drink the cheapest beer, way to short! But this is no cheap pilsner, and after the crazy yesterday we had it was nice to start, just a bit more careful! But that don’t mean we didn’t want great taste, we need our hop fix you know. Next one was the “Cali-Belgique IPA” from Stone brewery, more American beer. This one is identical to their normal IPA that was on tap Friday, only this one was made with Belgian yeast strains instead. So is this how Stone IPA would taste like if Stone were a Belgian brewery? Interesting! It was fun to taste how different, but still how similar they were. I liked it, but I prefer their normal IPA, which is no less than one of the best IPA’s ever! Next up: “Bitch please”, I was told by the bartender that the correct way to order this one was to say, “Bitch please, please…” This is a collaboration brew between Brewdog and the earlier mentioned American brewery Three Floyds. It's a barley wine at 12%, made with many different types of malt, among them Laphroig whisky malt. Laphroig is the peatiest and smokiest Scotch out there, my personal favorite! After fermentation this “bastard” of an ale was stored 8 months in used Jura single malt whisky barrels. So this one is only for you though sons of bitches! The dodgy person occupying the couches had finally left so we reclaimed our favorite spot again! Bongo got the next round, and brought back an old favorite! Nøgne Ø "God Jul" 2009 edition, nice, nice, nice… Brewed back in August 2009 with plenty of time to develop in the bottle. Spicy and tasty, it smelled like Christmas morning cookies, it’s a beer you really want to chew, and you should, literary, it’s that good! Smelled great, tasted great, ten out of ten points! Burger time, we were getting hungry and we didn’t want to leave just yet. So I ordered the beef burger with the Bramling X, ginger & pear chutney on! Who comes up with this stuff btw? Hops, pears & ginger as burger relish? Anyways it tasted awesome, just awesome, I wanna learn how to make this stuff myself… If I was a woman I probably would've asked them for the recipe!

Haffy chilling out!

Bongo and me had talked a lot about what beers to bring home, and the time to decide had finally come upon us, we wanted to get it done before we got too wasted, because we didn't plan to stop drinking before much later. I asked for a pen and a paper and started thinking. Bongo bought some Flying Dog, the “Double dog” double pale ale, and a “Tire bite” golden ale, the "Double dog" was quite good, but the "Tire bite" didn’t interest me much. I’m not into German style beers. So yeah, what beers to bring home, huh? I went through the menu, check out the beer fridges in the bar, and use all the power my processor got left. Scribble down a list, and ask the bartender to find out how many liters I got on my list in total. After a while he returned and told me I could bring one more bottle, you see the limit for bringing beer into Norway without paying costumes is 5 liters. So fuck the wine and fuck the booze, I only need beer! 13 really good beers for 100 pounds were brought to me in a sexy Brewdog box. Bongo did the same, only he didn’t give a f**k about the costumes fees. Neil the bar manager helped him out and started recommending different rare brews, really great service, "mummy can I bring him home"? Damn it I could take the whole goddamn bar home, and place it in the first floor of the house I live in! I want the people who serve me beer to know beer, is that to much to ask for? During Neil’s presentation of rare beers we bump into “The Kernel” a small London brewery, but more about them later. Neil asked us if we wanted some Brewdog shirts and we got complementary shirts, for using so much money in the bar. Thanks! We also got some pins for our jackets. Cool! When we were done, Neil called us a cab and we picked up our boxes and started walking towards the exit, then we got applause from the other costumers. KOOL! I think I said something like, “Gotta have some good beers at home too…”

Bongo got beer!

We ran up eight or nine carpeted stairs to the top floor, to the penthouse apartment. Then we ran down the stairs again to visit the local snack store next door, we bought some candy from a nice Indian lady. Then up the stairs again, to gorge in foreign candy. We chilled out for a short while, and then walked back to our favorite pub in Aberdeen. We’re not done with the story yet, we’re Norwegian goddamn it, and there was still more beer left that we hadn’t tried! Back at the Brewdog pub all tables were occupied, and all seats too, the time was almost 20:00 and I was worrying that we would have to stand and drink the rest of the night, cause that would’ve mother**king sucked! Mark, one of the bartenders were playing guitar and singing as part of the entertainment for the beer festival. I went to the bar to get something to drink, I pick up Nøgne Ø's "Andhrimnir Barley Wine" that was brewed back in June 2009. It haven’t been available in Norway since then, so great I got to try that one again, it’s a one off brew, meaning only brewed once, so I was happy I got the opportunity. At 10% this was hardcore shit, brewed by Superstar home brewer Gahr Smith-Gahrsen who won the Norwegian championship for home brewers in 2009. What to say about it? A fucking good barley wine, I wished I bought it for bringing home, it was their last bottle. And it was a beautiful bottle with a picture of a Viking ship on it, and the story behind the name was written on the back label of the bottle. I love Norse mythology! So anyways at this point my hawk eyes had found something resembling an available place to sit. We walked over and asked if the space was available and got a yes. So we sat our asses down and started talking to two local guys, a oil worker and a computer cop.

Dan & Bruce with the Wasabi Stout!

Clock striked 20:00 and two of the bartenders Dan & Bruce jumped up on the bar to introduce the new beer of the day: “Mr. Miyagi Wasabi Stout”! Dan the blonde silent bartender was responsible for this brew, and with a Kamikaze bandana, clip-on braces and ninja moves he proudly introduce the very original brew, just slightly interrupted by hecklers before it was ready to be served. Of course we bought a glass, cause we rather enjoyed the sample we tried that same morning! So there we sat with a Scottish cop, drinking Wasabi stouts at 8%, discussing how a pinky finger could be used to better pleasure your partner, not exactly what I had imagined before the trip. No matter, good fun, I'm not alone in this crazy silly world, not the only one with shitty humor...

Bongo with a new friend!

The Kernel brewery was introduced to us earlier, when we bought the take away beers from Bar Manager Neil. The Kernel brewery resides under a railway arch just by Maltby Street in London. In a small room, where all the brewing takes place 6 days a week, and at Saturdays they open the gate to sell their beers. The Borough marked is a place in London where freshly produced foods and drinks have been sold since before the 12th century. Every Saturday morning Evin O’Riordain opens the garage port and sells the beer he has made in that same room. Evin is an Irishman and actually looks like "The Mad Irishman" from Braveheart. A trains passes about every 30 seconds, the room shakes, it’s cold and the work is hard, it sounds romantic but it’s probably everything but romantic! The beers made by “The Kernel” is a piece of art and I can’t help but to think, no pain = no art! So of course he is doomed to stay under the railway arch like some crazy “Phantom of the Opera” figure forever. The Kernel does everything themselves and Evin has two employees, together they do everything from brewing to bottling and they even make the etiquettes, which is just name stapled on a piece of paper and glued to the bottles, he he… We tried “Imperial Brown Stout London 1858”, “Imperial stout” & “India Pale Ale Black” these three ticked in at 10,1, 12,5 and 7,2%. All of them tasted awesome! Evin brews his beer inspired by the time when London was the beer capitol of the world, and how can you not respect a man on that kind of a mission? DIY! He taught himself, just by reading tips on the Internet and getting to it! “Some tips were good, some bad” he said in an interview, “but making beer is easy”. The Kernel now sells beer to many of London’s finest restaurant and has increased massively the last years. Changing to bigger better locations have been considered, but I think a part of the success is also in the limitations. I will definitively visit this place next time I’m in London. And I will recommend it for anybody I know going to London, cheers Evin, good work!

The Kernel

At 22:00 the bartender Neil jumped up on the bar to introduce the night’s last surprise. And the beer thirsty crowd got a choice! And the beer that got the loudest cheers, was to be served on tap for the rest of the night. The first alternative was a beer I’ve tried on tap before, (Forgot which) so I scream for the second choice, Stone “Old Guardian”, and it won. Stone’s “Old Guardian” is a strong mother**ker, a 11,2% barley wine, I really like barley wines. A small search on the net and I see that it’s been made in different versions, but I will just assume that I got the ordinary one. Sorry to say so, I can’t remember the taste of this one, but I love Stone, gooooooo Stone! Next one up was the “Black Chocolate Stout” from “Brooklyn Brewery”. These guys from New York have made a name for themselves in Norway lately, and suddenly I see them all over the place. I’m a fan of their East India Pale Ale and Brown Ale, but the Chocolate Stout was in a class of it’s own, this 10,6% “chocoloca magnificente über alles bier” is made every year for the winter season. I love seasonal beer, it’s something to look forward to, and something to store, and it’s something special, and that makes it more special. And if we can have it all the time, it’s not special anymore! This beer is a rendition of the Imperial Stout that once was made for “Catherine The Great”, I can’t help but to think how great it would be to drink the beer of the Tsar family back in those days, ahh you would probably get your head chopped off for even looking at their stuff! Can't wait to visit Brooklyn Brewery in September, New York, New York!

James Watt of Brewdog & Dirty Haffy of Die By The Beer Blog.

Both James Watt and Martin Dickie had been so nice to answer all the e-mails I sent with questions before we went to Aberdeen. So when James Watt showed up, of course I had to go and have a chat. I notice he was talking to some Splatterpunk/Mad max villain before I went to say hi, and that was the only person I noticed at the Brewdog pub that looked like a freak, you would think more punks would be interested in the punks of beer! Eh, maybe there aren’t any punks left in Aberdeen, maybe the whole music scene has turned Emo! So we had a chat, James and I, and he said that next time I’m in town I can just show up at the brewery for a tour, that’s basically what he said in the mails to, but we were all to busy with this beer festival, drinking and such, to actually do it. He also revealed that we could look forward to lots of new stuff soon. I dig their v-blogs so I asked if they hire someone to do it for them, but he claimed they do it all on their own, cool cool. There’s many plans for new pubs and it might even pop up one in Norway. James was a cool guy, and I really think he and Martin have done a excellent job in creating the Brewdog brand. Really curious on how big they can get, or how big they want to become. As long as there’s no compromise with the brew, I’m fine with them becoming a big brand, damn it, I hope they do get big, bigger, biggest! I’ll be like, “yeah I’ve been drinking their stuff since 2008, how bout you?”

Good beer from "The Bruery!"

It was getting late, but we had no intentions of quitting before closing time, as Vikings we always have to battle on, always and forever, till the bitter end and beyond! So the next one up was the “Coton” from the California brewery “The Bruery”. This 14,5% hardcore “old ale” is made in occasion of The Bruery’s second year anniversary. 25% of the ale was aged in bourbon barrels, but with that strength I think 25% of the ale was bourbon, or were someone playing tricks on me? Bummed out by not remembering the Mikkeller’s “Beer Geek Brunch Weasel” the day before, I went to the bar for another bottle of this very special brew. Here you actually drink something that have been shat out of an animals ass, and it tasted awesome, but what the fuck is it? The weasel coffee or “Ca Phe Chon” is made in Vietnam, where the little cute animal “Asian Palm Civet” eats the beans from the coffee berries. After passing through their digestive system a nice little Vietnamese man or woman gathers them before washing, sun drying & roasting the beans. And what do you then get? A less bitter and very aromatic coffee, know as the worlds most expensive coffee. Anyway the “Beer Geek Brunch Weasel” is brewed my Mikkeller at Nøgne Ø brewery in Grimstad. It’s a ”Imperial Oatmeal Stout”, very dark, and then a bit darker, you know, just a bit darker than black. Taste of chocolate, coffee and general darkness, extremely well balanced. But don’t be fooled it packs a lot of heat with it’s powerful 10,9% of alcohol. This one is extremely high on my list of recommendations, “try or die” as Bongo would’ve said it! The last beer of the night is an old favorite of mine. They used to have it on tap at Cardinal, my hometown hangout. Mikkeller’s “Beer Geek Bacon” used to be awesome! A beer with bacon! The cop sitting with us starts talking about pigs and bacon and beer and we have a whole séance with humor on that theme, its funny cause he’s a pig too. OINK OINK! Anyway one of the female bartenders asked us what we thought of it, and this is before I’ve had a sip. This is the bartender that smiled the most to us, the one with the big you know what’s, really cute gal. She said she didn’t like it because it only tasted like smoke, like the brewery burned down while they bottled it or something!?! I of course defended it, “I’ve tried this one before!” “Blah blah blah”, the response was something like “What haven’t you tried big boy?” ;) Or at least that’s what I heard. And I remembered how good it was on tap, but I couldn’t help it but to agree with the girl. It was way too smoked, so I came up with the idea that when I got home, I needed to add more bacon to it to fix it! (I actually did this, it did fix the problem, but it created another, I didn’t get rid of all the fat from the bacon so the beer died!) So there we sat, the bar was getting empty, people were leaving for the clubs or home. It was 01:00, closing time at a civilized place in Scotland. No dirty chicks with ugly teeth and mini skirts, no skanks, no wasted sob’s, just a nice quiet place. Felt like a perfect ending, except for that last beer that didn’t end on a high note. But still I felt satisfied! So we had a little chat with Neil the bar manager and the busty bartender. Yes we talked about beer, the never-ending subject. I recommend the local Lervig “Konrad’s stout”, he said, “wait a minute”, and return with a Lervik “Winter ale”. Pretty cool to find a local beer from my town in Aberdeen! Then we thank them for the excellent service and promised to return, before we wandered into the night…

Fantastic ale!

Hey, don’t fall asleep. We’re still on a mission man, “Mission Deep-Fried Mars Bar”. This is not about beer anymore, but we were still drunk, that gotta count for something! We walked past the churches, this time with doors opened. Colorful lights and techno music echoed out into the streets. Skanky hoes with ugly teeth and way too short skirts were everywhere. “Butt Cheeks Street here we go.” Some dudes were arguing, some chick was crying and her make-up was everywhere, like she was trying to look like Heath Ledger as the Joker, her girlfriends were comforting her saying, “Never mind him, he was an asshole, let’s find you another one”, she replied “But I love him” and hulked on. Just another night in Aberdeen I guess, just another night in any town probably. We arrived at Marco’s Fast Food to get what’s regarded, as one of the 10 unhealthiest foods on the planet called earth, if there actually was a real “Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” this food would probably be mentioned. When we ordered the “Fried Mars Bar” the staff looked at us with a judgmental stare: “Fucking tourists!” They dipped the bars in some nasty batter before putting them into the fryer. A couple of minutes later and we were walking the streets again, eating deep-fried mars bars, mission accomplished! And it didn’t taste bad at all, I kind of like it, hot chocolate bonanza! So Bongo and me wandered the streets, past all the grey houses, it was quiet, extremely quiet for a “big” city. It was time to hit the sacks again, and this night there were no near death accidents or coach sleeping’s or stuff like that…

Healthy foods: Deep fried Mars Bar and Onion rings!

Sunday morning and and we still had some hours till our flight left, and still one mission to fulfill. Gotta eat some Haggis man, so we returned to “The Archibald Simpson”, the place with the lousy beers and order their “award winning” Haggis. 20 minutes later we’re served something that looks extremely similar to how I expect it will look on it’s way out of my body. A big poop between some mashed potatoes and turnips, Haggis was nice, I will not mind trying it again, tastes like (In lack of better words) spicy sheep something!?! Afterwards I went to the toilet, and I’m not kidding, I had to go through 7 doors and go up two stairs just to find the shitter. And what do I find in the bathroom? A couch, hehe, that’s so nasty, such a classy place! At Starbucks before we picked up our luggage at the hotel, Bongo was served a coffee with white chocolate, and for some reason there was yellow fat floating in it. Nuff said, we left and headed for the airport. When we arrived in Stavanger I talked to the costumes officer, she said, “beer is beer no matter how strong it is”, and I went trough without paying anything extra. Bongo brought a bit more than what's allowed and started unpacking his beers, they just look funny at him and told him he to pass, probably thinking, “Fuck that!” (“Dette gidder jeg ikke!”) He passed without any fee, just another bonus from a great trip!

Haggis: The pride of Scotland!

If you’d read through all this, you deserve a beer now, the one you opened at the start of this story is probably empty, anyway that’s at least what I’m gonna do now, have a beer!

The beers I brought home... Mmmm...

- Dirty Haffy

P.S. as I'm publishing this I'm on my way to another adventure, Mikkeller bar in Copenhagen, that will probably be my next story!


  1. Herlig! Flott innlegg! Må definitivt få besøkt Brewdog Aberdeen! Har heller ikke vært på Mikkeller Bar. Har feriert i Danmark minst 12 somre, så det har ikke manglet på muligheter, men Mikkeller åpnet faktisk etter mitt siste sommerbesøk. Årets sommerferie går dessuten i en helt annen retning. Dessverre...
    Sees vi på ølfestivalen på Nærbø?

  2. The Kernel is on 88 Druid Street. Basically under a railway. It's a small brew plant. I also recommend The Southampton Arms in Kentish Town, Cask Pub and Kitchen in Pimlico, Craft Beer Company, Dean Swift, there's a few. These beers have already made it to Denmark and Finland because of me.