Category Archives: Brewdog

>BrewDog IPA Is Dead


I missed the launch of these little gems a few weeks back, but luckily the lads at BeerRitz swung to the rescue and ensured I had a tasty fourpack hidden away – like they always do, to be honest. So, Saturday’s decorating was offset by the fact that I knew I had the beers slightly chillingin the fridge, and let me tell you that it’s a comforting thought. So – onwards and upwards. The proof is in the tasting, however, so a pizza was duly ordered, glasses shined and the beers cracked.
First up – Citra. Well, the name says it all really. Citra’s making appearances a lot recently, and with Kernel’s Citra IPA still remaining the high water mark for me, BrewDog’s effort gave a little more Tangerine/Orange edge on the usual Lemon/Lime profile. Simple, yet effective, Citra seems made for IPA’s, and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of it.
Nelson Sauvin is probably one of my favourite hops – it’s the goodness behind many, many great beers – so again, I sort of knew what to expect. There’s the familiar Grapefruit and slight hint of cattiness, rounded off with more Lime pith. You can’t go far wrong with it in pale beers, and this one disappeared way quicker than is healthy.

The ace in the pack is Sorachi Ace (pun entirely intended). I’d actually tried this on keg at Foley’s during the week, and was left scratching my head. People offered their opinions on what it tasted and smelt of; anywhere between Thai Green Curry to Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum to Green Tea seemed to be the consensus. Having it in front of me at home gave me more time to deal with this arcane hop. I will tie my colours to the mast with this: sticky pine Resin and Mint. Together. With a bit of Strawberry sweetness on top. There’s an amazing herbal note that makes the hop massively clean and fresh, but not in a bad way. It’s an odd hop, without doubt,and I’d probably need a few more of these before entirely making up my mind about it. I’d say if you pick up one beer from this range, make it this one, just for shits and giggles.

Finally, onto my favourite – Bramling X (or Cross, whatever you like). Some may think it’s an odd choice for an IPA but I loved this; a deep, woody Blackberry aroma and full-bodied taste that made it as individual as the Sorachi Ace IPA but in an entirely different way. I could drink this all day, and it’s the one I’ve craved the most since finishing it off. All the beers were obviously sweet enough to balance the hops, but I was quite surprised at how different the Hops made the base beer. The Citra and Nelson Sauvin seemed much drier than the BX or Sorachi – when in reality they probably weren’t.

Judging from comments on my previous post, IPAID seemed to have divided people ; or at least generate discussion. One of the biggest themes was lack of originality – Single Hopped beers are actually ‘Old Hat’ and nothing special. Well, yes, I agree. We know BD are great at marketing, but I don’t think wool has been pulled over anyone’s eyes at all. These are simply four very good, interesting IPA’s with great balance that drink nowhere near their 7.5% abv. That’s it. That really is it.

In fact – the main thing I enjoyed about these was the point I alluded at the start of the post – the four pack is a tasting platter in your own home – even if you miss the beers on cask. The cheeky foursome, hanging around menacingly in the fridge like day-glo clad Chavs on a street corner – beg to be shared and compared. I hope they stick around.
For a different slant on tasting this range, check out Ghostie’s truly blind tasting. Cracking stuff.

>Autmunal Pickings; Tumblers and Blasts


Yep. It’s here. Officially. We are in Autumn (in fact, Winter’s around the corner) and incidentally, my favourite season for beer. This might sound strange coming from a self-confessed Pale freak, but Autumn – and Autumnal Beers – are so varied, from Strong Pales to Porters and Stouts, that I really look forward to October. Plus, as a cooling, slightly chilled Pale is to Summer, a full-bodied, warming Strong Mild or Stout is to Autumn. However, you don’t have to default to the more obvious darker beers – so here’s a pick of what I’ve been enjoying at home for the past month or so.
First up is Brooklyn’s Winter Ale (6.0abv). I guess it’s Brooklyn’s take on a Scottish Ale, and I like it. True, it’s not quite as full-bodied as we are used to in the UK, but there’s plenty to recommend; a biscuity, satisfying blend of malts in the body, and a restrained hoppiness that makes a nice change for Brooklyn; a touch of spice at the end rather than a full-on hop assault. One I’d like to try on draught; preferably on a chilly Autumnal, New York afternoon. I’d had this in the cellar since Spring, and it held up perfectly well.

Sierra Nevada’s Tumbler (5.5%abv) is a relatively new addition to their stable. The label and legend on the neck is Sierra Nevada at their idyllic best; talk of long afternoons and falling leaves. The beer itself is an odd one; the nose is all cola, black pepper and cloves, but this doesn’t really translate into the taste of the beer. There’s a savoury, almost vegetal note which fades to a sweet, maple-led finish – along with more restrained hopping. I’m not saying I didn’t like it; far from it – it’s an interesting beer, although I’d like to drink some more before I can fully get my head around it’s taste.

My final American beer is Dogfish Head’s Raison D’etre (8.0% abv). I love Raisin in beer – it’s a flavour we don’t do enough over here but I can always rely on DFH to produce something flavourful and rich. Crystal-clear Mahogany in colour, the nose is herbal at first before that rich, sweet vine fruit note pops up. On the sip, however, things are a little less sweet than you’d expect – there’s Demerara/Burnt sugar there, and little drying coffee on the edges. It’s much less cereal-led than Cain’s Raisin, for example – much more in the ballpark as, say, Chimay Red. My bottle was a little short in the way of head, although carbonated fine – again, another beer I’d like to sample on Cask (if such a thing exists!).

Ok, onto beers from our fine shores. Rodham’s beers are micro in the truest sense – produced by Michael Rodham in his house, and sold through a very limited selection of outlets, mostly in Yorkshire. I picked this up in the Temple Newsam farm shop, where I understand Rodham works in the grounds. Old Albion Porter (5.5%abv) is probably his best beer in my opinion; a porter which ticks all the boxes – slightly smoky, sweet, satisfying and rich with a firm, biscuity malt spine. You might not be able to find this one easily, but if you’re going to seek one out, seek out Old Albion. It occasionally finds it’s way into beer festivals – one assumes when Rodham finds time to brew it!

Autumn doesn’t have to mean dark – Orkney’s Orkney Blast is a perfect example of a warming, satisfying beer. An Award-winner (and rightly so), it’s one of the most complex golden ales you’re likely to find in the UK. Juicy malt, with a herbal (Thyme or Rosemary?) note running right through the taste, your tastebuds try to process that lot when a massive tart hop profile hits you right on the end of the sip. One of my friends actually thinks it’s more along the lines of an IPA than a ‘Strong Golden Ale’, and I can see where he’s coming from. It’s an aggressive beer, but one that begs to be enjoyed slowly, as the nights draw in and that heating gets turned up.

It’s not all bottled fun – BrewDog Edge remains my stand-out beer of the season so far, and Wetherspoon’s Autumn Beer Festival (on now) will see the beer popping up at a ‘Spoons near you. Saltaire’s Harvest Moon is one of the best beers they’ve produced for a while in my opinion, and York’s excellent Centurion’s Ghost should be doing the rounds a little more often now. Rooster’s Mocha Stout is also filtering through to handpumps near you right about now – speaking of Rooster’s, their peppery, gingery Pumpkin Ale pretty much sold out in a couple of days in Leeds from what I understand. I liked it; but obviously it divided opinion. Personally I thought it was one of the better Ginger and spice -led pales I’ve tried. Good work, lads.

>Sweet Potato-Topped Fish Pie with BD Atlantic IPA


It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe/beermatch, so here’s something moreish before (hopefully) the Sun decides to make more of a permanent presence….

You will need:

1 small Onion, thickly sliced -1 pint Milk -300ml double cream
Fish – 1 piece of Coley, 1 Salmon Fillet, 150g Raw King Prawns
100g Butter -45g Plain Flour – Chopped Parsley, Salt, White Pepper -3 Large Sweet Potatoes – A little torn Spinach -1 egg yolk

Firstly, put the onion slices in a large pan with half a pint of the of the milk, the cream, and the fish. Bring just to the boil and simmer gently for 10 about ten minutes. When that’s done, remove the fish and onions onto a plate and pour the milk into another pan or jug. When the fish has cooled a little, break it up and flake into your baking dish/Pie dish.
Melt a couple of knobs of your butter in a pan, add the flour and when slightly cooked, take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the reserved milk. Return it to the heat and bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time, making a thick, white sauce. Leave it to simmer gently for five minutes, stirring gently. When thick enough for you, stir in the parsley and season with a little salt, black pepper and a sprinkle of white pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and leave to cool. Cover and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes or so.

In the meantime, peel and chop your sweet potato, and then boil until soft. Season lightly with black pepper, and mash with a little drop of olive oil. When the fish filling is cooled, spread the Spinach leaves on top, and mash ontop of that. Fork to make ridges, and brush a little some melted butter over the top. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200c for 40 minutes or until the top has turned nice and golden.

All done. Fish Pie’s one of those dishes that everyone has their own version of. This is mine – I do occasionally like smoked fish in there too, but didn’t want to overpower the sweetness of the topping on this occasion. And for goddsakes – use a fishmonger if you can. If in Leeds, there’s no excuse not to get down to Kirkgate Market and see what’s on offer.
I enjoyed this with an ever-so-slightly chilled bottle of BrewDog’s Atlantic IPA. It’s slightly oaky body gave a good, robust counterpart for the firm fish and sweet potato, and the bitterness that it carries cut through the cream nicely.

>BrewDog Tokyo – tasted…


…Well, I’ve spent the last couple of hours tasting the most talked about beer this week – BrewDog Tokyo. At a massive 18.2% abv, the alcohol content of this stout has gained most of the press, but we’ve had very little on taste so far. I’ve never had anything this strong before, so it really was a first.
Once the incredibly lively, orange head dies down, you’re left with a stout as dark as a Newcastle supporter’s mood. It really is black. The nose is where you get the first hint of how strong this stuff actually is – there’s a brininess to it that, for me, was a little meaty. Before you drink it you know it’s going to be hot, but the once the initial warming alcohol fades, you get a surprisingly round, raisiny fruitiness with only a whiff of smoke – just before the final bitter tang and another hit of alcohol to warm the throat. It’s certainly not as dry as I thought it would be, being an imperial stout. It is dry-hopped,but for me the malts and oak chips dominate the flavour profile.
Of course, It is ludicrously strong; you can’t get away from that. In fact, one bottle is a struggle – furtive sipping is the way to go with this one. However, I found it surprisingly well-balanced, and quite unlike anything I’ve managed to get my mitts on yet. And that’s the point of beer-hunting isn’t it?
Now, I’m feeling a little sleepy…

>Grattis, Brewdog.

Although recently it’s seemed that its in every beer blogger’s job description to include at least one article about BrewDog, it was with genuine pleasure that I read that BrewDog have had a very successful first half of the year – and have just wrapped up a deal to become Britain’s #1 imported beer brand in Sweden.
So what – it’s Sweden! you may snort into your freshly poured 77 – but, despite proving that the Swedes clearly have decent taste – for me, this news sets the bar a little for what Independent Brewers can achieve.
Not only have BD managed to get the financials spot on and become a very sound business (a side often overlooked in Brewing), they’ve done it by not being safe. This, let’s not forget, is why we (generally) love them in the first place. Remember your first sip of Trashy Blonde and Punk IPA? That search to land a bottle of Tokyo and the simple genius of the Paradox series? The whole Zeitgeist-art-gallery-orgy -then-buying-crates-of-the-stuff-for-knockdown-prices thing? It was as if the US ‘Spirit of Adventure TM’ had drifted off course and ended up in Fraserburgh. And don’t even mention the Portman Group debacle (and the priceless marketing that achieved). Hunter S Thompson would be proud.
Yep, what lifts my glass is that BD have managed great growth but stayed true to what they do best. Imagine if thier next beer was ‘BrewDog Bitter’, a lank, trad, been done a thousand times beer. Unthinkable. Yet it happens all the time; other breweries roll out a thousand variations on one theme. Not BD – whack on top of this the fact that you’ve got green credentials in plans for a new eco-friendly brewhouse, and BD fast become a real success story with a good heart, too. Awww.
So, here’s to it, lads. Congrats, or rather, Grattis. Just don’t change, eh?

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