Montrose raised a glass to new beer festival

Phil Rodgers, Eddie Snr. and Eddie Jnr. Kaczmarek, Simon and Bill Parr,  Jamie Kaczmarek and Garry Stewart are pictured sampling some of the offerings at Friday evening's session.
Phil Rodgers, Eddie Snr. and Eddie Jnr. Kaczmarek, Simon and Bill Parr, Jamie Kaczmarek and Garry Stewart are pictured sampling some of the offerings at Friday evening's session.

Beer lovers raised a glass to a new beer festival in Montrose.

More than 600 revellers had the Rhythm & Brews fever as they took to Montrose Town Hall from Thursday to Saturday for the three-day festival.

The event was a collaboration between Montrose Music Festival (MoFest) and Laurencekirk-based Burnside Brewery.

It has been hailed the best fundraising event for MoFest and is set to return next year.

Merrymakers bought tokens to take to the bar to claim their tipple of choice, and there was plenty to choose from with more than 30 craft brews from 10 different breweries, a dedicated gin and prosecco bar and specialist ciders on offer.

As voted for by ale lovers the best beers were: 1, ‘Azure’ by Lerwick Brewery’; 2, Black Mamba by Lions Lair Brewery, Arbroath; 3, ‘Honey Bee Good’ by Six Degrees North Brewery, Laurencekirk.

The winner of a case of Burnside Beers was Philip Rodger.

In true MoFest style there was also live music on the stage.

Food was also on sale from the Pavilion Cafe.

David Paton, MoFest chairman, said: “Feedback has been incredible - the beer, food and music were all very well received and complimented and we were absolutely thrilled at the turnout.

“The highlight for me was the fact so many people had commented on how well the event was run and how much they enjoyed their time there - it is rare to keep everyone happy in these big events but we seemed to crack it this time round.

“Without a doubt we will be doing it again next year.

“As it was so busy we didn’t manage to keep tabs on final numbers but we would say there was around 600 people over the whole weekend, which is just amazing for a new event like this.

“Our past fundraisers have been great events in their own right but this one set the bar for fundraising and will hopefully become as annual as MoFest itself.

“We don’t have figures as yet but we are likely to make a good profit which will be put back into the festival to pay for the High Street event and such like.

“MoFest would like to thank Burnside Brewery for suggesting an event like this and for all the work they put in to helping organise it and run it.

“We don’t have their expertise with beers and drinks and are indebted to them for this partnership.

“Also to Rosie and her team at Pavilion Cafe - the food was outstanding and the compliments flying about the place for the food was great, the menu was just perfect for the type of event.

“The bands were also brilliant and kept everyone entertained over the four sessions and a huge thanks to the brew crew volunteers who helped at the weekend serving and clearing up.

“Finally, thanks to everyone who came and supported the event.”

Local singer/songwriter Rhona MacFarlane opened the first music session on Friday followed by Rhythm and Blues ‘rock and roll’ band Georgia Crawl.

Saturday was split into two sessions - the afternoon was opened by local brother and sister duo Kith & Kin before swing band Boogalusa took to the stage.

Then there was a break before local duet A Right Couple O’ Charlies got the crowd warmed up on Saturday night before big band The KJB got people of their feet, singing and dancing.

This is the second time MoFest and Burnside have worked together - the brewery came up with a special brew, ‘MoBest’, which was sold on the market street on the High Street at last year’s MoFest.

Gary Metcalfe, director of Burnside Brewery, said: “We were aware of several ‘visitors’ from other beer festivals in Scotland and at least one well-known beer blogger, and the comments we got from them at the bar were very complimentary about the whole event.

“The top selling beer - in terms of the number of pints sold - was Deeside Brewery’s ‘Craft Lager’, closely followed by Six Degrees North Brewery’s ‘Honey Bee Good’ Belgian-style honey beer.

“The craft gins proved very popular with the top seller being Eden Mill’s ‘Love Gin’ followed by Arbikie’s ‘Kirsty’s Gin’.

“We didn’t get any truly negative feedback or comments at all, and that is a first in our experience of beer festivals.

“The closest to negative comments have been that we didn’t have any vodka, and that we ran out of cider at around 11pm.

“Our festival highlight has been the way the two teams from MoFest and Burnside just jelled together and became a single unit - it was brilliant.

“We’ve organised events before and the music and entertainment has always been the difficulty for us, but MoFest took on that aspect and delivered fantastic entertainment.

“Working with the MoFest team has been a breath of fresh air, and their positivity and can do attitude rubs off.

“Rosie and her team certainly raised the bar in terms of beer fest food, and they worked very well with the rest of the team.

“We can’t wait for Rhythm & Brews 2017!”

MoFest and Burnside said they are looking at changing a few things for next year’s festival, including where bar tokens are sold from, more Scottish gins to expand the range and possibly a separate cider bar.

As the beer festival ended on Saturday night, revellers left the town hall full of merriment and with a souvenir beer glass to take home.