Posts Tagged ‘brewery’

27
Dec

Stirling Castle and the Dog Tap

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Queen's Chamber

Kyle and the Babes 2015. Day Eleven.

We began our day with a lovely breakfast at the Royal Inn and Ivy in Bridge of Allan. Then, we loaded up the car and headed back to Stirling for what is arguably the best castle visit in Scotland. Stirling Castle was new to both Kyle and I when we were here on our honeymoon in 1995; neither of us had ever been there before. But, now, we can hardly imagine a trip without a visit there.  Stirling has done such an exemplary job of presenting the property in ways that are both fun and classy.  The educational exhibits are beautifully well thought out and executed. Visitors of all ages can be equally entertained at almost every turn.  Costumed guides within the perfectly renovated Royal apartments add a touch of realism and enthusiasm that cannot come from reading signs or listening to the audio tour, however wonderful both might be.  The fabulous Great Hall, painted in “the king’s gold,” and the way it practically glows on the top of that hill.  The whole place– with all its crazy wonderful history, is just amazing. We do not know if there are further renovations in the works, but we have seen some amazing transformations in the twenty years since our first visit.

Among the more remarkable projects undertaken at Stirling Castle was the recreation of the Unicorn tapestries.  Over the course of the last decade all seven of the tapestries have been completed, and are now hanging in the Queen’s Bedchamber of the castle.  This is the first of our visits when we didn’t have talented weavers to watch and to talk with while they worked.  Instead of the onsite workspace, now one finds a lovely exhibit outlining both the tapestries and their meanings, and the processes involved with recreating them with painstaking detail. A lovely addition to the castle experience.

It was with great difficulty that we pulled ourselves away from Stirling this afternoon to make the drive we had planned.  But, daylight is short this close after solstice and we had miles to cover.  So, we piled back into the car leaving a couple of sights unseen … until the next trip.

In the meantime, we had a bucket list item to attend to!  We love to visit breweries … our readers of the KRuMB will have long since figured that out.  And, today, we made it to the brewery responsible for Kyle’s favorite beer:  Brew Dog (Punk IPA, for those keeping track of such things). We had hoped to do this on our last trip, but the brewery was in the process of moving their production site, so they were not open to visitors.  This time, we had a green light to go and the time to do it at this point in the trip.  We don’t have an advance booking anywhere until the 29th, so the Aberdeen area for tonight was as good a plan as any.  In fact, Kyle and I have never been up in this little corner of the island, so we’re quite pleased to be seeing a new part of Scotland.

The drive went smoothly, although the second half of it was after nightfall.  We stopped in Forfar (the little city where Kyle had his first kilt made) for a late lunch right around sundown.  We were looking for simple pub grub, but what we found instead was a Sunday Carvery where we had our choice of turkey, ham, or beef (or any combination thereof), veggies, potatoes and desserts!  A tasty meal and plenty to provide us a base for our next stop.

The Brew Dog Brewery is actually located a little bit north of Aberdeen in a town called Ellon.  We found it easily and popped in for a pint …or two. The tap room is actually a very nice bar in its own right … the Dog Tap. We ordered a round and Mandalyn, who had been emailing them about tours, chatted up one of the girls and the next thing we knew she was bringing us safety goggles and vests and we were headed into a staff only zone.  We literally passed through an airlock system of two doors to enter the place where the magic happens.  Normally, I would say if you’ve seen one brewery, you’ve pretty much seen them all.  But, even though all the common elements were there, this one was different.  It’s really big, for one thing.  And it’s really super clean, for another.  And, there is awesome art everywhere you look!  It was a delight for all five senses, and we were thrilled to be there.

The tap room was closing at nine, so we finished our last pint at about 8:30 and headed to the hotel Kyle had found for us online:  Newburgh Inn.  We’re sleeping in the most comfortable bed we’ve seen in over a week. The shower was great, too!  And breakfast isn’t until nine in the morning, so the fact that we stayed up until way past midnight watching the fabulous U2 concert from Paris shouldn’t affect our tomorrow too much!

~MB

 

 

 

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26
Dec

Peebles to Bridge of Allan … Perfection

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

26 December 2015

Boxing Day

allanwater-brewery_23364455724_o

Kyle and the Babes 2015. Day Ten.

Snow!  We awoke today to snow–as if our beautiful little town needed a facelift!

Kyle and I got dressed and packed quickly, and walked the very short couple of blocks to the High Street.  I had learned that the Peebles Old Parish Church offers a ten-minute worship service every single day of the week at ten a.m.  I was determined to go. So, Kyle went with me, and I enjoyed a short call to worship, a call and response type prayer, the singing of the quintessentially British “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” and the Lord’s Prayer in closing. It was charming and I was made to feel totally welcome by the other folks (a grand total of three). I will add a photo or two of the interior of the church when I have my camera within range of my computer.

After church, we continued our walk to the Co-op, bought zippy bags so we could pack the leftover food, and then got back to the house in time for breakfast. Before noon, we were all fed and all packed up to leave Peebles.  We had three stops to make before really getting on the road: The Cross Kirk (a beautiful ruined church from the thirteenth century located just moments from the house), Netherhorseburgh (a scenic tower house ruin on the outskirts of town), and Neidpath Castle ( a castle still being used as a residence that is connected to Kyle’s mom’s side of the family).  We  got to all three, and took copious amounts of photos … Summertime will be a better time for all of them—so much mud and wet … and cold … and Neidpath is only open during tourist season.

On out of town, then, pointed toward Stirling.  The first part of the journey was through countryside where the snow covered every hillside and the road was frequently partially covered in water.  Eventually, the snow zone was behind us and soon we were skirting the edge of Glasgow and on the motorway.  We drove straight to Stirling Castle and found it closed for Boxing Day.  We determined we were unwilling to miss it, so we would do it in the morning.  We checked into our hotel a short distance up the road in Bridge of Allan, dropped our luggage and went to the Birds and Bees for a late lunch.  After that, there remained only one goal: The Allanwater Brewhouse, formerly known as the Bridge of Allan Brewery.

There may actually not be words adequate enough to describe how much Kyle and I love this little place or how much joy an evening spent there brings us.  The Brewmaster and owner, Doug, manages to remember us each time we visit (this was visit number four) and he makes us feel at home.  We enjoyed amazing beer, good conversation and even kindled ideas for business plans that could actually help us realize our immigration dreams someday. They say “dream big”…right?

Tiredness, I’m afraid is winning over the desire to write more words … Happy Boxing Day to all!  Good night.

~MB

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