Craft beer and gin experiences are taking the north east by storm.
Scottish Field uncovers 10 businesses who are bringing drinks to the people, locally and nationally.
Located on the historic eastern shore of Loch Auchlossan, the Lost Loch Distillery is nestled away between forest and farmland on the edge of the beautiful Cairngorms National Park. The ethos of the team here is to be inventive in their thinking, to look at history for inspiration and to produce a range of unique spirits that have local provenance as well as international appeal.
Alongside their eenoo Gin – which is distilled with Royal Deeside honey – these distillers also produce Haroosh, a whisky-based spirit that’s infused with local brambles, honey; and Murmichan, their very own Scottish Absinthe. Email email@example.com directly to arrange a tour of their distillery.
This year sees the third annual Aberdeen Gin Fest returning to the city. In the short time it’s been running, this event has gone from strength to strength and has already earned its place as a firm favourite among craft gin enthusiasts.
With the opportunity to sample a variety of gins and learn first-hand about the products from the producers, the festival is a relaxed and friendly place to indulge in one of the nation’s favourite tipples. With live music and the best of local food also being dished up, there’s certainly something for everyone. Craft whiskys, beers and mixers also available. Book your tickets now – this one’s not to be missed.
It may be a slightly further drive for those of us in Aberdeen, but it’s worth it. Caorunn Gin is handcrafted in small batches at Balmenach Distillery in the Scottish Highlands where the spirit is infused with six traditional and five Celtic, handpicked botanicals in the world’s only working copper berry chamber. Pre-booking for a tour at the distillery is essential. Guests on the Caorunn Gin Tour will gain an insight into their production process through a behind-the-scenes tour. After the guided tour you will then be treated to a tutored nosing and tasting session. Each session features Caorunn’s five locally foraged and six traditional botanicals, botanical essences, and a neat sample of Caorunn. The experience then closes with a refreshing Caorunn and tonic with crisp red apple wedges.
A very different kind of dog walk is on offer at Ellon – a trip to the heart of BrewDog’s massive HQ. Just like the beer itself, you’d expect these tours to be a bit quirky, and they certainly don’t disappoint. An interactive experience, you’ll get the chance to see around HQ as well as the company’s new 30,000L brewhouse, their inhouse gin distillery for LoneWolf, the original brewkit and packaging lines. If you go along at the weekend you’ll also see OverWorks, their sour beer facility. The tour includes four tastings.
Looking for some gin-inspired tomfoolery? If you’re local to the Garioch and would like to experience some new tasty tipples, why not try Inverurie’s Scottish Gin Club? The club meets on a monthly basis on the second Thursday of each month at the Inverurie Whisky Shop, offering members the chance to attend a range of tasting events, distillery talks, and mixology and cocktail classes. According to the IGC’s website, fun, friendship and the love of juniper juice is at the heart of all they do.
Haddo House is a rather extraordinary place. The 18th-century National Trust property is set in lush Buchan countryside and, although it is perhaps not a venue you’d immediately associate with Mother’s Ruin, they’ve recently held gin tastings with a difference. The Gin Safari tours take you around some of Haddo House’s stately rooms and unseen areas – with each stop including some history, a unique gin and a food pairing that relate to the time period in question Keep an eye on the website for next available event.
In 2009 Ben, Josh and Alex decided to turn the basement of their bar into Orchid, a micro-distillery. Based on Aberdeen’s Langstane Place, they set out to create new, innovative gin recipes that showcase Mother’s Ruin at its best. The team sourced a rotary evaporator – a unique piece of equipment that allows botanicals to be distilled at low temperatures. This ‘cold distillation’ process keeps in more of the natural flavour profiles from botanicals that might otherwise be damaged by heat. They run regular in-house mixology lessons, gin tasting and whisky classes at Orchid – check out their website for upcoming events.
Head to Peterhead, the most easterly town in Scotland, to see how Brew Toon produce their award-winning small batch craft beer in the newly established 10-barrel microbrewery. Enjoy a beer or two as you are shown around the brewery and taught how to make quality, hand-crafted beer. After the tour you will be taken through to the Cafe Bar where you can sample some of their headliner craft beers and compare tasting notes with the bar staff.
The microbrewery uses local products where possible, like the top quality local raspberries that are crammed into their raspberry cream ale.
Ever wondered about the botanicals in your gin, or how Scotch whisky is made? Learn more at The Tippling House’s interactive tasting workshops, based on Aberdeen’s Belmont Street. At these sessions you’ll learn all about fermentation, distillation and maturation, nosing and tasting their selection of wines and spirits. Already know your way around Scotland’s whiskies? How about bourbon or Japanese whisky? Each tasting academy promises to deliver new and interesting aromas and flavours, even for the connoisseurs out there.
Wine and cheese? So last century. BrewDog’s Castlegate bar has started the latest food and drink revolution – beer and cheese. In association with the city’s Gourmet Cheese Co, BrewDog has brought together the best of both worlds for their latest beer and cheese school. It’s a regular fixture, happening on the last Thursday of every month, with each tutorial featuring five different beers and cheeses to try. What more could you ask for on a school night?