Every brewery in Scotland is exciting. I hope we tick a few boxes others have not, and head off in a direction suited to our expertise, passion and the UK drinkers’ palate/interest.
The words of Stonehaven-based Robert Lindsay, who is about to launch yet another brewery into the Scottish market. That direction he was talking about, if you look at a map, is roughly south south-east – a heading that points from Aberdeenshire to the beer heartlands of Flanders and Wallonia. Robert – or BrewBob, as he signs himself – intends to open Scotland’s only dedicated Belgian-style brewery – SIX°NORTH.* And why not? As Bob says, he wants to tick a few different boxes – plenty of breweries north of the border have put out Belgian-style beers before, why not go the whole nine yards?
*As with Scotland’s other European-specific producers, WEST, the capital letters are fixed, it seems
Bob was born and raised in Stoney, but lived in Belgium for three years, learning his brewing trade there, with the locals. Since returning to these shores, he’s owned and operated the Marine Hotel in the town – which already looks to be something of a beacon, with apparently over 150 Belgian beers on offer. However, for many years Bob’s nagging idea has been to put together his own facility, and to augment the bottled multitude with draught versions of the real thing, made on the wind-beaten Aberdeenshire coastline.
So, from April, SIX°NORTH will be brewing a range of beers in the Belgian style – mostly for keg and bottle (although some will potentially also go into casks). Their 20HL kit arrived intact from China, and trial brews are being performed at this very moment. To begin with, Bob has planned a range of releases to cover most of the spectrum – blond, wheat, saison, dubbel and tripel. Beyond that, though, are other derivatives such as Belgian-style stouts, fruit beers, and even…lambic.
The holy (spontaneously fermenting) grail has been suggested by one or two Scottish brewers in the past, and there must be many more who have looked half-heartedly in the direction of the Senne Valley. Time will tell – quite literally – if the wild flora of Scotland can support commercial lambic production, but in the meantime, Bob will clearly have his hands full with the other styles on his checklist. Once the final trial brews have been completed, things should move fairly swiftly, and SIX°NORTH beer will arrive on the bar at the Marine Hotel in Stonehaven.
It seems as if Bob isn’t a ‘resting on the laurels’ type, though, as not content with stocking his own hotel, there’s another project in the pipeline. Belgian beer fans based in Aberdeenshire will be looking forward to May, when SIX°NORTH’s own ‘craft’ bar opens (in a currently undisclosed location). Plans are with the architects at the moment, and so within a few months, SIX°NORTH’s beers will appear in a bespoke bar – alongside a rumoured twenty other Belgians on draught, plus a three-figure number of bottles.
The beer scene in the north-east has been transformed recently – once BrewBob and SIX°NORTH get underway, more of those boxes are set to be ticked.
The Marine Hotel, Stonehaven