Brewdog: Learning about beer…

Located just around the corner from work (Queen Square is dangerous for the amount of nearby temptations) Brewdog has become a little bit of a regular haunt.  It’s also a big fav of my surprisingly beer-loving flatmate, so when news came of their beer tasting evenings with meat and cheese platter it was the perfect pressie for her birthday. WIN!

Greeted by the impressively moustachioed barman, Thom, who was to be our teacher for the evening, we settled down around a table of hops and malt with our fellow beer enthusiasts and our ‘Brewdog Beer School’ books at the ready!

Five different beers were to be sampled throughout the evening, drinking from special glasses: the smaller top edge forcing the aromas up into our nose. With the beers ranging from a standard 4.5% up to a heftier 18.2%, the small amounts were definitely necessary.

Our night included:

Number 1 – ‘Punk IPA’. We all termed this as a more ‘girly’ beer (as a consequence of the majority of the table being female); this was nice and fruity with tastes of mango and pineapple coming through.

Number 2 – ‘Dead Pony Club’. A californian pale ale, this had a strong hops aroma. Hops apparently develop the flavours of their location and consequently this was light and fruity. ***Small factoid – there are currently around 380 registered types of hops.*** On the other hand, the flavour of the malt (or grain) that also makes up the taste of the beer, is all down to the roasting!

Number 3 – ‘Hello my name is Ingrid’. A double IPA flavoured with Swedish cloudberries this was one of my personal favourites. There was a resounding agreement around the table that this beer was dangerously ‘gulpable’, especially at 8.7%. The cloudberries give it a deliciously sweet aroma and taste.

Number 4 – ‘Libertine Black’. Much darker in colour, this had vanilla and coffee coming through. A much stronger flavour for serious beer drinkers. A little bit too much for me.

Number 5 – ‘Tokyo’.  My absolute favourite – excitingly, this tasted like port! At 18.2% you only want a small 1/3 pint of this to sip slowly!!! This was the strongest beer to ever be served on tap. When Brewdog were questioned over the high strength of the beer, their response was “I think by serving an 18.2% we’ll be able to cure binge drinking.” Haha! As previous World record holders, Brewdog take their strong beers very seriously.  It started with the Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32% (which you can get at the bar); and continued into the development of ‘End of History’ – which we saw set in a taxidermy squirrel – at 55%. Unfortunately, rivals, Brewmeister, have now come out with ‘Armageddon’at 65% – will Brewdog try and beat them?

With all this beer, food was necessary! With food sourced from lovely local suppliers such as Westcombe Dairy and Hobbs House Bakery, their cheese and meat platters are a must! And, as we were told, beer is the perfect drink to match with all food. 😉

When taking a lesson with Thom, you are learning from a serious beer enthusiast. In his exact words, “Modern civilisation would not be where it is today without beer!” Hehe! As it is reportedly the second most drunk beverage after water, he could have a point.

The evening was an education in not just the tasting and flavours of beer, but in the origins of the drink and how Brewdog came about. Thom can you give you a more thorough and exciting account if you book in for a tasting (which you should!!) but in summary, the early days of Brewdog forms quite the interesting story. Two young guys, not pleased with the standard beers on offer, start brewing their own alternatives in Aberdeen. They manage to get a start-up loan to start brewing, but struggled to get the sales required. It was a surprise win in a Tesco competition, just before they were about to give in and shut up shop, that needed them to suddenly need to mass-produce on a serious scale to be on the shelves across the country. Now the bar is speedily growing in popularity, with 10 bars opening in 2 years and more plans to open bars internationally! Serious success story – KUDOS!

Highly recommend a night at Brewdog Beer School! Or at least go and have a chat with the bar staff; they’re super friendly and will help you find your perfect beer! Also if you go on a Tuesday night – Grillstock (complete geniuses with pulled pork) put on hotdogs from 12-3 and 6-9. Beer and epic hotdogs will make the worst day of the week great again.

***Disclaimer – I have not checked any of the facts in this blog post. Any questions, take them up with Thom at the bar over a beer. ;-)***

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