BrewDog Punk Monk

BrewDog Punk Monk

BrewDog Punk Monk

Delving into the details of BrewDog barely seems worthwhile. Most people who read this blog (if any of you do, anyone?) will know what these two Scottish lads do by now. In short: two friends in Scotland, love for beer, good eye for marketing, set up brewery make some damn interesting experimental beers (and some damn good easier drinking ones too), get some hype around them, and have an award winning brewery.

In shorter, good on ’em, the boys done good.

Punk Monk is one of their newer brews (although it’s hard to keep up with the volume of beer [and column inches] they’re creating). It’s an IPA, brewed with Belgian yeast. An interesting proposal and yep, it’s pretty special.

It pours a sparkling shimmering gold,  pretty beautiful, really. As it cascades out of the bottle you can hardly help but smell it.  You get citrus (especially grapefruit),  melon, spice and a slight sugary sweetness. That great aroma punches stronger that the flavour – which isn’t to say it doesn’s taste great. Loads of fruit still, some yeast, maybe a bit of caramel too.  But it doesn’t hold long enough in the finish and let’s down a little at the end.  Yet what the finish lacks in deep flavours, it makes up for with a spicey, tingling send off that leaves you wanting more. And even that slight let down at the end is only because the initial promise seems so great.

Love ’em or loathe ’em (of just get a bit a wound up at their ability to stir up the beer-lovin’ blogosphere), this beer shows why everyone got worked up about BrewDog in the first place. Bloody good beer with an innovative, forward-thinking eye for flavours.

Buy this here

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Caldera Pale Ale

A can of Caldera Pale Ale

A can of Caldera Pale Ale

The first thing you notice about this beer is that it’s IN A CAN. Surely no good beers come in a can these days. Look at the shelves of any respectable beer merchant and it’s all bottles and bottles. No cans.

Cans have connotations of nasty, cheap lager, not quality, hand-crafted ales. Yet one craft brewery in Oregon is making the stand for the can. Why, well there reasons are that cans protect the beer from light and oxidation – thus keeping a better quality of product when it comes out of the can and hits your tongue. So far so valid. They also claim that the can is less easy to break than glass (more on that later) and is lighter and more likely to be allowed in beaches, sports arenas and the likes, where bottles have long been banned.

That claim of cans being harder to break is disputable. This blog post has come some seven days later than it should have done. Why? Well because the first 355ml of Caldera Pale Ale ended up all over the street outside my house when my box of beers fell to the floor, resulting in four breakages from the 10 beers bought. Surprisingly enough, the can was one of the victims. We didn’t see that coming.

Turns out our pavement had a bit of a treat with this one. While the can makes this beer look more like some cheap fruity soft drink than a quality pale ale, the flavour tells you something quite different. On pouring the beer looks fantastically golden and clouded, with a bitter hoppy nose with hints of citrus.

The can suggests that you “keep [it] cool, just like you”. I’m not so sure. While serving it nice and cool means it’s thoroughly refreshing, with a sharp, bitter, crisp front and an intriguing floral (sagey perhaps?) flavour comes through, it’s only as the drink gains some heat that it shows off its real class, with a rich, warm malty flavour hitting in at the end – the kind of strength you’d expect from a 5.5% ale.

The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” comes into good use here. This can may not look like much – it looks pretty crap, if we’re honest, but the beer inside puts a number of more well-known American Pale Ales to shame. By far the best beer I’ve ever had out of a can.

355ml, 5.5%, for more info see www.calderabrewing.com. This beer is available at Beer Ritz.

Brooklyner Weisse beer

Yum. Being the high-falouting beer snob that I am, I rocked up to a party with a bottle of this in my beer carrying device (alongside a few somewhat less exciting bottles of Budvar – a perfectly nice beer, but hardly exciting).

A Bavarian-style wheat beer, fans of Erdinger and Paulaner (as well as Franziskaner, which is available dead cheap in Morrisons and is a decent tipple) would definitely enjoy a bit of this American wheat beer – although, again, due to the cost of importing the buggers you’re going to pay a fair bit for 12 fluid ounces of this.

But, while the sun’s out and the weather’s warm, this is a very decent, if not exceptional drink. Brewed using German wheat and barley malts, it’s got those typical white/wheat flavours of banana and cloves with a good citrus punch too. It’s easy drinking too, and not too strong at 5.1%.  The only problem is the finish, which is perhaps a little too bitter.

I’d write more, but my memory gets a little hazy…