Is It Worth It?
The premise is simple; three brand new, experimental small batch beers delivered to your door every fortnight, all for £11 including delivery (UK prices). Pretty straightforward right? But is it worth it?
That's the real question here. I've been pretty hot and cold when it comes to new BrewDog beers this year, so with six new beers every month...could we start to face some BrewDog fatigue? I certainly hope not, because I do love BrewDog - Elvis Juice & Hazy Jane remain two of my favourite beers to date.
I sceptically decided to sign up. I think FOMO (fear of missing out) took over me - BrewDog really have nailed it here with the marketing strategy. I imagine there will be loads of people out there like me, purely signing up because they don't want to miss out. Time to find out of these beers were worth signing up for.
The beers themselves arrive neatly packaged in a typically BrewDog branded cardboard box. Inside the box, the beers come with a tasting card that details all the tasting notes. As far as branding & packaging goes, it's definitely all pretty cool & eye catching & certainly does the job of making a good impression.
First up is Jet Trash (v1), a 6.9% ABV West Coast IPA. Here's what BrewDog have to say about it:
"A quintessential and super-fresh India Pale Ale flying the flag with a huge payload of US hops on both aroma and flavour backed by a toffee-forward malt base"
Jet Trash pours from the can a deep amber colour, leaving a foamy white head. Aromas are citrus; orange, lemon & grapefruit with a backbone of hops & malts. Taste wise there is loads of grapefruits, prominent malts & a good splash of bitterness rounding it all off.
I enjoyed this beer, it's a like a baby brother of Jackhammer & I certainly enjoyed it more than Native Son, their West Coast DIPA released earlier this year.
4 out of 5
Next up is Zephyr (v1), a 4.6 ABV Citrus-Infused Session Sour. Here's what BrewDog have to say about it:
"Brewed with pale malt, wheat, Perle hops and a healthy addition of citrus, Zephyr is a tangy session pale with a pronounced aroma of grapefruit and lime and a juicy acidity on the palate"
Zephyr pours a clear amber colour leaving a foamy white head. Aromas are mainly grapefruit & sherbet lemon. Taste is prett much all tangy lemon up front before an overpowering soapy flavour takes over - for me, it really wasn't that nice.
I really didn't get on with this beer. Initial flavours were OK, but I found the aftertaste quite unplesant - like washing up liquid or something.
1.5 out of 5
Finally we have Nebula, a 10% ABV Russian imperial stout and here's what BrewDog have to say about it:
"A brand new imperial stout brewed to be a decadent beast – packed with flavours of chocolate, coffee, cinder toffee and roasted malt."
Nebula pours a deep oil black, leaving a foamy beige head. Aromas are coffee, brown sugar & some forest fruits. Flavours are quite similar to the aromas - big coffee & chocolate flavours combine with sweet brown sugar & toffee before a jolt of bitterness rounds it all off. For being such a heavy hitting beer, I found it rather smooth & easy to drink.
Overall, I found Nebula to be another decent beer. Full of interesting flavours that work well together.
4 out of 5
Overall, I still remain slightly skeptical if Fanzine will prove to be a worthwhile long term investment; whilst Jet Trash & Nebula were decent beers, I really didn't like Zephyr. But I guess I can't be too quick to judge, the premise is they are experimental beers - they aren't going to be perfect. It's certainly a solid start and I look forward to seeing how this subscription evolves.
I've actually paused my subscription after the first week, a combination of Hop Shop Aberdeen having an insane beer haul last week and going on holiday this weekend meant there wasn't enough room in my bank account for all those beers. I do plan to reactivate it after my holiday and seeing what comes next.
I'll be sure to keep you updated of future Fanzine releases when they arrive.
Have you signed up to Fanzine? What did you think?
Evil Twin Brewing
"...If you like Piña Coladas..."
Someone at Evil Twin Brewing clearly does, because they have gone and made a Piña Colada inspired beer; IPA Kolata is a 8% ABV IPA brewed with lactose, pineapple and coconut. I spotted this beer on Instagram a while back & and been wanting to try it ever since, so kudos again to Hop Shop Aberdeen for getting it on the shelf.
Here's what Evil Twin have to say about it:
"Inspired by an iconic tropical cocktail with a twist of what a modern beer should taste like. An IPA shaken up with lactose and with coconut and pineapple added. It’s creamy, fruity, comforting, annoyingly good and basically the epitome of poolside drinking."
I love a Piña Colada & I love a good beer, so this should be interesting.
First up, the can looks so cool - I'm a huge fan of what Evil Twin do with their can designs, they are usually so simplistic, bold & eye catching. IPA Kolata pours a cloudy golden orange with a foamy white head that disperses quite quickly. Aromas are mostly pineapple & citrus hops along with a touch of coconut & sweetened milk - very interesting aromas.
Taste wise, this beer is pretty much as advertised - loads of pineapple, coconut & lactose alongside more tropical fruits & a touch of bitterness. This beer tastes great, and it is extremely drinkable! It is so smooth & creamy, with very little carbonation - it goes down so well.
Overall, this has been one awesome beer. The flavours work so well together, and the creaminess from the lactose makes it so drinkable. I'm hoping to feature more and more beers from Evil Twin Brewing on here as they are such an exciting brewery - the Danish born company are set to open their first every brewery/tap room later this year in Queens, NYC.
IPA Kolata gets 4.5 out of 5 from me 🍻
Next up we have Peaches and Cream IPA by the kings of Wales, Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. I've previously reviewed two of their beers on this blog - Captain Insano & Clwb Tropicana, with both gaining very favourable reviews. So when Hop Shop Aberdeen dropped an issue of their newsletter a couple of weeks ago & I seen the words "Peaches", "Cream" & "IPA" together, I knew this was a beer I had to try.
Peaches & Cream IPA is exactly what it says on the label - a 5.5% ABV Peaches & Cream IPA and here's what Tiny Rebel have to say about it:
"Does exactly what it says on the tin! Peach flavours from, you guessed it, peaches! The cream comes from sweet, smooth lactose and the IPA from the bucket loads of Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe that compliment the sweet fruit flavours."
Tiny Rebel certainly have a reputation when it comes to jamming their beers full of awesome flavours, so I was looking forward to this one.
Before we go any further, lets talk about the bottle. Seriously, how cool is the label?! It features "Princess Peach" doing some spray painting and the signature Tiny Rebel Logo.
Peaches & Cream IPA pours a hazy orange colour leaving a creamy white head. The aromas are predominantly loads of sweet, juicy peaches with a touch of citrus. This is without doubt a beer that does exactly what it says on the bottle - on your first sip you are met an awesome juicy peach flavour & load of milky creaminess before coming to a every so slight bitter finish. Wonderful stuff! This beer is extremely easy (and enjoyable!) drinking & could easily see myself enjoying a couple of these in one sitting.
Overall, this has been another extremely enjoyable beer from Tiny Rebel. These guys are without doubt one of the most exciting breweries in the UK right now & I can't wait to see what comes next. Peaches and Cream IPA gets 4.5 out of 5 from me 🍻
Garage Beer Co.
You know sometimes you get a beer & you just know it's going to be great?
Soup IPA by Garage Beer Co. from Barcelona is a beer I've seen doing the rounds for a while now & a beer I've been extremely keen on getting my hands on. So when Hop Shop Aberdeen delivered the goods a couple of weeks ago, I made no mistake on getting my hands on a can.
"A big, juicy IPA from Spain's hottest new brewery. This New England style beer is loaded up with hops to give you a burst of juicy, tropical fruit, then as with their US cousins, a delicate malt base makes this silky and delicious on the finish. 6% ABV."
It sounds like an utterly fantastic beer...if only I'd known about these guys when I was in Barcelona...
The moment you open this beer you are transported to beer heaven. Wow. The aromas are incredible - HUGE pineapple aromas along with mango & orange are backed by the slightest hint of hoppy bitterness. Soup IPA pours a thick, extremely hazy golden yellow with a foamy white head - it looks almost exactly like boozy mango juice.
If pineapple flavoured beer soup is a thing...then this is it...and it is glorious!
This beer is outstanding, and one that you simply must try. Garage Beer Co. are well & truly on my radar now, and I cannot wait to see what comes next.
Overall, Soup IPA gets 4.75 out of 5 hops from me
You can check out the latest updates from Garage Beer Co. on their social media channels:
Beer With a Story To Tell
Recently whilst browsing Instagram, I stumbled across a post that featured a new Aberdeenshire based brewery - Beer Story Brewing.
I took the time to follow their social media channels & find out a bit more about them & more importantly, their beer. Based in Insch, Aberdeenshire, Beer Story Brewing were formed last year with the goal to make beer that tells a story - using interesting ingredients from all around the globe. Impressed with what I was reading, I decided to contact them to find out where I could purchase their beer to review & spread the word. I was very kindly offered the chance to collect some samples if I made my way out to the brewery, which I promptly did.
When I arrived there, I was immediately taken aback by the size of it. I didn't really know what to expect; but I was thinking it would be something more of a small industrial unit, but it's actually quite a large space. I was greeted by John McKenzie who took the time to show me around, tell me a bit about his background & the company itself. It is a highly impressive setup for a relatively new & small brewery & they seem perfectly positioned to make a name for themselves. I left feeling educated & with samples of their two current beers; Clockwork Zest & On The Road.
On The Road
First up is On The Road, a 5.2% ABV Californian IPA, that is made using American hops & yeast. Here's what Beer Story have to say about it:
"This adventurous IPA explores the kicks and inspiration of floral and citrus hops grown on Uncle Sam's West Coast. Californian ale yeast accentuates these bold hop flavours to deliver big hop aroma and taste."
First up, the bottle is presented extremely well - I was told that the labels were to represent library cards as each beer is telling it's own story, a nice touch if you ask me. Popping the bottle & pouring into a glass, the aromas are mainly citrus; lemon & orange, backed by some light floral notes. On The Road pours a golden amber with a thin white head that disperses quite quickly. Flavours are a malt base with a touch of caramel & some crisp citrus. There is almost no bitterness carbonation was relatively low - I'm not sure of this was just the bottle I had or if it is usually like this. The flavours all work together quite well in my opinion, making the beer very easy to drink & very tasty.
Overall, I found On The Road to be a very solid IPA & an great first beer for Beer Story. It's an extremely easy drinking beer & one that I think most would enjoy - you should check it.
3.75 out of 5 hops from me
Next up is Clockwork Zest, a 5.4% ABV chocolate porter that has been made using African cocoa nibs, coffee beans & oranges. Here's what Beer Story have to say about it:
"Take a dive into the utopian blend of chocolate malt, Madagascan cocoa nibs and very subtle oils of orange and zest. Equatorial African coffee beans round off this red island inspired porter."
Again we have another example of the library card style label that does a great job of telling you that little bit more about the beer. Opening the bottle & pouring into a glass, you are immediately hit with huge coffee aromas & a hint of citrus sweetness from the orange peel. Clockwork Zest pours a very dark, almost black, brown with a thin light brown head. On taste, you are hit with those huge coffee flavours right away before loads of bitterness from the cocoa nibs & some ever so slight sweetness of the orange. It's a great tasting beer & the flavours work well together, however I think that there is just a touch too much bitterness for my liking.
After drinking loads of fantastic porters & stouts over Xmas, Clockwork Zest certainly does not disappoint & it is another encouraging sign of what's to come from Beer Story.
3.5 out of 5 hops from me.
From first impressions I have been greatly impressed by Beer Story & I very much look forward to trying what comes next from them - first up is Outsiders IPA, a 4.17% ABV red IPA. They are also going to be at North Hop Aberdeen later this year, so be sure to keep an eye out for tickets going on sale.
You can keep up to date on all things Beer Story on their Website or by following them on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. Beer Story are located at:.
Beer Story Brewing Co
Insch Business Park