Richard Croasdale catches up on the goss with one of his favourite breweries
Thursday 28 November 2019
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When I started editing Ferment back in 2015, one of my first interviews was with a brand new brewery called Fierce Beer, out of Aberdeen. I remember being hugely excited by Louise and Dave Grant’s passion for experimental flavour combinations, and their foodie approach to recipe creation. But I also reminded myself that, being fairly new on the job, I was probably just easily impressed and that Fierce was most likely par for the course. Three years later, I know that my first reaction was quite correct; this is a special brewery, brewing special beers, and the whole team’s ambitious spirit has, if anything, grown stronger.
It’s been pretty non-stop since I first came across the Fierce team. The brewery itself has gone through expansion after expansion, constantly trying to get ahead of ever-increasing demand and a hectic brewing schedule, covering a never-ending stream of creative new releases.
A new Fierce bar opened in Aberdeen city centre last year, closely followed by another in Edinburgh’s famous Rose Street early this year (where I now basically live). Its 20 taps feature largely Fierce’s own brews, but also a selection of the best from the team’s other favourite breweries. Throw in a seasonal beer garden and a well-stocked back bar, and it’s easy to see why the seats are consistently full by 7pm on a week night.
“Before we had the bars, one of our favourite parts of the job was doing festivals and tap takeovers,” says Louise. “It’s great to see the beer actually being drunk, and being able to find out what people think. So the bars are really just an extension of that; a chance for us to put all our best beers in front of people, give them a good night out and get that feel for what’s working on the brewing front.”
This definitely seems to have become a core part of Fierce’s strategy, so don’t be surprised to see more bars springing up in a town near you.
Perhaps even more exciting is the brewery’s new Fierce by Nature project. I distinctly remember Dave saying during that first fateful conversation that one of his long-term ambitions was to find an appropriate space for a sour/mixed fermentation. This dream has finally come to fruition, in the form of Fierce by Nature, a series of limited release beers that are already causing a storm on the online ratings platforms. And it’s really just as well that things are working out, as Dave already has ‘Fierce by Nature’ tattooed on his forearm. Back yourself Dave.
Fierce has also started getting into spirits, led by spirits ambassador Aly Mathers. There's currently a rum and an excellent gin, with an exciting 'single botanitcal' gin project on the horizon, and several as-yet unnanounced (but trust me, very cool) products in the pipeline.
The beers are genuinely exceptional, but you’ll also be hard pushed to find a brewery that looks like it’s having more fun. I gate-crashed a staff night out in Aberdeen town centre the last time I was up, and by 2am we were mixing experimental cherry beers with gin, and waxing lyrical about some natural wines that Dave had hidden behind the bar. For me, It’s this sense of fun – as much as brewing expertise and a keen palate for flavour combinations – which makes Fierce so enduringly successful and well-liked.
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