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Saturday, 2 January 2010

Brewdog bark @ Borough

So, a few weeks back I went to a beer tasting with Brewdog, at Borough Food Market, organised by Melissa Cole of Love Beer @ Borough.

The whole thing was very well organised and well run. James Watt of Brewdog walked us through eight of his beers with eloquence and enthusiasm. Something that did come across whilst listening to James was a sense of humility and humbleness, which can often be lost in the marketing that Brewdog produce. People have criticised Brewdog for their balls-out, brash, bolshy approach in the past, but in person you realise that this isn't born from cockiness or self importance. It's a tool used, or a basis for calculated decision making, always with the ultimate goal in mind of making the best, most thought provoking, original beer possible.

1. 77 Lager. I haven't enjoyed this in the past but it was a good aperitif to the main beers. Lager but not as we know it. More bitter, more hoppy, more flavour.

2. Trashy Blonde. Exotic fruit hoppyness, some bitterness, not bad.

3. Eurotrash. We were lucky enough to try this against the Trashy Blonde. This is the same beer but brewed with a Belgian yeast in place of the Brewdog house yeast. James said the switch could be made permanent because of such good feedback, and I would agree. The yeast takes over the nose and palate but the malt provides a perfect base for it to do so.

4. 5AM Saint. All the hop flavour, none of the bitterness. A lovely amber, red colour. I need to try some more of this one.

5. Bashah. Chocolaty dark malts meet hoppyness and Belgian yeast. I hadn't had this before and was very impressed. This will definitely inspire a homebrew recipe in the near future.

6. Paradox (Isle of Arran). I've had the Springbank, but this is better. Personally I found the whiskey notes from the cask to be more subtle and balanced. Also had a lovely smokey character through the middle.

7. Shark beer. A privilege to try this one. Only fifty bottles are in existence, six were at the tasting. Incredible depth of flavour with an almost medicinal nose.

8. Zephyr. Interesting, but the sweetness and fruit was a little too much for me personally. I can see why people like this but perhaps my taste buds were a bit spent by the time we got to it. I'd like to try it again but probably will never get the chance.

An excellent afternoon, well worth the fifteen quid. My one small complaint would be that no water was given out between beers. I'm looking forward to more of these tastings in the near future.

We also tried an early, unconditioned sample of Divine Rebel. It would be unfair to pass judgement on it but Melissa was spot on when she described it as tasting like "Whiskey Tea Loaf".