Monday, 18 April 2011

BrewDog ABV crisis update


further to yesterday's post, I feel I should update you on a couple of things.

As you perhaps groaned upon noticing, I had to load my piece last time with a number of caveats due to a combination of failed memories and unfindable evidence, so its perhaps useful that i can now try and clear up a couple of those "althoughs" and "howevers".

I had to go to tsupermarket today to get medicine ( literally, this is not a euphemism ), so despite the fact that the walk up had made me feel gross, I ventured to find the Punk IPA anomaly on the shelves. I can confirm that the new weaker strength is 5.6%, so its not as bad as I made out. Its still bad though - like I said, its not a sixer.

I also noted the price, but its not worth recording since Asda will no doubt change their minds again in a week and put it back in an offer or make all beer the same price or some other rudimentary switch that the shelf stickers will fail to reflect.

On further investigation, based on my reading a couple of other people's blogs, therefore employing the steadfast journalistic tools of opinion supplemented by supposition, I read that not only had BrewDog cut the strength, but they had also dared to reduce the hop content.

This, of course, is a grave development. Its pointless talking about bite and being anarchic or for Punks if you take away some of what made the beer noticable or unique in the first place. Draught Punk IPA (at 6%, obviously), is one of the finest beers I ever tasted, and the conditioning lets it mellow just enough, without losing its edge, and therefore to be better than the bottled version. Now that care bear adopting and cabbage patch doll amassing has taken the place of frightening people with a combination of hops and alcohol, one wonders what's next for the taming?

All this upheaval reminds me of happier days when BrewDog beers first arrived at Davefromtshop's shop, and we got to try them for the first time. It was 2008, or possibly as long ago as 2007, and everything was great.......

We tried the punk first. We liked the packaging, we liked the strength, since it stood up to classics of the genre like Flying Dog, Brooklyn East India Pale, Thornbridge Jaipur and Burton Bridge Empire to name but a few. The thing is, when we tasted it, it was nothing like any of the above beers. It was harsher, punchier, and for a few weeks in my mind, palpably better.

We both loved hoppy beers and there were hops in abundance in the initial taste and the lingering background bitterness. We laughed in admiration at the ballsy wording on the bottle and mused on what customers might make of this raucous assault of citrus bitterness. Pleased, we moved onto the Physics.

I actually winced. I pulled a face like I'd tried to swallow a paracetamol and it had dissolved on the way through. Dazed, and desperate for there to be a saviour in the taste, I sought out the recognisable hop bitterness in the wall of ascorbic white-flavour buzzing on my tongue, then looked surprised at the gentle, lingering almost soothing caramel flavour that washed in like a tranquil ripple at the end. We both looked at each other and had we got our words out, would have said the same thing - "its amazing, but how the hell are we going to described it accurately and still sell it ?"

Mercifully we need have had no such concerns. The next beer Dave got was the paradox which was a whole different story, sold out in next to no time despite its price tag, and create a lasting buzz about these new brewers.

Apart from giving my mate one to try ( he was similarly horrified and warm with admiration for the obtuseness of the overall taste ), I didn't try Physics again until it came out in cask form, when Paul at the Sportsman in Darnall had some on at £2.20 a pint and we tried what was now a slightly tweaked version of the initial shocker, made many times better for being conditioned, and being one of the best beers I have tasted at the pub. Meanwhile, Punk IPA continued to be my bottle of choice for parties and when entertaining, and I never turned down the opportunity to drink it in cask form.

So, you see, if only the above was the case, BrewDog would be the crown princes of non-conformity and pushing the boundaries, and therefore could rightly shout this from every bottle label.

Yet now that Punk has been violated and made to sit ashamed on the shelf with its embarrassing purple flares and yellow dicky bow with a bright orange badge proclaiming "I am 5.6" it can't make those claims. It must instead nuzzle up to it new friends Old Empire and Bishops Finger and wait to become part of an "acceptable face of British Brewing" suicide anonymity bottled beer pack for Fathers Day.

I suppose the only way to get over this is to order a box of Hardcore IPA and Tokyo from the brewery website. How you have let us down BrewDog. ....

Wee Beefy.

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