Day three, really – having been at the Trade Session on the Wednesday – but the second day of the SRAF is always the busy one, occurring on a Friday. And so it proved, as we turned up to Adam House* to find an enormous queue stretching round the block. Having piled our way through twenty-three different beers over the previous two days, and faced with the prospect of queuing in the rain for another shot, we decided to check out the other beer festival currently happening in the city.
BrewDog have been hosting an ‘alternative’ beer festival all week just round the corner, so we descended into Little Saigon and levered our way inside to find….a fairly typical Friday night in the BrewDog Bar. The only thing slightly out of the ordinary was the mythical hopinator bubbling away, coursing a different edge through Punk IPA. In fact, I much preferred it to the new Punk recipe, the sweeter hops gave the beer a more rounded edge – which itself is more rounded than Punk Mark I.
BrewDog are all about the tinkering, and I’m not sure what they’ve done to Chaos Theory but it’s far more bitter than it used to be – some puckering astringency on the end where there used to be citrusy grapefruit. Royal Virility Performance was also on, but we went straight for the only non-BD beer on offer – a strangely non-inclusive vibe for a ‘beer festival’. Lost Abbey Angel’s Share is a monstrous 12.5% oak-aged barley wine that feels like drinking Irish creosote. Thick, chewy tar, mixed with that sweet boozy alcohol and fruity chocolate. Just incredible.
At this stage the bar was crammed to capacity, so we headed out and watched a couple of the Cowgate’s finest inviting out a couple of doormen for an altercation, as a group of twenty men dressed as Where’s Wally? meandered past. Not something you see outside the SRAF. We also bumped into one of our other contributors who said the heat had been so intense in the SRAF venue he’d decided to leave – so maybe it was the better decision to seek out the alternative, such as it was.
Best beer of day two of the SRAF – Lost Abbey Angel’s Share
*Apart from a certain BeerCaster, who went to the Assembly Rooms on George Street – venue for last year’s festival…