24 December 2009

A BrewDog's not just for Christmas

I picked up a cheap Trashy Blonde in the Sprucefield Sainsbury's. I mean, who hasn't? Brought her home, kept her in the attic a few months -- you know the drill -- and then finally plucked up the courage to pull her top off. Shall I stop now? Yeah.

It's a beautifully golden ale with lots of clean refreshing fizz. The nose gives me lager malts and peachy hops. Much like 77 lager, the flavour is powerfully bitter, though tempered nicely with the juicy fruit flavours, and finishing dry. Superb complexity for a 4.1% ABV beer, and at a quid a bottle there's no guilt about chugging it back cold, or smothering it in spicy food. I really should have bought more...

Instead, there's Devine Rebel, the result of when Mikkeller met BrewDog, with a charming illustration of the eponymous Mikkel facing the eponymouser Bracken on the label. Two of the continent's top brewers; 12% ABV; barrel aged in whisky casks: you can expect that what pours forth is a good time.

It seems to arrive a murky brown, but hold it up to the light and there's a certain saintly amber radiance to the colour. The first sip produces a heavy filling sensation, coating the mouth just like all the best barrel-aged beers I've met. The first wave from the flavour platoon fills the palate with milk chocolate and juicy raisins. While these charming raconteurs keep your tastebuds busy, a pincer movement of vanilla wood and sharp hops nip round the back and take control of the situation before you realise what's happened. Next thing, you're up to your eyes in whisky casks and bitterness yet still enchanted by the fruitsome candy loveliness of the first sensations. It's best just to surrender and enjoy the occupation. Kiss a squaddie; paint stocking seams on the back of your legs -- that kind of deal.

This is a beautifully crafted beer, and a perfect example of how the new extremists of European brewing ought not not be dismissed as fad-chasers, but are clearly capable of sublime beers that only the terminally stultified could deem poor.

All these fruits and fun, plus bitterness and wood, means that Brewdog will definitely be appearing on both Santa's nice and naughty lists this evening. Just as well Bracken has four stockings.

Wishing a very merry Christmas to all my readers. Cheers!


  1. Michael Elliott11:49 am

    I had a Trashy Blonde myself last, by coincidence.

    I've never been to the Sprucefield Sainsbury's, but, since I live about the same distance on the opposite side of Belfast, it might be worth the bus trip to see what they've got. I don't suppose that's were you got the Devine Rebel, is it?

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Ha-ha! Funnily enough, no. The Devine Rebel was from rather further afield. I was actually quite disappointed with the Sainsbury's Sprucefield selection overall. Even Armagh is generally better.

  3. Thought you were going all Joseph Fritzel for a minute there, fella.

    Enjoy your xmas, matey.

  4. Anonymous8:42 am

    And a very Merry Christmas to you, John.