02 July 2018

Pooch hooch

Hey, remember BrewDog? I found some notes about some of their beers and made a blog post out of them.

My first ever 500ml BrewDog can was Eight-Bit, an 8% ABV eight-brewery collaboration New England IPA. It's on the money for the style, pouring a murky orange-yellow and packing the flavour with smooth and sweet peach and apricot. No bitterness, no onions or garlic and no yeast bite either: this is straight-up juicy, and rather pleasant with it, if not exactly complex. There's a bit of a burn from the alcohol in the finish, and a slight solvent quality to the aroma, but other than that it hides the booze well. With collaborations there's always the fear that the breweries have done something stupid, something none of them would stand over alone. This is solidly put together, however. Hooray for committee thinking.

Back to the wee cans, then, and Clockwork Tangerine is next, a "citrus session IPA", so Elvis Juice Lite? It's 4.5% ABV and a deep orange-amber colour. This is barely beer, all malt and hops thoroughly covered over by sticky orangeade and artificial spices. As syrup-driven summer fruit beer goes it's fine; I'd go so far as to say it's actively refreshing, yet at the same same time it's everything that's wrong with today's unbeery beers. If you enjoyed this then my next recommendation is an Aperol or Campari and soda.

Something more down-the-line to follow. Native Son, promises straight-up west coast hop flavours and pitches up at 8.5% ABV. The booze is very apparent from the first sip: instead of sharp and clean fizzy bitterness it shows a syrupy heat with solvent notes, the hop flavour definitely coming in second behind the alcohol. That flavour itself is sweet and sticky: jaffa oranges, marmalade and a stronger, bitterer, lime side. There's very little room for compromise, the bitters and esters relentlessly piling in. I would have liked this cleaner, clearer and sharper, instead of the hot messy booze-bomb I got.

A dark one to go out on: Kamikaze Knitting Club, one of the stars of the BrewDog bar at Alltech 2018 back in the spring. It's a maple stout of 7.5% ABV and smells immediately sweet and heavy as soon as the tab is pulled. This offers a lovely mix of sweet stout flavours: chocolate, coconut, molasses and even a naughty pinch of whisky. Funnily enough, I didn't pick the maple out, and maybe I attributed the woody bark side to something else. It's definitely a lovely beer, though: a strong sweet stout that doesn't go overboard, doesn't play on gimmicks and stays smooth, drinkable and integrated. More of this kind of thing, please, BrewDog.

The brewery's Irish arm is throwing a shindig in Dublin(ish) this weekend, with their own beer and cider plus high-calibre Irish guest brewers. Details here.

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