Here at The Misty Bottle we have always strived to stock local produce as much as possible, so when we heard about Dog Falls, from Scaniport near Inverness, we knew we had to get involved.
I was lucky enough to be running errands in Inverness so arranged an informal meet with Bob Masson, the founder of Dog Falls, at The Castle Tavern in Inverness
Bob and I talked at length about beer memories, favourite breweries, ambitions and various other beer related chat over a few pints of Kowabunga from Cromarty Brewery!
Bob's introduction into beer making began with a home brew kit. A keen mountain biker, Bob suffered a bad fall and needed to fill the time he would usually use for cycling with something equally enjoyable. And that something was beer! Although he admits the first batch didn't come out exactly as planned, he became hooked regardless.
In actual fact all eight of the beers that Dog Falls produce were in some-shape-or-form invented on a home brewing kit, with elementary brewing equipment on a small 20L scale.
After University in Glasgow, Bob ended up moving to Aberdeen, working in the oil & gas sector offshore for many years. Although rewarding, a desire to become his own boss always resonated strongly with him. His belief in his abilities as a beer producer were enhanced after a 3 week course at The Beer Lab in Sunderland. This gave him the confidence to branch out and be the master of his own destiny. Subsequently, he took the courageous choice to move back to Inverness and to convince his wife Louise (director, can labeller, boxer of cans, and all round positive supporter) to plough all his time, effort and money into this hobby-come-livelihood.
So to the beers! There are eight different beers, appealing to all tastes.
Here we have a beer inspired by a visit to Cologne and an almost love at first sip of the Kölsch style, unique to the historic city. A kind of hybrid between a lager & an ale. Vegan friendly.
This is a beer like no other. Cascade is the only hop used in this beer but there is so much going on. Grapefruit, toffee, caramel. A taste sensation! Vegan friendly.
A Scottish take on a well known Belgian style of beer, which had all but disappeared until the 1950's when it was rediscovered. Flavours of fresh orange peel & coriander, combine to produce a wonderfully zesty & refreshing homage to the past. Vegan friendly.
Here we have a beer, perfect after a long day. Packed full of the flavour you'd expect from a New England style beer. A great go to, fridge filler beer! Vegan friendly.
A stout here, which is flavourful without the high abv. Lactose is added, which gives this stout a silky smooth mouthfeel. The finish is long lasting.
An IPA here for fans of the hoppy persuasion. Bob himself takes a can of this when out biking in the woods. The pine that you smell amongst the trees is also prominent in the makeup of this beer. Vegan friendly.
The beer of the group most likely to go wrong according to Bob. Champagne yeast and Sauvignon Blanc grape juice have produced a beer not seen everyday. A balanced sweetness, developing into a dry finish. Vegan friendly.
The strongest beer in terms of ABV in the collection. Juicy mango straight off the bat, leaves you going back for more and more. Don't worry we'll have more in stock! Vegan friendly.
Prior to lockdown, Bob used farmer's markets in Inverness to get his product out there. The highlight though was when he was able to get his beer on draught. Against The Grain, in Elgin & MacGregor's in Inverness made the dream come true in terms of making it for Bob. Although there were not large amounts, as is the nature of small craft businesses, seeing his product out there was a huge achievement. However as with all small businesses COVID struck hard. Like many others, local became king. People were still wanting to try new products, and Bob gained a strong custom base, which he is immensely grateful for.
So to the future then. With the lifting of restrictions becoming more visible, the focus now is to get back into bars throughout the highlands. A return to the farmer's markets is within sight. All being well for Dog Falls and all small breweries lets toast to the future, and hope the world returns to some sense of normality again.
When I asked Bob to some up his latest career experiences he remarked,
'I've never felt so challenged, but never have I been so happy.'
Remember you can either pop in to our shop in Breakish (Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm), order online for collection from the shop or we can post any orders anywhere in the UK.
Feel free to comment below with any questions or what not!