As I’ve mentioned before, Brewdog have been on my list for a Tour-At-Home for a long time. They’re a very polarising brand; brash, aggressive and firmly of the opinion that any publicity is good publicity. It’s not an attitude that really does much for me to be honest, and I’d disregard them if it wasn’t for one small but rather important detail.
They make some fantastic beer.
A few months ago they were kind enough to send me a selection of their beers – including an early sample of one of their collaborative beers (thus the slightly odd labelling!)
We start with Punk IPA, a 5.6% “post modern classic pale ale”. No, I have no clue how a post modern classic pale ale differs from any other pale ale, but then I rarely find the writing on Brewdog bottles makes much sense.
This is probably the best known of their beers; it’s certainly the one I see most often in the supermarket. It’s light amber in the glass, with a generous foamy head. There are some big hops on the nose, floral and fruity – notes of mango and satsuma, along with hints of honey and just a whisper of malt. Tantalising.
It’s sweet in the mouth with a very nice, ‘foamy’ mouthfeel. There is a gentle bitterness throughout, although not as strong as the nose might suggest. I find little hints of fudge, and warm citrus fruit shades leading into a subtle, lingering bitter tail. Ironically for a self proclaimed “punk” it’s a beautifully balanced, delicately crafted, delightfully drinkable pale ale.
Next up is 5AM Saint, a 5% “iconoclastic amber ale”. I swear the taglines are getting sillier.
It’s a rich, deep amber in the glass, with another fine lingering head – although less deep than on the Punk. It has a much richer nose too, with chocolate, a touch of toffee and some floral hops underneath.
There’s more richness in the mouth; sweet with toffee malt, and a delightful creamy mouthfeel. The bitterness is much more pronounced, running deep throughout. Very tasty, very drinkable, but perhaps not as “downable” as the Punk – no bad thing, it’s nice to have a beer to savour too.
On to the powerful, 11.5% Bitch Please sample, which thankfully hasn’t got a tagline on it yet (although I’m not enamoured with the name). Produced as a collaboration with Three Floyds it’s variously described as an American or Scottish barley wine and has been aged in Jura whisky casks for 8 months.
It’s a deep dark ruby in the glass, with another dense foamy head. There’s a toasted malt nose, and an understated hint of hop – the alcohol you might expect at that strength isn’t particularly apparent.
On tasting, there’s a really curious flavour; roasted grains, and a peat whisky hit that really brings out the Islay peated malt that was used to brew it, and the Jura casks in which it was matured. Under that is a real bitter sharpness – from the depth of the roast rather than the hops – and an alcohol burn that really exposes the strength of the beer. It’s almost like drinking like a beer with a big Laphraoig chaser. Sweet, malty, and strong. I’m loving it.
Finally, we come to Alice Porter, the 6.2%, “renaissance baltic porter”. Jet black in the glass, with an insanely huge billowy head that takes a long time to settle – that picture was taken after 15 minutes of patient pouring! There’s a coffee treacle nose, with sweet alcohol but without being overly sticky or rich.
It’s sweet in the mouth, with coffee tones and a nicely understated bitter edge to it. Slightly sticky but not lingering, helped away by the stronger carbonation – those bubbles stop the syrupy nature becoming too much. It’s a very good porter, but it’s not as stand-out special as the others. Those first three beers are all “brewdog in a bottle”, but the Alice Porter could have come from any of a dozen good breweries.
All in all, a great selection of seriously tasty beers. Thanks again to Brewdog for sending them my way.