Take Five - New Guest Beers!
Take 5 - new guest beers! The latest guest brews in our bars
Brewers are creatures of habit and routine, by and large. Setting the alarm at the same, early time (mashing-in preventing lying-in), weighing the malt bill and hop additions exactly, and operating their brewkit in the same fashion every day, time after time. Yet the best brewers also have an overwhelming urge to experiment, to see what happens. Adding in new ingredients, putting a twist on traditional styles, or even carefully controlling a brew, only to place it in a barrel, letting the fateful hands of ageing play with the flavour profile.
The five beers below have recently been added to our network of BrewDog bars, our online shop, and BottleDog, and whilst some may be more experimental of outlook than others, drinking them leads you to wonder where the idea for each may have come from…
Stone Spröcketbier (5.4%)
If beer could be made in a workshop, this is the one. Even the bottle looks as if it has been assembled, rather than labelled (or screen-printed, in Stone's case). Spröcketbier is a black rye Kölsch, hammered together by two Stone employees, Rick Blankemeir and Robert Chandler. They won the first 'Stone Spotlight Series' competition for in-house brewers, beating 18 other entrants. Judged by Stone co-founder Steve Wagner and Brewmaster Mitch Steele, Spröcketbier tastes like warehouse leather, quickly bitter and with that touch of rye tingle on the finish. Roasty and chocolately at the same time, when asked by Mitch Steele what the bottle tasting note should read, Robbie Chandler apparently replied 'Good, and I'd like another please'.
Mikkeller Green Gold (7.0%)
Everyone knows by now Mikkel doesn't have a workshop of his own; yet Mikkeller Green Gold belongs, instead, in a laboratory. Gluten-free beers are increasing in prominence year on year – and, more importantly perhaps, increasing in variety as well. No longer a middling selection of g-f bitters and pale ales, beers like Green Gold prove you can have stunning flavour without the reliance on gluten. The answer found by Mikkeller – and it can't have taken him long – is to pound the hops; Green Gold is an American-style IPA, and is sweet and hot with hop oils. This beer is so sticky; you could trap insects with it. You would never know it was gluten-free, and to a lot of people, that really matters.
Siren Caribbean Chocolate Cake (7.4%)
There's no question as to where Siren's latest beer owes an imaginary debt; the kitchen. Of course, you can't help thinking this when the beer title contains the word 'cake', but Siren's collaboration with Florida's Cigar City stops short of the serving suggestion 'lick from the back of a wooden spoon'. Brewed with experimental hops, cacao nibs and aged on cypress wood, this tropical stout has elements of coconut, creamed oats, pine (although it must be the cypress), coffee and a reasonable belt of alcohol. It's hugely fascinating, and runs around the glass on thick, black legs. Oily and entrancing, CCC is a beer that proves exactly the optimal number of chefs were involved in its creation.
Victory Old Horizontal (9.5%)
People often claim their ideas came to them in a dream – we’re sure this is sometimes suggested when the truth is far more mundane (“I was looking at the clingfilm dispensers at the supermarket when BAM – inspiration”). Old Horizontal is neither mundane, nor is it unlikely to have been conceived in a dream. This American barley wine from Victory Brewing Company is lucidly rich, chewy and spicy, and has a warming alcohol finish that will lull you into a transcendental state. Take this one home, duvet yourself on the sofa, and settle down in front of something relaxing. Think Cheers (anything but Twin Peaks).
Alesmith Horny Devil (11.0%)
Finally, the latest guest beer we have to feature is a full-on blast of rural Californian sunshine. Not the coastal, hop-forward variety; nor the cool, pine-scented – Alesmith's Horny Devil is reminiscent of arable fields; a cooking segment performed in a field where the chef puts something together on a small burner, surrounded by heat haze, browning cereal crops and flicking grasshoppers. A Belgian-style ale brewed with coriander, candi sugar and Trappist yeast, it has a herbal freshness about it, a balance of flavours that give it such a presence. And it really doesn't taste 11%, either. Soft and grassy, the coriander prickle makes this beer an absolute winner, giving it a clarity on the palate that is frankly unbeatable.