Looking Back On a Hop Filled 2015...
Wednesday 23rd December 2015
As we approach going into our third year of North Hop we want to take the chance to look back on 2015 and all the great events and festivals that have taken place.
The year kicked off with our first 'pop-up' event - Inverness Cocktail Lounge at the stunning Bishop's Palace at Eden Court. This sold-out event was done in collaboration with Bars R Us and Alottarhythmman, and for one-night-only brought some pretty special cocktail lounge vibes to Inverness. Pop-ups are something we plan to do a lot more of in 2016 so watch this space!
Then towards the end of February saw the return of 10 Dollar Shake along with the team from Eden Mill for a special 'Hop Gin Tasting' event at Velocity Cafe in Inverness. The idea behind the event was to introduce folk to gins that had come from distilleries with brewery backgrounds. There were 5 different gins to try, along with the correct garnishes and tonics, with Gomes from 10 Dollar Shake giving a bit of a background and tasting notes for each one. Eden Mill then introduced their brand and the range of gins currently available. The evening was rounded off with rather tasty gin cocktails and cake.
March saw our first visit to Aberdeen for a special food and drink pairing event with Adelphi Kitchen, AK Hop Feast, literally an evening of food and drink porn! The 5 course menu was carefully planned by the AK chefs to ensure all courses packed in maximum flavour and enjoyment. Some of our favourite gin, beers, and ciders were included in the menu for this sell out event.
Onto April and onto our very first Granite City festival, North Hop Aberdeen! Ticket demand for this festival proved much higher than we first anticipated and all 600 tickets sold out in less than 2 weeks of being on sale! The festival took place on the 11th April 2015 at The Lemon Tree, and was a day jam packed with awesome breweries, beers, ciders, gin, cocktails, street food, live art, selfie station fun and live music. The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing and we cannot wait for North Hop Aberdeen 2016!
After a few weeks break we were then back into the swing of things with our next taster event - Meet Rock Gin, at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness. This intimate event gave attendees the opportunity to meet Rock Rose Gin creator Martin Murray and quiz him on all things gin and more. Martin gave an insight into how the distillery first came to fruition and some tales from their journey along the way. There was of course plenty of gin to be sampled during the evening, along with some delicious canapés, and Rock Rose Gin tablet, washed down with a tasty gin cocktail. We have been working closely with Martin and Claire at Dunnet Bay Distillery this year and hope to have a few more exciting projects in the pipeline for 2016...
Most of our summer was then spent planning ideas for 2016 festivals/events and off course getting final plans in place for our flagship festival, North Hop 2015. Our 2015 Inverness festival took place on the 21st and 22nd August at Eden Court, Inverness, with just over 1500 folk in attendance across the weekend, a significant increase on our 2014 festival. With over 30 exhibitors present and around 25 music acts across the 3 sessions there was certainly something for everyone. For this festival we invited a guest brewery (from outside of Scotland), Weihenstephan, the oldest brewery in the world to join us from Bavaria. They were very well received and their beers, as expected were fantastic! This years 'Festival Brew' was created by Cromarty Brewing Co and was a low abv Session IPA with Raspberries, and everyone attending the festival got a taster of this on arrival. And if that wasn't enough we also added a 'Festival Gin' to this years festival, which was created by Dunnet Bay Distillery (Rock Rose Gin), a special Rock Rose Gin infused with local strawberries and rhubarb. The gin was very limited edition, with only 96 bottles created, and was available to sample and buy at the festival. Another addition to this years festival was some special 'Hop Sessions', short, intimate meet the brewer/distiller and food/drink pairing type sessions, which were very well received, something we will now look at having at each festival.
So there you have, one very hop filled year, in one hop filled blog post! Hopefully see you at one of our events or festivals in the new year...slainte!