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 🍻
Beavertown x Trillium
Following my review of West Side Beavo, the second Beavertown review of the week is Beaverillium - a collaboration with Trillium Brewing from Boston, USA.
Beaverillium is a 7.5% ABV IPA and here's the official blurb from Beavertown:
"This baby drinks like mango lassi transporting you to a lazy hazy Indian summer day on the beach in Goa, pouring like thick mango juice, rich, sticky mango juice. That aroma of tropical overripe mangos and pulped peaches hits your nose a yard from the glass bathing you in sweet fruity sunshine.
Fluffy, moussy, velvety and smooth as it passes your lips the mango and peach is pricked up with fresh, zesty tangerine that lingers to a black pepper bitterness for a bit of exotic spice."
Trillium were a brewery that I'd heard a lot about but never experienced - so with them teaming up with the big dogs Beavertown, it's safe to say my expectations were high.
Beaverillium pours a hazy gold with a thin beige head. There's big aromas of ripe fruits; mango, peach & apricot with some grassy pine. There's a huge amount of sweetness up front; maybe from the fruits, but it's almost too sweet for my liking. That is followed by some bitter hoppyness with a slight amount of spice also. Body is medium, with a nice creamy texture and not too much carbonation.
This was a good beer, however not great. Something just wasn't quite right for me - I think perhaps the sweetness up front put me off a little. In a week of two Beavertown collaborations, I would have expected Beaverillium to be my favourite. However I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by this one and West Side Beavo was definitely my favourite of the two.
3 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
My last beer from the Norwegian brewing Gods Amundsen was damn near perfect; Pineapple Oceans was absolutely awesome and easily almost as good as any beer I've had this year. So naturally, I was extremely interested to see how they would do with my favourite style of beer; New England IPA.
Hopbliminal Messages is a 5.5% ABV New England style IPA, that Amundsen claim pairs best with your drinking hand - makes sense to me.
Cracking open the yet again, awesomely designed can - you are greeted with big juicy tropical & citrus fruit aromas, backed by some resinous piney hops. It pours from the can a light hazy gold, leaving a thin white head that disperses quickly.
On taste I was met with hoppy bitterness up front, that slowly blended into a fruit bomb; juicy pineapple, mango and orange flavours all round this beer of nicely. This beer pack in a load of flavours for its ABV.
Overall, I was highly impressed with this beer - while it may not quite reach the heights of some of my favourite NE IPA's like Brewdog & Cloudwater's collaborations (V1 & V2), it is still an extremely solid beer.
That's 3 out of 3 excellent beers for me now from Amundsen; they are fast becoming a favourite of mine - and I can't wait to try more. If you're not already, then you should be checking these guys out.
4 out of 5 hops from me
Pineapple beer is something I've not experienced much of, in fact I've only ever had one; Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin whilst in New York. So when Westhill Service Station dropped a bunch of Amundsen beers last week, there was one in particular that caught my eye; Pineapple Oceans.
Pineapple Oceans is a 6.6% ABV West Coast Pineapple IPA, that according to Amundsen is best paired with a handlebar mustache and a Hawaiian shirt. Hard to argue with that.
My only previous experience of Amundsen was with the excellent Apocalyptic Thunder Juice, so I had high hopes for this beer.
As soon as I opened this beer I could smell pineapple. A little spurted on my hand as I cracked the can, so I tasted it; pineapple!
It pours a slightly cloudy deep copper/amber colour, leaving a medium sized long lasting beige head. The pineapple aromas are in your face the whole way as you pour it into the glass, backed by some super fresh pine.
The taste is much the same as the aroma; huge juicy sweet pineapple fills your mouth before giving way to some bitter, hoppy goodness. It has an extremely thick mouthfeel, with a slight oily texture; all made extremely drinkable by the awesome flavours.
Also let's not ignore the awesome can art on display here - it looks seriously cool! And it seems to be a running theme with all their canned beers; they are instantly recognizable.
I loved this beer. I want to drink more of it. It is so jam packed full of flavour, I think almost anyone would enjoy it. I for one will be trying to get my hands on more of not only this beer, but also many more pineapple beers.
I've got another review from Amundsen coming later this week - so keep an eye out for that.
4.75 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Big Fish Brewing
Aberdeen is pretty spoilt when it comes to local breweries. With Brewdog, Fierce, 7 Brewing, and more recently; Brew Toon Brewery, we have a lot of quality beer to chose from. So naturally, when a new brewery comes along - they have a lot of expectation to live up to.
Step forward Big Fish Brewing, from Stonehaven. I was recently given a couple of bottles of their Long 14 to try. Long 14 is a 5.2% ABV citrus sweet blonde IPA.
Here's what Big Fish Brewing have to say about it:
"They say the legend started in a garage...and that's only a legend. In a sea of craft beers you can always find a 'big fish'.
Long 14 is a homage to a glorious union, created on a special day."
Long 14 pours a slightly hazy gold with a medium foamy white head and medium carbonation. Aromas are fresh, citrusy lemon, grapefruit backed by malts and some hoppy bitterness. The citrus flavours show up again on taste and are very refreshing. There's a slight bitterness to it from the hops, and it is all rounded off with slight malt like biscuit taste. You really get the mashup of the blonde/IPA styles - they work really well together and it's very refreshing.
Overall, I enjoyed this beer a lot. It was a great mix between a blonde and a citrusy IPA that was extremely drinkable. Having a look on their Facebook page it looks like they have a lot of great beers in the pipeline including a DIPA - so I think it's fair to say that Big Fish Brewing are one to keep an eye on.
3.5/5 hops from me 🍻
Siren Craft Brew
Siren Craft Brew are a brewery that I've seen a lot of, but never had much experience with. A few weeks ago I tried their excellent sour IPA; Pompelmocello and I have more recently managed to get my hands on Comfortable Silence; a glorious sounding Fruit Smoothie IPA, coming in at 6% ABV.
Here's what Siren have to say about it:
"Welcome to the next scene in our fruit smoothie movie! Comfortable Silence is the follow-up to Ten Dollar Shake, and we’ve upped the lactose for an even smoother, even thicker body than before. We’re topping it off with peaches, apricots and sweet cherries for good measure."
I have heard nothing but good things about Siren, and have had a great experience with them so far myself, so I have high hopes for this beer.
Cracking open this bottle, you are greeted with wonderful fruity aromas; tropical fruits mixed with sweet cherries and soft peach – great start! It pours a murky orange leaving a small foamy head. Again, as per New England IPA v2, this beer has quite a lot of sediment in it – so this may not be to your liking. However, I am again unsure if this was just purely my bottle.
The flavours in the beer are fantastic; instantly you are met with glorious sweet cherries & peaches, backed by some citrus orange. There is a slight amount of bitterness at the end rounding it all off, which complements the sweetness perfectly. It has an incredibly thick mouthfeel – which does actually give the impression of a fruit smoothie!
I really enjoyed this beer, and I can’t recommend it enough. This has really opened my eyes to what Siren can do, and I will definitely be looking forward to trying more from them in the future.
4.5 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 🍻
Evil Twin Brewing x Omnipollo
We all love a nice ice cold shandy on a refreshing day right? So when I seen that Evil Twin Brewing & Omnipollo had come together to brew an Old Fashioned Lemonade IPA, I was extremely interested in trying it out.
Old Fashioned Lemonade is a 7% ABV IPA that has been brewed for Evil Twin by Dorchester (home of Marky Mark!) Brewing Company in Boston, Massachusetts.
"A refreshing drink often associated with childhood nostalgia to others a pop-cultural symbol of emancipatiion. Whatever the association Evil Twin teamed up with Omnipollo to squeeze out a tasty, tempting and deceivingly well balanced IPA with sweet and sour notes of old-fashioned memories. Perhaps you can taste the dishonesty, it's all over your breath - it's Lemonade."
When brewing giants come together, it usually produces good results, lets see what happened here...
Cracking open this can and it is just lemons galore; the sweet citrus aromas fill your nose as you pour it into a glass. It pours a bright golden yellow with a foamy white head, with a surprising amount of murkiness to it.
This beer tastes exactly as you would expect it to - like lemonade. There is really no other way to describe it. From the first sip you get that instant sourness of the lemons coupled with a decent amount of sweetness. There's a slight hoppy/bitter backbone to it all that reminds you that you are in fact drinking a beer, and not a can of lemonade.
The overall result is that this is literally the perfect summers day beer. It's so light, smooth, refreshing and the ABV is almost non existent that you could easily smash your way through a few of these. However, it didn't stand out enough from me and was too similar to other fruit beers I've had in the past. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I did, it was just missing something that could have took it to the next level.
3.75 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 🍻
Northern Monk x Verdant x Deya
Northern Monk's Patrons Project has produced some fantastic beers, one of them being the excellent Peanut Butter & Jelly Brown Ale.
Hazemaker is a collaboration between 3 of the UK's most exciting breweries; Northern Monk of course, Verdant & Deya. A blend of 3 different hops, Hazemaker is a 7.4% ABV IPA. It also features some incredible artwork by artist Jon Simmons. Here's the official lowdown:
"An extraordinary hazy collaboration between Northern Monk, Verdant & Deya. A jab of Amarillo, a right hook of Simcoe and an uppercut of Columbus hops equate to one knockout brew. Put your taste buds to the taste against the juicy tropical fruit flavours and punchy pine notes."
Sounds like a winner right?
Well this beer is a winner. It pours a hazy golden amber, leaving a thick foamy white head. Very hoppy on the nose, along with plenty citrus and tropical fruits.
Taste is similar to the aromas; plenty citrus and tropical fruits up front - orange, mango & pineapple. These are followed up with some nice piney, hoppy bitterness to give it a great finish.
Overall this is a really solid IPA that these fantastic breweries have conjured up - I would highly recommend it.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.