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 🍻
Christmas Time Mistletoe and...Beer
Christmas time is all about spending time with your family & overdoing it on great food so I thought that should apply to great beer also. For the past few weeks I have handpicking a selection of beers from Hop Shop Aberdeen and putting them away to enjoy over the festive season. I have managed to get my hands on beers from breweries such as Beavertown, Magic Rock, Amundsen, 6 Degrees North, Siren & Brewdog to name but a few. This includes some new exciting beers alongside some favourites from the past year like Humuloid, Cherry Cola Vice, Pineapple Oceans & a dark twist on Neapolitan Pale Ale.
In this blog post I'm going to take 12 of those beers & run through my favourites by picking a top 5. Some of these beers are pretty heavy hitters & it's not going to be easy deciding a champion, that's for sure.
Well it's safe to say that was an incredible selection of beers. It was hard enough to pick 12 of them...never mind 5! All of these beers were fantastic in their own right; great to drink and full of flavour. But overall, my top 5 is as follows:
Amundsen - Desert In a Can: This beer was INCREDIBLE. Amundsen really have done something special here. The flavours work together so well, it actually tastes like liquid desert. I can't wait to try the rest of the series. PS this is one BOOZY beer, so beer sure to enjoy it in moderation.
Northern Monk - Dark Neapolitan: A close second, I actually think I prefer this to the original. Everything just works so well; all the flavours of the original are there & with the addition of dark forest fruits & some coffee notes it becomes something really special.
Beavertown - Spresso: A beer that I missed last time round, and one I was delighted to finally sample. It is a BOOZY coffee beer. There's not really much else to say. Beavertown have worked their magic here.
Magic Rock - Dairy Freak: This one was great. It is such a sweet & milky beer that I enjoyed every second spent drinking it. Unlike other porters which can feel very indulgent, this is one I feel I could drink a few of in one sitting.
Beavertown - Humuloid: I think almost everyone reading this will know all about this one. The only non dark beer that made the top 5 but Humuloid is probably one of my all time favourite DIPAs that it would be hard not to include. I loved the original version & this was every bit as good, maybe even better?
So there you have it, my top 5 from my 12 beers of Christmas. The others that didn't make the list were still good, they just didn't have that extra special something about them that the top 5 did. They say winter is stout season and they are not half wrong, there is just something about drinking a warming dark stout/porter that just feels right at this time of year.
I'd like to finish this post by thanking everyone of you that has read any of my posts throughout the year. It means a lot & encourages me to keep writing. I'd like to wish you a very Happy New Year & I look forward to sharing even more of my beer journey with you all in 2018 🍻
Big Fish Brewing
Stonehaven's own Big Fish Brewing are back, this time with K3; their take on an American DIPA, coming in at a whopping 8.0% ABV.
Big Fish Brewing have highly impressed me so far, with their Long 14 blonde IPA & 12 Fathoms porter both getting very favourable reviews from me. So naturally, I was interested to experience their take on a DIPA - probably my favourite beer type...
K3 pours a hazy dark amber, leaving a foamy beige head at the top of your glass. Huge ginger aromas are backed by subtle citrus grapefruit & orange.
After the first sip POW...this beers smacks you right in the face with a booze fueled hop bomb. That is no understatement, this is one boozy beer. Huge hoppy bitterness is at the forefront followed by more bitterness from the grapefruit before being rounded off by some slight warming spice from the ginger. All the flavours come together perfectly. It's quite worrying how drinkable this beer is for its ABV; sink a couple of these & you will be fast asleep in no time!
Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this beer. It is easily the best I have had yet from these guys & a worthy addition to stand alongside some of my favourite DIPAs such as Humuloid & King Slayer.
If you haven't already checked out Big Fish Brewing, then what are you waiting for? Do it. You won't regret it. It is the perfect time of year to crack open a bottle of 12 Fathoms .
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Westhill Service Station
I'm a little bit late with this post, but the guys at Westhill Service Station have ramped it up a gear...they're ready for world domination!
Having recently renovated to store to increase the craft beer selection along with the addition of the growler station,they have now unleashed Hop Shop Aberdeen on us; making their incredible beer selection available to buy online & have delivered to your door.
The online shop is fantastic; it is jam packed full of great beers from all the top breweries. You can apply a bunch of filters to narrow down your search by location, brewery, style & price. Each week when the newsletter comes out, there is a link that will take you to the online store & automatically filter the latest releases, which is incredibly handy.
You can order online from anywhere in the UK, with free shipping on orders over £45. Orders are delivered via courier so can be tracked to ensure you are there to receive them. If you live local, you can skip delivery chargers and collect in store, with the option to pay online, or pay on collection...this is extremely handy for me with the shop only being 5 minutes from my door!
There is also a loyalty points system where the more you spend, the more you can save in future; for every pound you spend, will gain a loyalty point & for every 100 loyalty points collected, you will receive £1 off your next order.
If you haven't already signed up for the newsletter, you can do so here. And if for some reason you are yet to check these guys out, you should - they are killing it right now 🍻
Happy Birthday Byron Burger
Byron Burgers recently celebrated their 10th birthday and to mark this occasion, they brewed up a batch of special beers with some incredible local breweries. My wife was lucky enough to win a Instagram competition to win a box of all the beers...and well, married couples share right? So that means I get to try them out...
The box features beers from:
They vary in style and were brewed to be paired with a specific Byron birthday burger. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of trying them alongside the burgers...so it's beer only.
I'm not going to review every beer from the box, just my top 3 and a runner up.
Now this was a fantastic box of beer full of different styles and flavours. It was hard to pick a top 3, but I just about managed…
You probably guessed this was going to happen. But my favourite beer was absolutely Little Furry Animal by Beavertown. Little Furry Animal is a beer that I found to be absolutely excellent. It is without doubt classic Beavertown; refreshing, hoppy, murky & full of flavour. It’s a shame this was a limited release because I would 100% drink it again.
Close behind in second was Pith & Love by Vocation Brewery; a 4.5% ABV pale ale. This beers was great! It’s actually the first Vocation beer I’ve ever had (I know) – that is definitely going to change though! It was citrusy, light, refreshing & I can just imagine how great it would have been with a burger!
The next beer on the list was Hells USA by Camden Town Brewery, a 4.6% ABV unfiltered lager. Camden Hells is a great beer – anytime I’m out in somewhere like Revolution, it is my go to beer. So I was looking forward to trying the unfiltered version, because well, unfiltered beer is normally better! Safe to say I wasn’t disappointed; Hells USA was a belter of a lager – crisp with a real refreshing, citrusy, distinctive flavour. I would definitely drink this beer again.
And last but not least was Kuro by Camden Town again; a 5.1% ABV black lager. This beer was absolutely FULL of flavours! Distinctive lager flavours, with a hint of a porter about it - I can imagine that this beer would go very well with a spicy burger.
The other two beers; Zehn & Elation were decent, however they just didn't quite match up to the others. All in all, this was a great box of beers from Byron Burger - they definitely celebrated their birthday in style! Also, if you have never checked out their burgers, I highly recommend you do so. I am normally an advocate of trying to keep it local, however Byron's burgers are excellent!
Oh, and thanks again to my wife for winning the competition 🍻