Brewdog make some fantastic seasonal beer - Hop Fiction, Candy Kaiser & Arcade Nation to name a few. Yesterday they released their last seasonal beer for 2017; Slot Machine, a 5.2% ABV Red Rye IPA.
Designed to bridge the gap between summer beers and winter stouts, Slot Machine is laced with a warming spice that is perfect for drinking as the dark nights draw in. I must give a shout-out to Westhill Service Station for having their shelves & fridges packed with this the exact moment it launched in the bars.
Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"Slot Machine is 5.2% ABV and packs a bitterness of 55 IBU from being kettle hopped with Magnum, but also a hit of citrus from Amarillo in the whirlpool and dry-hop. We have also added a third wave; the herbal spice from German hop Callista bringing a nobility to the proceedings. Added with the Amarillo, this new hop (it was first released in 2016) also gives a berry fruit and gooseberry character, so Slot Machine has a series of interlinked hop flavours to unravel!
The beer was also brewed with Pale, Carafa and Crystal malt to give notes of caramel, toffee and bread crust as a baseline, and then layered in we added a generous addition of rye. We love brewing with this ingredient, despite the potential it has to make brewers think twice. In Slot Machine it adds a depth of spice to go with the hops and balance out the caramel from the Crystal malt. In short, as any brewer will tell you, rye holds everything together."
Have Brewdog hit the jackpot with this one? Lets find out...
Slot Machine pours a dark deep red - but not quite brown, leaving a foamy beige head. The aromas are great - the spice of the rye pierces through to the forefront, backed by malts and sweet toffee. The spice is ever present on taste too, but works great with the bread, malts and the slight sweetness of the toffee. There's a touch ot bitterness from the hops showing at the end too, which rounds everything off nicely. The alcohol is well hidden by the flavours, making it extremely drinkable.
Overall, Slot Machine was a very enjoyable beer with interesting flavours - the ever present spice from the rye making the difference for me. Brewdog can be happy that they have rounded off their seasonals for the year with a winner.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
When it comes to small batch releases, anything by Brewdog is usually worth getting excited about. The beer is usually something a bit different and the can art is usually insane; Pump Action Poet, Self Assembly Pope & Neon Overlord are all perfect examples of this.
Nine to Five Wizard is their latest small batch release - a 7.5% AVB Weissbier that was launched a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to try it on draft on the day and found it extremely enjoyable.
Here's the official blurb from Brewdog:
"Nine to Five Wizard majors in the classic German Weissbier aromas of banana and clove, layered with New World hop notes of orange, mango, pine and grapefruit. The combination of the Magnum, Cascade, Mandarina Bavaria and Ariana hops give a rising and refreshing citrus complement to the smooth mouthfeel from the wheat and the fruity esters of the Bavarian yeast. Listen to your inner 9-5 wizard and you’ll do very well indeed."
Sounds like a winner to me.
Nine to Five Wizard pours a deep amber with a long lasting, medium foamy beige head. Aromas are initially musty, with some spice from the cloves and the combination of cereals, yeast and banana giving off a banana bread like smell.
These flavours combine again on taste; spicy clove & sweet banana brought together with by cereal grains - lovely. There's little to no bitterness, little carbonation and the finish is full bodied and sweet.
This is a great beer that is bursting full of flavour and I highly recommend you try to get your hands on some whilst it's available.
4.25 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Brewdog x Cloudwater
New England IPA by Brewdog & Cloudwater is arguably in my top 5 beers of all time. It was so good. It was up there with the best that Cloudwater have to offer; v12, v13 & NW DIPA Citra. So it’s safe to say I was rather happy when I heard that V2 was on its way.
New England IPA v2 is 8.5% ABV New England Style IPA. Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"A second team up with Cloudwater sees us brewing an 8.5% ABV New England IPA, hopped with a blend of hops known for their citrus, tropical and berry characteristics. Spicy, zesty and piney aromas give way to an effervescent, tropical IPA, backed up with a hints of clove and pepper. Hopped in the whirlpool with Mosaic hops, and dry-hopped with Citra, Mandarina Bavaria and more Mosaic."
If this beer is half as good as the original it would still be a great beer. However, I suspect it may just be as good, or even better...
When you open this beer, you'll instantly notice the BIG juicy flavours that we're used to with this style of beer; pineapple, mango & orange are complimented with a huge amount of pine. It pours a hazy amber with a thin white head.
The flavours here are excellent. Those juicy fruit flavours are at the forefront of it all backed by loads of piney bitterness. You also get that slight hint of spice at the end, coming from the cloves. This is such a great beer to drink, and the 660ml bottle ensures it's an extremely boozy drink!
Now this is one HAZY beer and it has A LOT of sediment. I'm
not sure if it was just my bottle, or that is how it was meant to be, but there was a lot of it. It didn't bother me, but if you don't like sediment in your beer, then this one might not be for you.
This beer is AWESOME. You simply have to try it while you still can. It will be interesting to see if Brewdog & Cloudwater continue this collaboration in a similar vein to Cloudwater's DIPA series. Overall I loved this beer, but I think the original just scrapes it for me; that was almost the perfect beer.
4.75 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
At this years #PunkAGM2017, one of my favourite beers of the day was Brewdog's own Vermont style IPA. So when I received an email following the AGM asking if I wanted to retain my shareholding, and in doing so I would be rewarded with a 6-pack of their new Vermont style IPA - it was a no brainier.
The beer in question is Hazy Jane - a 7.2% ABV New England IPA. This has fast become my favourite style of beer, so I was extremely excited to get these cracked open. Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"Hazy Jane is a Vermont style IPA, with low background bitterness, loaded with intense juicy fruit character. Pineapple, stonefruit, mango, light resin and hints of lime peel – this juicy IPA is full-bodied and smooth, enhancing the soft ripe fruit flavours. Unfiltered and only available in cans from our online shop and BrewDog bars!"
Everything about this beer sounds great so far - I think we're onto a winner.
Opening the can, you are instantly hit with a fruit explosion; pineapple & mango are backed up by the slightest hint of citrus from the lime. There is almost a sort of cereal smell about it too - the oats being the likely culprit.
It pours a golden hazy yellow, with a small head that disperses quickly. The fruit really shines through again on taste - with pineapple and mango at the forefront, backed by some slight sourness from the lime. Hazy Jane is extremely easy on the mouth, with little to no sign of the alcohol or any bitterness - perfect summer drinking.
Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It hasn't quite hit the heights of the version from #PunkAGM2017 or the collaboration with Cloudwater, but it is still a great beer to drink and I look forward to working my way through them. The added touch of giving them to Equity Punks first for keeping their shareholding was an extremely nice one, and certainly hope that this beer becomes a seasonal staple of Brewdog.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
I normally get excited when Brewdog release a new small batch beer. More often than not they tend to be something different, and come with can art that rivals Beavertown. Step forward Pump Action Poet, their second small batch release of the year which is a 7.5% ABV Stonefruit IPA.
Here's what Brewdog have to say about this one:
"Pump Action Poet is loaded with stonefruit and tropical flavour – aromas of juicy peach, apricot and nectarine, pineapple and mango - all piled on biscuity malt. Hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe and brewed with added wheat and oats, this super smooth IPA has a balanced bitterness and a full-bodied mellow malt base. The addition of peach and apricot enhances the flavours of stonefruit naturally present in some of our favourite US hops, and adds a subtle tart edge to offset the intense juicy fruit character.
The second small-batch can release of 2017 is a locked-and-loaded salvo of flavour for the summer."
Sounds like a perfect beer for this glorious summer weather we are having...
Now this is seriously some of the coolest can art that I have ever seen. Artist Tracie Ching has done an awesome job here. I'd love to see Brewdog release this one as a tee.
It pours a golden yellow, leaving a big foamy off-white head. The aroma is very sweet with big juicy citrus fruits, backed by some nice piney hops. The sweetness continues on taste, with little to no bitterness present. Extremely drinkable - you wouldn't think of this as being 7.5% ABV. This beer hugely reminded me of another Brewdog beer; Elvis Juice, however the bitterness of the grapefruit has been replaced with a lovely sweetness from the apricot & peach. It is extremely easy to drink and very refreshing on a hot day.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Annual General Mayhem
This Saturday past saw the #PunkAGM2017 descend on the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre. Thousands of beer punks made their way there to take in the epic beer, food & music.
I ventured there with my wife and on entrance we were handed two full beer token cards. This equated to approximately 4 beers depending on what you ordered - great touch.
The place was absolutely jam packed full of people and it took a good 10 minutes of queuing at the bar until we got our first drinks. This was a bit of a pain, but it was worth it for the awesome beers on offer.
Over the next few hours we made our way around the venue, checking out what was on offer; from the various bars, excellent choices of food, Q&A sessions and live music - there was so much on offer. BrewDog certainly know how to put on a show!
Without doubt my favourite beer of the day was the 7.5% ABV BrewDog Vermont IPA V3. This beer was epic! I couldn't get enough of it. It's definitely up there with the New England IPA collaboration with Cloudwater.
I also got a chance to try Lone Wolf gin, complete with their own brand tonic, which was great - extremely refreshing. Gin has fast become my spirit of choice, so I'm glad it's finally fully released.
My one gripe however, was that at Bar 7, where Buxton was pouring - I am 100% certain that at one point they had the Original Ice Cream Pale Ale & the Lemon Meringue Ice Cream mixed up. I even ordered it twice to see if it was a mistake first time, but there was no way either time I was given the original. I was a little disappointed with that as the original is such a great beer - not that there is anything wrong with the lemon...I have a bottle in the fridge (review to follow soon).
The biggest news from the event was that BrewDog have sold a 22% stake for a £213 million investment from American group TSG Consumer Partners, that now sees them valued at more than £1bn. Incredible!
I think that's more than enough cause for them to throw a party like that 🍻
Brewdog x Cloudwater
Before they conjured up Coffee & Cigarettes with Beavertown, Brewdog had released a collaboration with one of the UK's hottest breweries - Cloudwater.
Arguably the biggest name in UK craft beer teaming up with the brewery that seems to be the talk of the town right now is a hugely exciting prospect.
Released in 660ml bottles, New England IPA is a 6.8% ABV IPA. Acquired through Westhill Service Station, this was one beer that I was greatly looking forward to (especially after missing it first time round).
Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"North East Scotland meets North East USA in our BrewDog Vs Cloudwater showdown.
This New England IPA is low in bitterness but loaded with explosive fruit flavour. Redolent with tropical fruit notes, fresh squeezed orange juice, pineapple, fragrant cut grass, and hints of pine dust, the aroma is complex and alluring. On the palate, the bittersweet balance emphasises the sweet, juicy fruit character, while the addition of oats adds a silken mouthfeel, giving the beer a full and rounded finish. If it wasn’t for the subtle bitter edge and the slight hint of alcohol warmth, you’d swear you were drinking juice.
This beer is unfiltered and intentionally hazy. Very hazy."
This beer comes with a huge amount of expectations on its shoulders. To say I was looking forward to cracking this one open is an understatement...
Straight from popping the bottle you know that you're onto a winner. Sweet, juicy fruity aromas fill the air; pineapple, mango and a hint of grapefruit fill your nose, followed by that familiar piney/hoppy smell.
This is a HAZY beer! It pours a thick, pulpy hazy golden yellow, leaving a foamy white head on top.
The fruitiness comes back in play when you taste the beer; pineapple, mango & grapefruit all come flooding through before the piney hoppiness kicks in to finish it off wonderfully. These flavours, combined with the thick, pulpy texture off the beer all work together to pack a serious punch. This is a fantastic beer.
I certainly hope there's more collaborations between these two to come. This is up there with the best beers I've ever had - probably in my top 3, and if they can recreate anything like this...I for one will be happy. I urge you to try this beer if you are lucky enough to find it anywhere, it will not disappoint.
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Brewdog x Beavertown
Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?
Appearing out of nowhere in Westhill Service Station's latest newsletter, was a collaboration between Brewdog & Beavertown. Step forward Coffee & Cigarettes; a 12.1% ABV Imperial Stout, brewed by two of the biggest & best breweries in the UK today.
Here's the official lowdown from Brewdog:
"We invited Beavertown, who are at the very pinnacle of UK craft breweries, to a collaborative brewday. On a pre-dawn voyage of discovery with London's finest we stumbled into daybreak and uncovered renewed purpose with this imperial stout.
Riffing on the theme of how to kick-start those early mornings brewers find themselves battling against, this beer is a smoke and caffeine-themed heavyweight aged in three different whisky casks.
Each of those casks brings its own element into play – the peaty Islay, oaky vanilla Bourbon and spicy Rye all having an input. With molasses, caramel, raisin and mocha notes this beer is dry, peaty and roasty and will charge your glassware and soul both."
I know, right?
Well this beer is a whisky lovers dream.
Cracking open the bottle and you get a HUGE whiff of boozy coffee. Big smokey, peaty whisky aromas blend with coffee, vanilla & chocolate. The beer pours jet black with a foamy beige head.
On tasting, you are instantly met with the taste of smokey whisky. Let it roll around a little, and the coffee and vanilla flavours start to show themselves. The whisky is almost too overpowering to begin with, but it is nicely balanced out with the sweetness of the vanilla, and a little chocolate.
Overall I enjoyed Coffee and Cigarettes. The time spent in three different whisky casks definitely gives this beer an edge over other imperial stouts. I wish the big dogs would come together more often - especially these two. That reminds me, I have a bottle of New England IPA by Brewdog & Cloudwater chilling in the fridge...but more on that later.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
New from Brewdog, Self Assembly Pope is a 7.4% ABV coconut/vanilla infused porter.
Described by Brewdog as a Myriad hedonistic aromas of cocoa powder, vanilla bean, coconut, and bitter chocolate, with hints of roasty black coffee and dark fruit, followed by a smooth, velvety mouthfeel and a rich, bittersweet finish.
Combining vanilla, coconut & chocolate with a selection of malts and Galena hops is bount to procude interesting results, and something I was eager to try.
Cracking the can and pouring into a glass, the beer is near jet black with a bubbly beige head. Sweet coffee and coconut aromas are instantly present and it's these two flavours that battle it out to be the strongest on taste. There's a backbone of sweetness from the chocolate and vanilla this gives an overall impression of a drinking liquid bounty! Everything in this beer comes together nicely to give an excellent porter.
Brewdog are continuing their trend of procucing some awesome artwork for their small batch beers here, with Self Assembly Pope being no exception - it looks seriously cool!
You can purchase Self Assembly Pope through Brewdogs online shop:
Overall, a very tasty porter with strong, interesting flavours. 4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Brewdog x Omnipollo
Well this is an exciting combination...
Fruit Bat, a 6% ABV raspberry smoothie IPA - the first of two collaborations between brewing giants Brewdog & Omnipollo.
Described as being packed with fresh juicy raspberry flavour, wheat, oats & milk sugars have been added to give this beer the creaminess & depth of a fruit smoothie, which in turn balances out the tartness of the raspberry. The beer has then been single hopped with Mosaic to give it a touch of that familiar bitterness you associate with an IPA.
Cracking the can & pouring into a tulip glass, I was hit with the scent of raspberries straight away. On taste, there is an incredible mouthfull of fruity flavour with a slight hoppy backbone. You get the flavour from the wheat & oats that also give it a thick smoothie like texture.
All in all, fruit bat is an extremely tasty beer which is very refreshing. However, in a week of reviewing two fruit beers - Tropigamma is the winner for me.
If you can't find Fruit Bat at your local bottle shop then you can buy it online here:
You should without doubt try and get your hands on Fruit Bat whilst it's available, I'm definitely looking forward to trying out the second collaboration between Brewdog & Omnipollo 🍻
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.