Elvis is still very much in the building – @Brewdog: Elvis Juice

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Look around you.  It’s bloody September already…and that’s “already” as in the English meaning; rather than the US, hand-on-hips, “already” that they seem to indulge in…God love them.

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged – life is getting in the way, and that’s why I’m changing the way I do reviews.  From now on: they’ll be shorter, snappier and hopefully a bit less rambling.  I’d like to examine the beer as a whole, rather than pick it to bits and look at the parts.

So here we go with the first attempt:

Elvis Juice?  I’ve no idea why, but it’s Brewdog and they know what they’re doing – so they can do what they like…doesn’t bother me.

I had mine poured out of a can – and by holy crikey, as soon as the ring pull is off do you get a waft of hops!  It’s like someone’s rammed  a grapefruit and sherbert boiled sweet up your hooter.

And what a bloody marvellously joyous aroma it is:  candy-citrus with some resin and dank; it’s an aroma I’ve never experienced in a beer before.  Original and beautiful.  I’m willing to bet that the grapefruit juice went in too…probably post-fermentation, but I could be wrong and frequently am.

It’s a good colour, and the head’s nice.  But it’s that bloody aroma that gets me every time.

Damn it’s good to drink too.  Lively and candy-citrus hoppy, it’s maybe a tad too sweet?  But it’s light on it’s feet and treacherously drinkable – despite the 6.5% ABV.

Elvis Juice is probably the most cheerful beer you’ll drink all year…

See it here: https://www.brewdog.com/beer/amplified/elvis-juice

Tesco Finest: American Double IPA

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Note that after one I didn’t make it very far from the sofa to do the photography

It’s not very often I come across such a brute of a beer, but this is one such time.  If it was a dog it’d be a Staffordshire bull terrier, if it was a person it’d be an angry, flailing, Boris Johnson on crack (US readers, look him up)

I’ve not really ever had a true Double IPA, so this review is purely based on it’s merits rather than how it compares to the real thing.  I believe it’s brewed by the happy funsters at Brewdog – which means it was always going to be interesting and probably a little unhinged…

The colour is that of polished and laquered copper pipes…twee country pub goers know what I mean by this…  The effervesence is pretty much spot on, neither being over or under done.

From the aroma there’s piney, floral, citrus orange hops with a heather honey sweetness and strong caramel/molasses undertone from the malt…plus of course massive alcohol – which is 9.2% if you’re interested.

Taste-wise the first thing that hits you is the huge bitterness, which then takes you by the hand and leads you to a real mouthful of dark caramel malt and epic bitter orange and pine resin hoppiness, all the while the alcohol is literally rocking you back on your heels.  This is one BIG beer.

Once you’ve got through all of that and swallowed, you’re left with an intense bitterness that is briefly punctuated by tons of resinous pine needleyness, before the bitterness rides back in to give you a final going over.

As I said before this is a BIG beer, and as brutal as they come.  It’s not complex and punchy like Punk IPA or Goose Island.  It’s just punchy.  Massively so.

Serve it cold, and enjoy being knocked about a bit…

http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Product/Details/?id=267465288

There you go, Tesco.  I’ve even provided a link so people can go and buy it direct.  There’s someone at home most days, and even if there’s not you can just leave the crate of beer by the back door.  Our neighbours, despite my best efforts, only drink wine, so they won’t touch it…

Brewdog: 5am Saint

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5am Saint is, to my mind, the odd one out in the Brewdog range…I guess it’s because it seems to be more malt-led, rather than hop-led, like so many of their other beers.

Confession time:  I tasted this over a month ago, and then lost my notes, which I eventually found (note to self: in future write on phone directly into Evernote and not in spidery handwriting on a myriad of teeny-weeny scraps of beer-sodden paper.)

5am Saint goes a bit like this:

A “fizzy” tan head eventually fizzles out to a sparse covering atop a seriously amber-coloured beer.

While not having as vigorous an aroma as other Brewdog beers, it’s nice enough all the same and is subdued grassy, vegetal, hops ‘n’ malt.  Not much in the way of fruitiness here…but it’s different, it’s enticing and I kinda like it.

The taste leads out with a solid dark malt mouth-feel, that’s meshed nicely in with a smooth after-taste that tapers off into a dark, caramelly, spun-sugar sort of malt-induced bitterness; the whole thing is is nicely lingering, mouth-watering and seems to encourage you to “just have a little bit more”

This beer would probably be quite special on draught…I must try and find it somewhere.

I got mine from a supermarket somewhere for £1.75/£1.80 or something.  Either way all of the supermarkets have it, I guess…and quite honestly once you’re through the door they’re all the blimmin’ same.

Why not make your supermarket stand out from the crowd by sending me some free beer?  I’ll still be perfectly even-handed and impartial about my reviews, but it will mean that I’ll like you just that little bit more – and that’s got to be worth a whole pile of something, hasn’t it?

http://www.brewdog.com/beer/5am-saint

Brewdog: Dead Pony Club

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Brewdog don’t muck about, do they?  We all know they’re past masters of the humulone cone and the harnessing of it’s magic, but with this Jekyll and Hyde beer they’ve woven an extra-weird spell and left me with a bit of a conundrum…

Crack the top off of the bottle to be assailed by possibly the best and strongest aroma from a beer you’ll ever come across: lychee, kiwi fruit, gooseberry, bitter lemon zest. Beautiful.  How they manage to get this much aroma into a beer is beyond me. If you’re a home brewer, your only goal in life is to get this much aroma into one of your beers.  It’s staggering.  As I write this the glass is 18 to 24 inches away from me and I can still clearly smell it!

(Hours later I had a little bit repeat on me, and IT STILL TASTED AND SMELT OF THIS HOP AROMA!)

All I can suggest is that aroma this big must involve some extraordinary hop rocket technology and literally dustbins full of dry hops.

As you lift the glass to your mouth and admire the old gold yellow, your nostrils are assaulted once again by this wonderful aroma…meaning that the taste has quite a hard act to follow…which it manages to…sort of…but not in any way, shape or form that you’d expect.

First of all there’s a taste of nothing, just a sort of seltzery mouth-feel and a short pregnant pause while your brain says: “come on then, where is it?” (I guess this is the space that a higher dose of alcohol and bigger malt bill would fill?)

Then all at once, your tongue is enveloped by a full-on bitterness that seems to touch every taste bud.  This just goes on and on until, after another short while, the hops sort of sidle in and throw a huge blanket of dankness across your palate: think ferns in pine forests, odd echoes of pale summer fruit and an extraordinary accompanying dryness; which I believe is due to a fine mix of carefully chosen hops and a strain of ale yeast (Californian, I’m guessing by the style?, it’s certainly not like any of the other Brewdog yeasts I’ve picked up on)

During all this, the bitterness is still running headlong hand in hand with that dryness…even the aftertaste persists as dry, dank and unusually long-lasting.

I’m not really sure what to make of this beer; on the one hand it’s a tour de force in hopping, but on the other hand it all seems a bit out of whack…you know almost coquettish? One sniff and it’s all like: “oh yeah I’m all juicy fruits and hops like a craft IPA“, then you taste it and it’s a completely different kettle of fish; instead of the expected IPA hoppiness you get serious dry dankness.

All I can say is get a bottle and see what you think.  I’m so firmly on the fence I simply couldn’t say…all this mystery, complexity and frankly, weirdness, in a 3.8% beer is quite beyond my ken.

It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s more that I don’t think I understand it.  Save one for those days when you need a beer you have to think about…I’m sure the Brewdog folks understand it perfectly, though…

I got my bottle from Sainsbury’s (again) but, you know, every little helps…oh, hold on.  That’s the other one, isn’t it?  It was £1.80 a pop which, I suppose, is reasonable.

http://www.brewdog.com/beer/dead-pony-club