There is absolutely nothing worse as a beer drinker than the promises made on a label or blurb on a brewer’s website of what a beer is, only to open it & discover you’ve been had. New England IPA’s are the current IPA beer trend of the moment, so when O’Hara’s Brewery from Carlow released one called ’51st State’ that was inspired by the New England IPA style (great name choice), I was eager to give it a try. Oh eagerness, how you mock me.
Ever since one Mark Nixon left Trouble Brewing to head out Howth Way to take over the brewhouse at young brewery, Hope Beer, the man has been relentless in his creation of special beers. As someone who has followed this young man’s progress very closely, & seen him become one of the elite group of young head brewers in Ireland who are at the vanguard of Irish craft beer. And experiencing the creations from these young, hungry brewers has been a priviledge, as has picking their brains. As Summer 2017 starts creeping way, Hope have staked a claim to ‘beer of the Summer’. And they’re one hand on the flag with it.
Black Donkey Brewing blew me away with the first European Saison that I actually gave a damn about, ‘Sheep Stealer’. That is a testament to not only them, but Richard’s love of Belgian styled beers – which I am not a fan of at all. Their ballsy choice of style for their primary beer is something to be cheered vigorously. Richard doesn’t do the whole American-styled beers thing, despite the fact his passion for craft beer was massively influenced by the U.S. scene during his time there. So, when they release an American styled IPA, needless to say my interest was piqued.
Lager. A beer variety that until very recently I have had little to no love for. Some craft lagers have grown on me, but they won’t replace my pale ale or my IPA as my go-to beer style. Until now. And it would have to be Stone Brewing to do that. Welcome to WussieLife. Who you callin’ Wussie?
Everybody’s doing a brand-new beer, now. Come on baby, do the Commotion Lotion. I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance now. A chug-a chug-a motion like a railroad train, drink it nice and easy, now, don’t lose control. A little bit of bucky and a lot of soul. This beer from Ciudad del Wexico from the minds ofsome bret loving cheeky fuckers is full balls. FULL. BALLS.
Pale Ales are a definite go-to beer style for me when I just want something drinkable, fruity & not too taxing. And I like them pale. And I mean PALE. No amber hues, no caramel, no burned orange. Pale. Otherwise, what’s the friggin’ point of them? So when Whiplash’s Alex Lawes says he’s working on a new Pale Ale that’s proper pale. I’m proper interested.
I am a hop addict. I love bitter & twisted IBU trips. I love super spicy food too. I love the cold sweat, sinus clearing, drippy eyed feeling from a spicy chili. The first big bombastic mouth-smashing beer I ever had was Stone’s Arrogant Bastard, & I almost choked. But, I found ‘my beer’. Then came Hardcore IPA, hich was like getting smooshed by Mike Tyson square on the jaw from one of those% hellacious uppercut. The, in 2014 Palate Wrecker from Green Flash appeared in my hands from a friend who came back from SD. I was excited. Scared. Tense. Then, my tastebuds needed CPR, & it was awesome. Five years on, Palate Wrecker made its way to my door once again. And it was glorious.
BrewDog & lager as a style have somewhat of a tumultous relationship. Part of the issue is their general unhappiness with how their lagers either turn out for them or are received. Whether it was 77 lager, This is Lager, or the newest iteration, Kingpin, BrewDog it seems remain committed to creating the perfect lager.
From the Death’s Head Pony Club came forth what today I still call BrewDog’s most technically accomplished beer, Dead Pony Club. Like 5AM Saint, it too had a rough ride into the rebranding of 2015 to Dead Pony Pale Ale (jesus, what were they thinking??) to come out the other sideas the hop blasting 3.8% John Wayne of their beer catalogue. This is not just a trip back down memory lane for a beer I haven’t had in close to a year. It’s a trip back to look at a beer that changed how I wanted to brew beers for myself.
Johnny Rotten was one of the most interesting & dangerous front men of the punk era. His ragged look, spiked har, quick wit, nihilistic views & a desire to shock when a microphone was shoved in front of him made him the poster child for the 70’s British punk movement as thefront man for the world’s most dangerous group of the time, ‘The Sex Pistols’. They were edgy, provocative, uncompromising & misfits at a time when bands like Queen, Elton John, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, The Bay City Rollers & Fleetwood Mac were heavy hitters in the music charts. They were punk & the standouts. Roll forward to 2017, Johnny Rotten is no more. He is John Lydon. Still outspoken, anything but a punk or shocking or relevant anymore. And sadly, Punk IPA seems to have gone the same way. Or has it really?
Hi everyone, I’m Ian. It’s been 165 days since my last Hardcore IPA. When BrewDog announced Hardcore IPA was going away in November last year, I was a bit sore about it. Okay, I was incredibly sore about it. Hardcore IPA for me has always been the brother-from-another-mother to Stone’s Arrogant Bastard in its presentation. Both are beers from another time, & to me still timeless despite their claims that ‘time has overtaken our original Double IPA ‘ & that ‘it is a beer more suited to 2007 than 2017 when you look at the world of highly hopped big-hitters’. So for part 2 of this series, I take a look at what I considered the European behemoth of Double IPA’s, BrewDog Hardcore IPA.
There’s many times I stop buying certain beers. Sometimes it’s because the choice of new beers to try is overwhelming (and this just keeps getting worse). Other times, it’s because I fall out of love with a beer. Many know my long-time fondness for BrewDog beers, which has been held against me. This series of reviews called ‘DogYears’ is a trip back to revisit & check-in on beers from BrewDog I’ve loved & liked that are still available today to see how they are as the brewery from Ellon, Scotland palm-mashes the power-up button on their quest for beery domination.