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BrewDog

BRD: Beer & Running in Deutschland

My Belgian Holiday was interrupted the past long weekend, for a trip to Germany. The main destination was a hostel in Oberwesel, for the German Nash Hash—you know, drinking and running with half-minds from everywhere—but of course I seized the opportunity to make some stops along the way to visit some of the better beer serving establishments…

Thursday

On Thursday morning, I headed to Brussels’ international train station to hop on the direct ICE to Frankfurt am Main, my first stop and final destination for that day as well. At least, that was the plan… However, when I arrived in the train station, my train turned out to be cancelled, or at least its Belgian leg! There was another direct train two hours later, but when I checked with the DB staff at their information booth, they recommended me to make my way to Aachen on Belgian trains, and board the later ICE there, because it might very well suffer the same fate as my originally booked train (it didn’t…). So that’s what I did: a slow train to Verviers, and from there an even slower one to Aachen… Kudos to the NMBS for adding an extra carriage to that train to provide space for all those extra passengers!

As expected, I had to chase someone out of my seat, which I had reserved as soon as I knew I would be on this train. And just as well, since the train was fully booked by the time I arrived in Aachen!

So far, I had only seen the airport train station of Frankfurt, where I’ve had to change trains a couple of times on previous trips, so it was nice to actually see the city this time. Since I would actually spend the night in Frankfurt, I first went to my hotel to check in and drop off my bag.
Because of the two hour delay I had to cancel some planned stops, and started with the important things: crossing off one of the missing German BrewDog bars on my list, BrewDog Frankfurt. Even though the whole Beer Visa thing is on hold until the new version comes out, I had them stamp my booklet, just for the fun of it.

Then I had to get changed for a very peculiar hashing charity event: a Red Dress Run! It’s pretty self-explanatory: all participants dress up in red dresses and skirts and run trail like that, and part of the run fees and money collected on the way go to a good cause, in this case Brustkrebs Deutschland. I thought the term “dress” is a bit restrictive and doesn’t really cover everything that’s being worn by the participants on these runs, so I renamed it to “Red Unbifurcated Garment Run” for myself, while running it in a red kilt, of course!

After the run and obligatory Circle that followed, it was quite late, and by the time I had showered, changed, and made my way to the first craft beer destination that night, it was already 23:30…

Not surprisingly, when I entered Taphouse Frankfurt it was already time for last call.
After taking the tram to the last stop, it was already past midnight, and sure enough, I had already missed last call at Naïv… Luckily they took pity with me, and served me a beer after all. I should definitely revisit both bars earlier though!

Friday

After a nice breakfast at the hotel—fried Leberkäse is really tasty!—I still had some time before I would have to check out. So I went to Bunca Barista for my coffee.

Checked out and bag retrieved, it was then time to get on a train to Wiesbaden, to visit the only German BrewDog bar I hadn’t been to yet, BrewDog Wiesbaden! It was still rather quiet—I arrived only minutes after opening—but they were oh so friendly. I didn’t even had to ask them to stamp my Beer Visa, they were there with the stamp as soon as they noticed the booklet!

From Wiesbaden I had to take the rather touristy and very full MittelrheinBahn train to Oberwesel.

At the Oberwesel train station I was lucky: there was still some space in the shuttle up to the hostel, even though I didn’t book it. Once arrived on top of the hill, I checked in, and German Nash Hash could really start!

Saturday

Most of the Saturday on these Nash Hashes are dedicated to a trail, usually a bit longer than your usual weekly hash. Well, there are usually different lengths available, and such was the case at German Nash Hash too. I had registered for the ‘long’ trail, which would be between 13 and 20 km. On the definite program it was listed as 19 km, but in the end it turned out to 21,5 km, with 709 meters of elevation…

The theme of the evening party was “Bacchanalia”, so I had brought my thirty year old toga—dyed for the occasion—and the linen tunica and caligae I still had from my army reenactment days. I even brought an earthenware poculum to drink my wine from! Yes, wine, since it suited the theme better, and Rheinland-Pfalz is a wine area after all!

Unfortunately—well, it might be for the better—I don’t have any photos of this part of the evening.

Sunday

After a party like that, the Sunday run is of course the Hangover Trail. It was only 4km, with a bubbles stop somewhere in the middle.

After closing Circle it was then time to catch the train to Köln.

In Bierhaus en d’r Salzgass I had some Päffgen Kölsch vom Fass, and Himmel un Ääd (black pudding, fried onions, mashed potato, and apple sauce). I intended to go to some craft beer bars after that, but they all seem to be closed on Sundays… So I just had some more Kölsch instead!

I didn’t have to suffer any cancelled trains for the remainder of the journey, and could just take the direct—albeit delayed—ICE to Brussels.

FyneFest Trip – Day 12

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Heading Home…

Eventually, there’s always that day you have to go home, and today was that day…

The original plan was to have breakfast at Snax Cafe, the very first I ever visited in Edinburgh, fresh off the MegaBus on my first trip to Scotland. However, it seemed I turned up just during their morning rush, and there was no space to sit at all. So the alternative was a breakfast with an Indian twist at Dishoom, a restaurant that had been on my to try list for a very long time. I picked a simple bacon and egg naan so it wouldn’t take too much time, but I’ll definitely go back there to try some of the other dishes!

From there I went straight to Edinburgh Waverley Station to catch my LNER to London Kings Cross.

With a couple of minutes delay, we arrived in London, where my first stop was One Shot Coffee for my daily dose of caffeine.

At BrewDog Camden I met up with Ryan to enjoy the last couple of beers of this trip, and some Buffalo dirty fries, since I’d be on the train during dinner time, and arriving in Brussels too late to still eat.

Getting to and checking in at the Eurostar terminal went without a hitch, only for the departure of the train itself to be delayed… Only a couple of minutes though, and the train to Brussels wasn’t even very full! Arrival in Brussels was just about ten minutes late.

So, that’s it, almost two weeks of travelling through Scotland, with some hashing, copious amounts of delicious food, and lots of beer!
Until next year, Scotland? Of course!

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FyneFest Trip – Day 11

Last Stop in Leith…

Thursday: my last full day in Scotland, and I was going to make the most of it! First order of the day though, was a nice toast with scrambled eggs and bacon at Fortuna Coffee Bar. Coffee as wel, obviously…

Around the corner was the Georgian House, again a National Trust of Scotland property.

From there it was quite a bit further to the next NTS location: Newhailes House. This place can only be visited if you book a tour, so I had done so. However, when I arrived there, it turned out I was the only one on the standard tour, so they offered to ‘upgrade’ me to a more extensive tour half an hour later. Which I happily accepted!

Since I was near the seaside already, my next stop was the Porty Vault in Portobello, Vault City Brewing’s second taproom.

From there it was just a short tram ride to Leith, the new hot spot for craft beer in Scotland..

The Newbarns Brewery taproom was first up, quickly followed by that of Moonwake Beer Co. The last stop in Leith was not a brewery, but a bar: Dreadnought Leith.

By that time I desperately needed food—especially since the Porty Vault didn’t have the smoked sausage subs I was hoping for, or any food, for that matter! Being in Edinburgh, it of course had to be Wings, to check off some more flavours on my list. Choice of the evening: 8 Flames, Thunderstruck, Taps Aff!, and Maximilian’s Molten Mounty, the three hottest sauces on the list, plus one a bit less hot… The 8 Flames definitely had a kick, and would still cause some tears later that night while taking out my contact lenses!

Last stop was of course BrewDog Edinburgh, on Cowgate, the bar that changed my perception of beer forever!

FyneFest Trip – Day 10

Tartan & The New Town

Breakfasts in Aberdeen just don’t seem to work out as planned for me: after being too late yesterday, I was too early today! As it turns out, BrewDog Union Square only opens at eleven nowadays, which was too late for me today…

So instead, I resorted to some breakfast at Black Sheep Coffee, where apparently they combine high-tech touchscreen ordering with low-tech name shouting.

No beer for breakfast either, so I was in Aberdeen station early, and luckily so was my Scotrail train to Dundee.

Arrived there, I left my very full bag at a Stasher location again. The reason for my stop in Dundee, was the temporary Tartan exhibition in V&A Dundee. While I was there, I of course also went to see the Oak Room, one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s most important interiors, formerly one of Miss Cranston’s famous tea rooms in Ingram Street, Glasgow.

After that cultural intermezzo, I went to BrewDog Dundee for a pizza—with mustard?—and some beers, before resuming my journey to Edinburgh.

This was actually the first time I crossed the famous Forth Bridge by daylight, as far as I know!

After arrival in Edinburgh I checked in at hotel Travelodge Edinburgh Central Rose Street , and after unpacking a bit, I immediately changed into my running kilt, since it was almost time for my last hash this trip!

The start of this The New Town H3 run was at the pub Bennets of Morningside. From there it went up, up, and again up, it seemed! Well, we actually went up, since we reached the top of Buckstone Snab at some point, and the views from there were amazing!

After getting back to the hotel for a shower and a change, I popped out for a couple of beers at the nearby Fierce bar, and at The Black Cat.

FyneFest Trip – Day 9

Something’s Brewing in Ellon

After a couple of mornings being woken by the sun around four in the morning, I slept in a little, in my nicely darkened hotel room. Unfortunately that meant I was just a bit too late to have breakfast in in my Travelodge, and had to go to a Greggs instead, if I didn’t want to miss my Stagecoach bus to Ellon.

My first stop there was The Coffee Apothecary, so unlike previous trips to to Ellon, I actually got to see a bit of the town itself. This coffee shop is actually somehow connected to BrewDog—James invested in it?—so Equity Punks get a 5% discount here. But more importantly: they have a couple of BrewDog and guest beers on draught. Coffee and craft beer: there’s definitely a market for it!

From there it was a twenty minute walk to DogTap. Through some bribing with a nice bottle of Cantillon, I managed to get a private VIP tour on a day they usually don’t do brewery tours at all… I got to see the offices, parts of the brewery that were only very recently finished, the canning line up close while operating, and heard loads of new tidbits of information and nice anecdotes. Thank you Craig, and most awesome guide Dan!

Back in Aberdeen, it was dinner time. Pick of the night: Jewel in the Crown! I first thought it was closed—nothing to see through the windows and a big closed door—but this Indian restaurant was in the basement, as restaurants and bars in Scotland often seem to be. The chicken Pasanda was quite a tasty discovery!

Foundations in place, a night in the town could begin. First up was the very first BrewDog bar, the flagship; BrewDog Aberdeen! It was followed by the other usual spots: CASC, Fierce Bar, and to again end the evening with, BrewDog Castlegate.