The only trouble with a festival of drink, music, and merriment is that the emphasis is generally on the drink and merriment side of things, which means the old grey matter can sometimes struggle with the over indulgence of it all, especially when I wake up a full day and a half later, face down on my living room floor, semi clothed. The best thing to do at this point is to sit up, and scatter all the photographs and notes round me like David Bowie writing a song. My camera is digital though, so that plan is a non starter right away, instead I press the ON button, and I start to scroll through the vast assortment of images we have, just to try and get a better understanding of the event…
We put together two teams to review North Hop, we had to though. This wasn’t any old gig review, this was a serious piece of journalism, with added drink. They thought we would be mad to cover an exhibition of amazing food and beer, but they would be wrong. Going by the photos we had, we were exactly the types of folk you should have at one of these bad boys. The lack of cash in my pocket the next day spoke for itself to be honest, I think I ate enough for three men, and drank enough for three more. It wasn't pricey, I just had lots of it. The selection of Ale on offer was nothing short of fantastic, with special mentions going out to St Andrews Brewing Co. and Tempest Brewing Co. for adding to our inebriation with some of the finest booze I have ever tasted.
The first night was attended by Spence and Kev, which wasn’t the best idea in hindsight, as not only did they forget anything and everything that happened at North hop on night one, (yet weirdly still took the best pictures of the event…) they also managed to drag half the staff back to NHC MUSIC for the bender to rule all benders. The clean-up job the next day before I headed to North Hop myself was nothing short of horrific, I should just have just razed the place to the ground, salted the earth, and started rebuilding it all from the arse up. It really was that bad. To give Spence his due, he got right back o the wagon again for a second shift at SWG3 with me too, after a Greggs of course. Anyway, before I go off on a rant about leaving the shop in a poor state for the boss to clean up the next day, I will go on to tell you just how bloody good the event was on day/night 2.
We spent most of the day part of the event wading through the throngs of drinkers to try and find the best beers possible. Cider was a little thin on the ground, but Thistly Cross totally made up for a lack of it with their tasty cider populated stall, and there were even spirits in the house, although I kept away from them on my shift, just so I could make it to the night event in a decent state. I wasn’t missing Fallen Arches again! (Disclaimer, I drank too much, was late for the night event, and to my shame missed the start of his set. This should have been foreseen). I am gutted in hindsight that I never sampled some of the stronger stuff, as there was some cracking Gins and Cocktails available to try, and the cocktail stand was run from the back of a ruddy well vintage car… how cool is that?
My bevvy tasting was broken up by the occasional eating of fantastic tasting vegan curry, chatting about a not for profit brewing company (great idea, get drunk while helping folk, result!), taking weird pictures in the free photo booth they had set up, chatting to some of the punters wandering around lapping up both the drink and the festival like atmosphere, and listening to some cracking music. They had the likes of Fallen Arches, Lisa Kowalski, the Miss’s, and many more talented musos playing. There is a reason the artists above were mentioned as they are firm favorites of NHC MUSIC’s, the reason for that is that they are fantastic, insanely talented acts all. We will be revisiting some of the other acts on the bill (both nights) on our NHC page soon too, so watch out for them!
Hell, the venue even had a street food stall selling macaroni cheese that was so damn good it sold out before I had a chance to sample it. That was my only disappointment of the day/night really. I call it ‘the dark-mac moment’. There may be T-Shirts soon. Overall, I would say that anything North Hop are selling, NHC are buying, and you should too. We will be sharing many more of their events as and when they come, and we urge you to get to as many of them as you can. If they are anything like this, then you really don’t want to miss them!
Written & Edited by Jamie McDermid. Photographs by David Spence.