Tag Archives: SIX°NORTH

Beer of the Week – Six Degrees North Hop Classic

Friday is here again so there’s just a single item of business to take care of before the weekend can begin. Another recommendation from yours truly of a single beer that I believe is currently flying under the radar and deserves a little more recognition. With so many new beers appearing on the Scottish scene every month it can be hard (but enjoyable) to keep up. Hence this series of fifty-two unsung Scottish beers.

This week’s entrant is a beer from this country that very much looks to another – and of course that is one of the most fascinating things about brewing. It doesn’t matter where you try your hand, the styles of beers that result can be from anywhere around the world if you have the ingredients, water character and pitch the right yeast. And when it comes to yeast, the Continent is the place to go. Except not in the case of this particular beer; you just need to head to Aberdeenshire.

49. Hop Classic (6.6%)
six°north, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Style: Belgian IPA
330ml bottle

Pick it up here:
At at EEBRIA online (as individual 330ml bottles)

This is a serious collection of different flavours; floral, fruity, spicy, bittersweet (even if that’s more of a sensation) and much of it driven by the yeast. But that is the powerhouse that drives much of Belgian life and it’s very much in evidence here. Belgian IPA is a style I don’t get much of, being drawn to beefier numbers when I reach for the shelf marked with flags of the Low Countries. But to find one brewed in Scotland is fantastic, and Hop Classic is a similarly fantastic beer from the always excellent six°north.

Beer of the Week Series:
1. Fyne Ales Highlander
2. Swannay Old Norway
3. Broughton Old Jock
4. Traquair House Ale
5. Tempest Easy Livin Pils
6. Cromarty Brewed Awakening
7. Fallen Chew Chew
8. Black Isle Hibernator
9. Isle of Skye Red
10. Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve
11. Orkney Skull Splitter
12. Windswept Wolf
13. Kelburn Dark Moor
14. Alechemy 5ive Sisters
15. Loch Ness Light Ness
16. St Andrews Eighty Bob
17. Harviestoun The Ridge
18. Orkney Dark Island
19. Williams Bros Seven Giraffes
20. Cairngorm Black Gold
21. Strathaven Craigmill Mild
22. Black Isle Red Kite
23. Spey Valley Spey Stout
24. Top Out Schmankerl
25. Cross Borders Braw
26. Williams Bros Midnight Sun
27. BrewDog Kingpin
28. Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack
29. Deeside MacBeth
30. Drygate Ax Man Red Rye IPA
31. Swannay Orkney Session
32. Fallen Platform C
33. Black Isle Porter
34. Top Out Altbier
35. Black Metal Gates of Valhalla
36. Fierce Beer Cranachan Killer
37. Loch Lomond Southern Summit
38. Tempest Old Parochial
39. Williams Bros Profanity Stout
40. Windswept Tornado
41. Campervan Pacific Zest
42. Swannay Sneaky Wee Orkney Stout
43. Cromarty Ghost Town
44. Fyne Ales Vital Spark
45. Knops Musselburgh Broke
46. Orkney Red MacGregor
47. Cross Borders Porter
48. BrewDog Jack Hammer

In praise of…Six°North, Aberdeen

SixNorth1

Belgian beer has an unmistakable mystique surrounding it, one that (if I wanted to verge completely into pseud’s corner) I would say transcends boundaries. I’ve been to small Adriatic islands where the only options are base lager, but there’s a small bar that sells Orval, and has Tripel Karmeliet tin-signs up on the walls. For such a small country, its beers reach far beyond the boundaries of the low countries. As such, Aberdeen is a city that you could never describe in terms similar to Adriatic islands – there’s much more of a historic beer culture there, for a start (before comparisons relating to the weather are even considered). Yet, down a twisting side-street a short stroll from the BrewDog bar, there recently opened Six°North, a Belgian-themed beer bar that immediately stands out.

Six°North is a brewery tap for the producer of the same name, subtitled ‘the Belgian brewers of Scotland’, who operate from the Marine Hotel in Stonehaven. As such, Six°North have their hometown tap already in place, in the guise of the hotel, but founder Robert Lindsay was keen right from the start to get his beers into the nearest major market. The 6°n bar opened only a couple of months ago, and still looks extremely new – but it also looks the business, with several nods to traditional Belgian taphouses; plenty of basic, convivial seating, and the chrome tap surrounds that bracket the bar counter. The beer list – which is suitably enormous – is written on the highest chalkboard I’ve ever seen, right up in the rafters.

It’s a welcoming space, with a front room overlooking the street, and a central communal area with a large balcony above. Home beers are well represented, as you’d expect, with five Six°North kegged beers and a single cask on offer, alongside another nineteen kegged offerings and a couple of casks. There are Scottish notables such as Cromarty, Tiny Rebel and Alechemy, but 6°n is, first and foremost, a Belgian bar. And it’s a cracker. As Six°North find their feet as a brewery, to have these notable bedfellows on tap in their bar must be hugely exciting – certainly I never expected to be able to drink Troubador Magma in Scotland. But then, that’s Belgian beer for you. As those Adriatic islands attest, the joy of Belgian beer is that it travels well – and in Abderdeen, has found a new destination.



Six°North, 6 Littlejohn Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1FF
Website / Twitter Feed

Scotland to get first Belgian-style brewery

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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.



SIX°NORTH
The Marine Hotel, Stonehaven
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