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Inverness local microbrewery Dog Falls Brewing Co scoops gold for speciality beer Awaroa at national event SIBA National Independent Beer Awards 2022


By Federica Stefani


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Louise and Bob Masson with their award winning beer. Picture Gary Anthony.
Louise and Bob Masson with their award winning beer. Picture Gary Anthony.

An Inverness nano brewery was awarded national gold at a prestigious industry event held in Liverpool.

Dog Falls Brewing Co went home with a gold medal in the keg speciality light beers category for their White Grape Brut IPA Awaroa at the Society of Independent Brewers' National Independent Beer Awards 2022 ceremony.

Competing against independent brewers of all sizes from all over the UK, the local craft beer producer was also awarded a silver for the bottle/can Session IPA category with their Session Pale Ale Colloidoscope and their Split the Tree won bronze in the keg Imperial IPA category.

At the same event in 2020, they had been awarded a gold medal for Colloidoscope only a few months after starting their business.

Awaroa by Dog Falls Brewing Co in Scaniport won gold at a national industry event. Picture Gary Anthony.
Awaroa by Dog Falls Brewing Co in Scaniport won gold at a national industry event. Picture Gary Anthony.

Owner and founder Bob Masson commented the achievement: "Obviously we are delighted to win. When we first won in 2020 it was very unexpected as we had been producing beer only for four months, and to win again this time feels like a nice way to come back (after 2021 events were cancelled due to the pandemic) and cement the success that we had two years ago and to put the Highland on the map in terms of beer produced in the UK.

"Awaroa is a Brut IPA which is fermented dry and then we add Sauvignon Blanc grape juice and Champagne yeast into the fermenter, and so it referments a bit like wine inside the beer and it creates a contrast – then it's hopped using a New |Zealand variety which has characteristics similar to a Sauvignon Blanc. It's sort of a hybrid between a wine and a beer.

Mr Masson was drown to home brewing after having to give up his passion for mountain biking after a back injury.

"I couldn't maintain biking as a part time so I had to find a new hobby that I could do despite my injury, and it was then that I tried home brewing," he said.

"The first batch was atrocious, but the process and the science behind it got me hooked straight away."

He and his wife Louise started Dog Falls Brewing in 2019 after Mr Masson stepped away from his career in the oil and gas industry.

"There weren't many transferable skills from my previous job so I had to learn everything about brewing.

"At some point I got tired of seeing expensive, fancy cans of beer around which didn't which didn't reflect the higher prices in their flavours. Mostly they were poor quality because they had sat for months in warehousing or on shelves or in transit from America at ambient temperature. They were probably fantastic when they left the brewery, but they were well past their peak by the time I got my hands on them. This ignited in me the idea of beer as a truly fresh product, brewed locally and consumed in peak condition, and this is also something that made me want to open a brewery with a flavour-first focus," said Mr Masson.

He also said that the pandemic has been a double-edged sword for them. As they started selling their beers at the Farmers' Market in Inverness, only after four months in business they found themselves in need to find an alternative way to sell their products after all events and gatherings were put to a halt during lockdown, despite more people rediscovering local businesses and produce.

"We quickly launched an online shop and began offering a beer delivery service both locally and nationally. Thanks to the mind-blowing support from the people of the Inverness area, Dog Falls was able to not only survive, but continue to grow during this challenging period."

The brewery in Scaniport is now looking to move to larger premises. Picture Gary Anthony.
The brewery in Scaniport is now looking to move to larger premises. Picture Gary Anthony.

Due to this success, the brewery is now aiming to expand:"We have been looking for a larger facility in Inverness for about a year now, but it has proven very difficult because of the high demand for industrial premises in the area.

"We'd really want to move and have an expanded capacity so that we can produce more beer with increased efficiency, grow our small business, and begin to employ more people in the local area."

One of their latest projects is a collaboration with local artist Jack Spowart, who designed the artwork for their Quercus 21 Rum Barrel aged Baltic Porter, and a new beer in collaboration with Brew Toon in Peterhead is in plan for the near future.

Dog Falls Brewing Co beers are available on tap at Scotch & Rye and at The Malt Room as well as WoodWinters in Inverness, and on their website at dogfallsbrewing.com.

And now, Dog Falls award winning beers, tried for you

The team at Dog Falls Brewing kindly provided a tasting pack containing the award winning beers, so we could try them first hand.

Split the Tree, New England IPA

Split the Tree won bronze in the keg Imperial IPA category at the awards.
Split the Tree won bronze in the keg Imperial IPA category at the awards.

If there is a beer I'd love to pair with some spicy food, it is Split the Tree. Mango colour in the sunshine, with a lovely rounded body to it, this NEIPA has a fantastic balance between tropical notes on the nose and the bitterness of the hops lingering in the background.

Smooth and juicy, with mango notes and some fresh floral and zesty hints which make it a fantastic beer to sip in the sunshine.

The carbonation level also hits a very sweet spot: none of the way-too-fizzy nonsense that you find in many beer nowadays.

You can really see the point in having very freshly brewed beer in here.

Awaroa, White Grape Brut IPA

We try the national gold winning brew, Awaroa.
We try the national gold winning brew, Awaroa.

I have to admit, I was a bit anticipating trying this one as the production process got me really curious and have not tried anything quite similar before.

You can see why there is a lot in this beer: again, a hazy and mellow body comes through, and then you feel this is quite a peculiar beer. It's not quite like some of the Mediterrean lagers which are a bit smoother and just more summer-like than the ales of the north, but it definitely has a subtleness in character that makes it really enjoyable and light.

Now, the wine bit: there is a distinct light sweetness and acidity that can be rather similar to a medium-bodied white wine, and the influence of the grapes is there in the big picture, but carbonation and overall mouthfeel is definitely the one of an ale.

Need a new summer favourite to go with a fancy garden lunch (or a picnic)? This one is for you.

Just remember to bring the sunscreen with you.

Colloidoscope, Hazy Session Pale Ale

Dog Falls Brewing first national gold in 2020 was Colloidoscope, a crisp Hazy Session Pale Ale.
Dog Falls Brewing first national gold in 2020 was Colloidoscope, a crisp Hazy Session Pale Ale.

This one is probably the crisper and fizzier of the three, but in a very god, not-overwhelming manner. It's fresh, citrusy, with almost cut grass-like notes on the nose. Grapefruit and a fresh sweetness play very well with the bitterness, with a dry hoppy finish.

The texture is really lovely too, much more round than the eye would expect.

Now, that's the one I'll bring to the upcoming barbeques.


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