Verdant Brewing Co.
Verdant Brewing Co. are a brewery that are relatively new to me. The only beer I had previously tried by them was their out of this world collaboration with Beavertown. That's not to say I haven't heard of them, because I had seen PLENTY off buzz about them on social media. So when Hop Shop Aberdeen took delivery of two of their latest beers; Light Bulb & Headband - I did not hesitate in getting my hands on them.
I was extremely excited about trying these two beers and following the Beavertown collaboration, I was more than confident that they would not disappoint.
First up is Light Bulb, a 4.5% ABV extra pale ale that is described as a mash up between a session pale ale & a dank juicy IPA. Here's what Verdant have to say about it:
"As pale as a 100W light bulb but as juicy as an IPA. Sessionable, quenching and totally addictive. Biscuity malt base with a hint of sweetness all drenched in fruity/dank hops."
Light Bulb comes in a extremely cool designed 440ml can & it pours a hazy golden colour with a big foamy white head. Aromas are quite subtle; very hoppy, with wheat, citrus & a touch of tropical fruits. Taste wise - I found Light Bulb to be not as full of flavour as I was expecting; some slight citrus with a splash of hops & little to no tropical fruits. Tasty enough, however I found it to be slightly bland.
Overall Light Bulb is a solid, yet unremarkable pale ale that gets 2.75 out of 5 hops from me.
Next up is Headband, a 5.5% ABV pale ale. I had higher hopes for this beer than I did Light Bulb - I was hoping this beer would be more in the vein of a big dank, juicy IPA than the previous effort. Here's what Verdant have to say about it:
"Glowing orange colour. A beautifully balanced beer where the pale, crystal and Munich malts really help amplify the hops juicy qualities. Layers of flavour: tropical fruit, citrus fruit, stinky cheese, caramel - all working together. Bitter and sweet. Lush."
Headband features another cool can design from Verdant. It pours in to the glass a slightly hazy golden amber colour leaving a big foamy beige head. Aromas are grassy hops, malts, caramels & loads of citrus grapefruit. Taste is quite similar to the aromas; citrus grapefruit along with some peach up front, before being rounded off by some herbal grassy hops that leaves a lingering bitterness. This beer was a lot more bitter than I was expecting & tastes a lot more boozy than it actually is.
Overall Headband is a really solid & easy drinking pale ale that gets 3.5 out of 5 hops from me.
Overall, this has been a pretty good entry into Verdant Brewing for me. Whilst not particularly being blown away by these efforts; I am very excited about potentially getting my hands on Putty & Pulp - two beers I have heard nothing but amazing things about
Following the crushing disappointment of Indie Pale Ale earlier this year, BrewDog are back with a new addition to their Core range (which includes Elvis Juice & Jack Hammer). Native Son is a 8.5% ABV West Coast Double IPA that is now in full production following a successful prototype period last year & here's what BrewDog have to say about it:
"Our latest Amplified beer, Native Son is now in our core range and is now fully available.
The brainchild of our Head of Production Jason Pond, and one of his first two recipes after joining the good ship BrewDog, it is one of the truest representations of a classic American IPA that we’ve brewed to date.
Dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Centennial, it has a superb combination of tropical and citrus fruit, with huge fresh grassy notes, and a big savoury smack of dank hop. Native Son clocks in at double IPA strength, but has effortless drinkability, with crystal malt providing light complexity and a shred of sweetness – no big chewy toffee notes. Bittered with Columbus and Chinook, there’s a driving bassline of pine; both sticky resin and cut wood – a building presence that melds beautifully with the green hop notes."
Indie Pale Ale definitely wasn't for me, however I have a feeling that Native Son could be right up my street. It sounds like an absolute banger! Although is it going to be worthy enough to stand alongside Elvis Juice, Jack Hammer & Cocoa Psycho?
First up the can art is signature Brewdog, this time opting for a royal blue colour scheme. Native Son pours a clear golden amber with a small white head that disperses very quickly - there seems to be little to no carbonation present. Aromas are initially malts, lots of hops & pine before being followed by some citrus/tropical fruits; orange, grapefruit & mango mainly.
On taste, the first thing you notice is the bitterness - it smacks you right in the face. It's backed up by loads of pine & oily resin. I didn't get too much fruit flavours - there was certainly citrus grapefruit in there, but it's the overpowering bitterness that really takes hold of this beer. There is almost no carbonation in the body, and the texture is very oily. While the sheer bitterness of this beer may overpower almost all the other flavours, it's not to say I didn't enjoy it - because I did. I'm a huge fan of DIPA's & while this may not be the best one I've ever had, the flavours did work well together, and it was enjoyable & easy to drink.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid beer & whilst it's certainly no Elvis Juice or Hazy Jane, it is a massive improvement on BrewDog's first offering of the year. If you are partial to a DIPA, then I encourage you to give Native Son a go.
Native Son gets 3.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
For my next beer review, we have Death By Coconut; a seasonal porter by Colorado brewing giants Oskar Blues.
Death By Coconut is a 6.5% ABV Irish Porter & a beer that has been on my radar for quite a while now & thanks to Hop Shop Aberdeen, I have finally got my hands on it. Here's what Oskar Blues have to say about this beer:
"Intense pure liquid cacao flavors swirl with popping coconut aromas, all supported by a semi-sweet porter made from loads of our dark chocolate and extra dark caramel malt. This limited release specialty comes around once a year to satisfy that sweet tooth, so get ’em while you can before they disappear. At 6.5% ABV and 25 IBUs, this choconut goodness will have you yellin’ “Pass. Dash. Hit.” all winter long."
After a winter that has seen me become a fully fledged porter convert, combined with the fact Oskar Blues rarely disappoint & that this beer has a 97 rating on RateBeer - I was more excited to see if it could live up to the hype.
First up, the can design is unmistakably Oskar Blues with their trademark style. Cracking the can & pouring into a glass, Death By Coconut gives off huge chocolate & coffee aromas with some vanilla - there wasn't much coconut present in the smell for me. It pours almost black in colour with a dark foamy beige head. Taste wise; the chocolate & coffee are at the forefront, with a touch of caramel & vanilla - these are then followed huge smooth coconut flavours to round it all off. This is an pretty low ABV beer & and the alcohol is well hidden, making it extremely easy to drink.
This is a great tasting beer. The smooth coconut flavours really add something different to it that help it stand out from other similar beers. If you are a fan of this style of beer, then i recommend giving it a go.
Death By Coconut is another win for Oskar Blues & gets 4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Beavertown x Verdant
After the disappointment of my first beer review of the year from BrewDog, I finally got my hands on a beer that I was genuinely excited about. Shut Up and Play The Hits is a collaboration between brewing giants Beavertown & Verdant Brewing. Shut Up and Play The Hits is a 8.8% ABV DIPA & here's what Beavertown have to say about it:
"Fuelled by pure mango petrol this juicy double IPA is a banger. A sneaky but well meaning bitterness luring in the background, with a pleasant fruity sweetness being the main star on stage. Full, round and thick – You are welcome. DRINK FRESH."
This beer sounds like a dream. Beavertown have made so many of my absolute favourite beers & collaborating with another awesome brewery like Verdant is a guaranteed recipe for success. I know I am going to love this beer, the question is just how much?
Before I get in to the aroma & taste, let's take a minute to appreciate the incredible can art on display. It's the same level that we have come to expect from Beavertown time & time again. There really is no one better when it comes to designing cans.
Cracking open the awesome can & pouring into a glass...wow. I was met with a tropical fruit explosion. This beer smelled like pure JUICE; mango, pineapple & passion fruit with the slightest hint of pine left me eager to take my first sip. Shut Up and Play The Hits pours a hazy golden orange leaving a foamy white head - it is one good looking beer. You should 100% try this beer.
The first taste is every bit as good as I expected. Those juicy tropical fruits hit you right up front; loads of pineapple & mango with a hint of orange are then rounded off with a hint of resinous pine. For being a 8.8% ABV beer, it certainly doesn't taste like it & for one that tastes as good as this - it should definitely be enjoyed in moderation. This beer reminds me of Tropigamma which is a helluva comparison - it was the first world class beer I ever had.
This beer is an absolute BANGER! Beavertown & Verdant really have conjured up something special here (not that I expected anything else) & I'll be highly surprised if this isn't one of my top 10 beers of 2018.
Shut Up and Play The Hits gets 5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Hello & Happy New Year. A new year means lots of new beer & for my first post of 2018 I will be going back to where it all began; BrewDog, with a review of their latest beer - Indie Pale Ale.
Indie Pale Ale isn't just a new beer. It is a new headline beer. So this puts it alongside Punk IPA, 5AM Saint, Dead Pony Club, Jet Black Heart & Kingpin. Indie Pale Ale is a 4.2% ABV pale ale & here's what BrewDog have to say about it:
"Indie Pale Ale is an icon of independence, destined to live independently. This is Craft Beer for the People.
A 4.2% pale ale for the 21st century; stripped back and sessionable, this beer is designed to be accessible.
Indie Pale Ale delivers a profile of tropical and citrus fruit set against a caramel and biscuit malt backbone. It is suitable for any drinking occasion and ready to go when you (or anyone else) needs it."
BrewDog are serious about this one...let's see what it's all about.
Well I don't know what else to say, other than that was a extremely disappointing.
Indie Pale Ale pours a clear, golden straw colour leaving a foamy white head. There is not much that stands out in the way of aromas for me; biscuit malts with a minor whiff of tropical fruits.
On the taste front there isn't really much more to report. It is crisp, dry & very bland tasting; mainly comprising of biscuit malts & only the slightest hint of tropical flavours - certainly not what you'd expect from a pale ale. It really doesn't taste much like a pale ale to me and instead, far more like a cheap lager. BrewDog already make a lager and it is a much better beer than this.
I'm struggling to understand why this beer has been added to the headliners range; it just seemed really sub-standard to me & a lack of judgement on BrewDog's part. In their first new beer of 2018 BrewDog have left me massively disappointed. It is a rare miss for them & here's hoping they can come back swinging with their next beer.
2 out of 5 hops from me 🍻