Beer Review: Dead Pony Club by Brewdog

Dead Pony ClubThe modern, American style hop-fests that Scottish brewer Brewdog produces may not be to everyone’s liking. Those who favour malt-dominated ales and lighter weight beers may be averse to Brewdog’s strong, hoppy beers unleashing their floral notes on the Great British drinking public. However, for a gentle introduction to Brewdog’s line, look no further than the Dead Pony Club.

While a massive leap from Brewdog’s near alcohol-free Nanny State, Dead Pony Club is still quite light at 3.8%. After all, we’re talking about the brewer that created the nuts strong Sink the Bizmarck at 41%.

Dead Pony Club pours a rich amber-toffee colour and fizzes out of the bottle like a real livewire. As you would expect from a “California Pale Ale”, there is familiar grassy hop nose with just a hint of gooseberry fighting to be heard.

The taste is sharp and zesty, and is a more or less toned-down version of the nose…and it repeats well too! It’s relatively smooth going and I must say it might rival the delicious 5am Saint as my favourite of the Brewdog line.

At 3.8% the Dead Pony Club really is a soft introduction into Brewdog and UK takes on American revival beers.

Brewdog IPA is Dead review: Part One

The "IPA is Dead" gang of four

Scottish craft brewer Brewdog has launched its “IPA is Dead” series of four beers, each with a single hop taking centre stage with the same malt base. It’s a great concept – the beers will look all the same but taste and smell unique. The four hops come from different parts of the world: Challenger (UK), Galaxy (Australia), Motueka (New Zealand) and HBC (new US variety).

This is the first of a two-part review starting with the Southern Hemisphere contingent.

Galaxy

This is a relatively new arrival to British brewing but Australians have been enjoying this Aussie-developed variety for a while now. I first came across Galaxy-based beers at Little Creatures, an awesome brew-pub in Fremantle, Western Australia. My reviews at the time noted elderflower hints and grapefruit nose. In Brewdog’s Galaxy that elderflower nose is multiplied to a cacophony, there is passion fruit and toffee notes in the smooth finish.

Cracking nose, intense taste, a little dry in the finish but character loaded.

Motueka

Another new arrival from New Zealand, the Motueka hop has Saaz parentage, a common staple of European lager styles. Brewdog’s Motueka has a sweet floral nose but nowhere near that of the Galaxy. Having said that, I found it more flavoursome and better balanced than the Galaxy. It has a refreshing crispness, which makes it perfect for Pilsners.

Next time, the Northern Hemisphere hops!

Ten Great Scots: The best Scottish beers

Burns Night has arrived and true Scots and Mock Jocks alike will be saluting in the haggis. “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!”

Not in my house as I’m out of stock, alas. I’ll be sipping an Islay single malt late at night, but if you’re after some beer recommendations then here are a few Great Scots you should sample. Slàinte mhath!

Ola Dubh: A seriously rich imperial porter fermented in Highland Park whisky barrels, the “Black Oil” really is a unique treat.

Red Kite: A wonderfully sweet session ale from the wild north. The Black Isle Brewery really hit the mark with this one.

Innes & Gunn Oak Aged Original: Another one from the barrel, this time Bourbon. This is an acquired taste as it’s very, very rich.

Flying Dutchman: A Scottish white beer invented by a Dutchman. No really. Honey, caramel, hops. Delicious!

Brewdog Punk IPA: One of the most famous beers to come out of Scotland in recent years, the Punk IPA is a masterclass in hopsmanship.

Yellowhammer: A golden, straw-coloured pale ale which goes down a treat during the summer months.

Caledonian 80 Shilling: Not one of the most tasty, perhaps, but definitely a favourite, multi-malted Scottish session ale.

Brewdog 5am Saint: Another red ale with an enticing floralness to it. “An all-out riot of citrus, orange and lychee”.

Profanity Stout: It’s a stout, but it tastes like a black IPA. One of my favourite stouts.

Deuchars IPA: Supreme Beer Champion of Britain in 2002. Highly quaffable and delightfully balanced.

Why I’ve bought into Brewdog

If you’re not already aware, Scottish craft brewer Brewdog is opening up its second “Equity for Punks” IPO (initial public offering), allowing the public to buy into the company. The aim is to help finance the building of a new brewery and keep creating great craft beer. I’ve just gone online and bought into the scheme.

Personally, this is my first foray into share ownership and there are a number of reasons why I’ve gone for it:

-          Supporting British brewing: There are some great small (and large) brewers in the UK making awesome beer. Brewdog’s bullish attitude versus the deluge of generic lager on the UK market is commendable (and necessary), plus they’ve given us some fantastic brews such as the Punk IPA and the 5am Saint.

-          The numbers stack up: Brewdog started life just four years ago as two men, a dog and a £30,000 bank loan. Now it employs 65 people and is set to turn over £6.5 million in 2011. You can trust a business model like that, and it’s unique and aggressive marketing will no doubt help it grow even further

-          Personal interest: Brewdog is from Aberdeenshire, I have Aberdonian roots. Nuff said.

You can log on and get your shares here and do your bit to help the craft beer revolution.

Beer review: 5am Saint by Brewdog

The 5am Saint at Brewdog Edinburgh

I’m a big fan of Brewdog and have reviewed its Punk IPA and Hardcore IPA (half way through the video) before. This week I had the good fortune of being in one of my favourite cities in the world – Edinburgh – where Fraserburgh-based Brewdog has opened its second bar. There I treated myself to a pint of the 5am Saint.

The 5am Saint mixes malts including Maris Otter and Caramalt with an “über-hoppy” mix of exotic hops. It’s a wonderful deep-red ale and comes with floral, aromatic notes. You can tell already that you’re in for a taste sensation.

The company’s notes are pretty bang on when it says that its mix creates “an all out riot of citrus, orange and lychee flavours”. The lychee flavour is a particularly cheeky finish.

I love it. It’s available in supermarkets, but it was just extra special to have drunk the 5am Saint in one of Brewdog’s own bars.

The essentials:

ABV: 5%

Colour:  Deep red

Nose:  Floral, aromatic notes

Taste: Lychees and citrus

Our verdict: Eminently quaffable but take your time on this.

Website: http://www.brewdog.com/5am_saint