Fierce Beer, Cranachan Killer
It takes some guts to put something like 'you're probably going to hate this, but...' on your first batch of bottle labels. But that’s exactly what two former oil and gas workers, Dave Grant and David McHardy, did when they launched Aberdeen’s first ever microbrewery in May 2016. That one line of text spelled out their intention to make some of the most crazy ass beers that British beer drinkers have ever seen.
The Fierce mission, Dave G says is “to make some radical new beers that challenge the senses and divide the masses. We really want the consumer to have a full on experience. If we make a beer that says what it is on the label – then we want the person drinking it to be able to taste that. We have no desire to make bland, dull and forgettable beers, only full flavoured, punch-packing beers. We make such a diverse range, not everyone will like them all, but most will love some of them”.
The two Daves met on a brewing course up in Sunderland. “We got up and told pretty much the same story: ‘I am in the oil industry but now I want to be a brewer’ – it was a bit weird,” Grant says. “We started talking, and everything fell into place very well. I liked the beers he was making, he liked the beers I was making, and we are both massive foodies.”
They are now joined by Louise and Jana who together look after sales and marketing stuff. Whilst the team is still small, their ambitions are big, which is just as well because the buzz around these guys is deafening. They were awarded “Best New Scottish Brewery” in the RateBeer awards at the turn of the year. The equipment is on order to increase capacity to 230HL month by June 2017, which will double what they were at when they launched just a year ago.
Whilst Dave G was still home brewing, one of his good friends came round for a brew and it was his idea to brew Cranachan. “To make the traditional Scottish dessert you need oatmeal, raspberries, whisky and cream. So we brewed the beer and drank the whisky!”
It was one of the first beers Fierce brewed on their big kit, Cranachan Killer is a 5.5% ABV toasted oat pale ale with locally sourced raspberries, lactose and honey. The raspberries used are from Castleton Farm, a family run business in Aberdeenshire which specialises in growing some of Scotland’s finest berries. “We pick, blend, de-seed and freeze them to make the freshest of purees. Each batch of this beer has 10% fruit in it so technically 1 of your 5 a day”.
We asked for a suitable food pairing. “It goes amazingly well with whisky (sherry or bourbon cask, not peated) but also New York style cheesecake”
Their mentors and friends at BrewDog, just up the road in Ellon, have clearly inspired Fierce Beer in their style and approach, but these guys are going to forge their own path. Don’t you worry about that.