Friday, 2 December 2011

Beer Advent Calendar Day 2- BrewDog Blitz!

Second day, second beer, and a potential one-off from the scamps at BrewDog. Today was fairly mundane, so I was looking forward to getting back home as I knew a certain order would be delivered. Suffice to say, the courier issues surrounding BrewDog's online shop have been sorted wonderfully, allowing me to discuss today's fantastic libation. Avid followers of BrewDog's online blog will be aware that they are planning to reshape their core range of beers from next year, and in the name of democracy they've decided to brew four prototype beers and let the consumer decide which one of these will form part of the range. I doubt staples such as Punk IPA will be on the chopping block just as much as I doubt Paradox will become a regular item on the supermarket shelves, but it's good on them to allow their loyal drinkers the opportunity to decide on the beers they want to drink. Regardless of the controversy they love to instigate, they genuinely want to get people interested in beer and change people's perceptions.

The four prototypes are as follows:
  • Blitz!- 2.8%, hop bomb with caramalt
  • Prototype 17- 4.9%, pale ale with American hops, Belgian yeast and Scottish raspberries
  • Hops Kill Nazis- 7.8%, 5 A.M. Saint's bolder cousin, red ale with Chinook hops
  • Scotch Ale- 7.5%, brewed with heather honey and 8 different malts
I managed to try Hops Kills Nazis when it was first released as a one-off beer a couple of months ago (still have a couple of bottles left in the cupboard) and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, one of my favourite beers over the summer was the even more amplified AB:02, an imperial red ale brewed as part of the limited-release Abstrakt series. I think I can only deduce from this that BrewDog make some brilliant red ales, so I'll be looking forward to giving HKN another try in the future. However, I digress. On to tonight's choice....

Blitz! immediately grabbed my attention because of the low ABV. As most of you will be aware, BrewDog are infamous for their bold, high-ABV experiments that blur the lines between beers and spirits (whilst also incorporating taxidermy into the process). Described as being packed with west coast hops, I was already salivating at the prospect of trying this before I put through the order. The beer pours a gorgeous amber colour, with a decent head that reduces quickly to a halo around the inside of the glass. The aroma is subtle but definitely reminiscent of red ales- fruity hops but almost overridden by the malt. Very nice though, and still surprising when confirming the ABV on the bottle! The taste is predominantly bitter- a slight finish of fruity hops and some burnt sugar comes through after a couple of sips. The mouthfeel is quite light- a very drinkable beer. Overall, the aroma suggested the perfect beer- a sessionable, hoppy beast- but the finish was a bit too bitter for my liking. Yes, that might sound crazy when hops are used for bittering in the first place, but I would've liked a more pronounced fruitiness to supplement the bitterness. A very thought-provoking beer; the first smell and taste almost made me vote for it then and there, but subsequent sips have unfortunately caused me to retract that opinion. 3 more to go- democracy in action, what a wonderful thing!

Tomorrow, another beer and another day closer to Christmas. Until next time....

(Update- after a bit of time exposed to the outside world, the bitterness has diminished quite a bit and it's become a more rounded drink. Definite improvement but unfortunately still not up to the usual BrewDog standard.)

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