Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Brewdog Abstrakt 002 Night

Last night a craft beer scene emerged openly. The patrons of the arts' world from the Tate were invited to merge with the craft beer tickers; managers and writers. The venue was pumped with the adolation and expectation of another Brewdog experimental wonder.

A packed out 'Cask and Kitchen' in Pimlico was the venue. Have never seen the craft beer community and the arts' scene merge so succesfully. Hats off to Brewdog for this quite frankly genius and spactacular marketing skill.

Arrived in the venue pretty drained from an hour and a half train ride. Walk to the bar and bump into fellow rating friends and order a Hardcore. Let me tell you about Hardcore. When this is on form it is like the finest UK double IPA. The malt character is so well balanced. It's incredibly outstandingly drinkable for an astonishing 9.2% IPA. The crystal malts, the caramel body and the juicy fruit texture combine to leave you gasping on the floor for more.

The quality when fresh is outstanding. The balance and lacing is spot on. The smooth succulate sip to the bottom of the glass knocks me for six every time it's fresh.

The fact it was on cask and in a half pint measure for under £2 was thoroughly awesome. Thak you Cask and Kitchen for this.

The pub also provided us with Punk IPA Batch, 123; the 5.A.M Saint, 77 Lager, Trashy Blonde and Hardcore. Tom Cadden, their regional sales' manager for London informed that this was to be the biggest Brewdog event yet in London. I just had to attend. It did not dissapoint.

I conversed with tickers before meeting Brewdog's new Scottish sales' person. A very entertaining and passionate marketing man. Very keen to show to us, craft beer lovers, that Brewdog is keen to expand and innovate and set a trend for introducing new beers at an outstanding capacity rate. Great to meet you, Richard!

To his credit he was very keen for us to report back when we have a dodgy or inconsistent ale from Brewdog. I mentioned I have been reporting to Tom when the beer has fluctuated in recent times. As a genius cellar man Tom knows his stuff and can definitely sort out issues with conditioning at other pubs. Despite specific instructions from Brewdog HQ, bars and pubs still manage to screw up their beer!

The Absrakt 002 tastings was conducted after a simulating speech by Richard. Very brave to dive into the UK scene like that. I felt he did admirably. Not only was the pub fall; not only had he just met people in the pub that day but also there was the art scene from the Tate Modern which meant an even trickier crowd to manage. A bunch of drunks like me were just easy pickings.

After the speech the Abstrakt 002 was produced like some sort of holy grail. Contained in a silver; transparent and substantial glass. The beer was keg conditioned. As the crowd realised that the beer was available there was a massive surge towards the bar.

The bar was absolutely rammed. I had bought a few for friends and consumed one myself. The beer is tripple dry-hopped and at 18%. I tasted more pears than vanilla however the vanilla was hidden. There was a large caramel base and the appearance was very brown-mild ale style; redding out on the edges. I was very impressed with the appearance. For some reason the dryness, pears and the sweet crystal malts for me just didn't work. I'm not a fan of dry beers. I felt really odd and cold as the original Abstrakt 001 was outstanding.

I enjoyed the beer but was just left a little let down. I then switched to Hardcore and Punk IPA batch 123 which I believe is their best batch. For some reason the pint of Punk does not contain so much grapefruit notes as the bottles do. I found it especially drinkable and regard it as an excellent lager and one you can come back to again and again. A very assuringly retailed price too and available in supermarkets. Surrounding critics agreed that the grapefruit element was weaker compared to the bottled conditioned Punk but it was a thoroughly enjoyable session beer. The alcohol is very well hidden and drinkability is awesome.

The event petered out and it was left to the crowd to try the beers; enjoy the company and write some buzz words on the wipe board which they produced.

All in all a fantastic night and I hope they strive to do this again and again. It is really great that during this recession a brewery such as Brewdog can profit and enable its customers to share their beer with core members of their team. The pub benefits from the turn out of both the art and the beer world. The pub is likely to become a major success given the strength of their conditioning and their newly inspired bottle beer fridges. Just a shame that Abstrakt 002 didn't live up to the expectations. Maybe Brewdog have just raised the bar and made even the good neglectable??

A great night with many thanks to the Brewdog team for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Time for a little rest now.

You too, can judge for yourself as the beer is retailing on their website. Go here for the experience.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

World Cup Beers

It's that once every four years' experience. The echelon of the profesional game. The grandest exposure of the art of football on the planet. The grandest field to play your game. The competition you need to excel at to show your value as a world class professional footballer.

The World Cup. Maybe just the finest tournament in the world. One tournament worth an astronomical amount to the economy. One of the tournaments where companies whom know nothing about football decide all their marketing should be based around the beautiful game. The TV sales shoot up and companies try and push the latest technology so you can really feel like you're there but you're really in Nebraska.

So what does this mean for the best brand in the world? What does this mean for beer? Beer I tell you.

Supermarkets sell cut price crates to the discerning publc. They are desperate to flog you high brand poor quality beers accross their shelves. They ignore the craft scene completely. Do the majors release world cup beers? No. The craft beer scene is full of them.

Beers such as sheps 4-4-2; Robinsons 4-4-2. Woodfordes Game On, Acorn - England's Dreaming, Green King's Back of The Net, all this before the tournament is on!

The world cup of beers. Well for me you would have to have a beer representing each country. Let's put all the countries best micro beers together and see how the beers rival the football.

From Group A I would have:

Mexico - Casta Unica - Especialidades Cerveceras (FEMSA), Apodaca Nuevo Leon, Mexico
France - La Bavaisienne Ambrée - Brasserie Theillier, Bavay, France
South Africa - Helderbräu Lager - Helderbräu Brewery, Somerset West, Western Cape, South Africa
Uruguay - FNC Patricia Dunkel - Montevideo, Uruguay

From Group B:

Argentina - Murrays Old Ale - Murrays Cerveza Artesanal - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Greece - Zeos Pilsner (Unpasteurized) - Argos, Argolida, Greece
Nigeria - Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (Nigeria) - Lagos, Nigeria
South Korea - Platinum Microbrewery - Seoul, South Korea

Group C

Algeria - Schems Bavaroise - Sab Miller - Oran, Algeria
England - Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve - Diss - England
Slovenia - Laško Termalni Desert - Laško, Slovenia
United States - Three Floyds Oak Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout - Munster, Indiana, USA

Group D

Australia - Redoak Baltic Porter - Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe - Sydney, Australia
Germany - Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock - Brauerei Aying - Aying, Germany
Ghana - Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (Ghana) - Guinness Ghana - Kumasi, Ghana
Serbia - Krugher & Brent Extra Stout - Ritiševo, Serbia

Group E

Cameroon - Beaufort 8.9 - Les Brasseries du Cameroun (BGI) - Douala, Cameroon
Denmark - Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel - Mikkeller - Copenhagen V, Denmark
Japan - Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout - Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki, Japan
Netherlands - De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis (Wild Turkey Barrel) - De Molen - Bodegraven, Netherlands

Group F

Italy - Panil Barriquée (Sour) - Panil Birra Artigianale - Birrificio Torrechiara - Torrechiara-Parma, Italy
New Zealand - Epic Armageddon IPA - Steam Brewing Company - Auckland, New Zealand
Paraguay - Brahma Beats - Cerveceria Paraguaya - Cervepar - Ypané, Paraguay
Slovakia - Popper Palatin 16% - Pivovar Popper Bytca, Slovak Republic

Group G

Brazil - Eisenbahn Lust - Cervejaria Sudbrack - Blumenau, Brazil
Ivory Coast - Mamba - Solibra - Abidjan, Ivory Coast
North Korea - Taedonggang 15P - Taedonggang Beer Brewery - Pyongyang, North Korea
Portugal - Lusitana Double Bock - Cervejeira Lusitana (Unicer) - Carnaxide-Oeiras, Portugal

Group H

Spain - Agullons Setembre - Masia Agullons - Sant Juan de Mediona, Spain
Switzerland - BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2004 - BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes) - Saignelégier, Switzerland
Hundorus - Cerveza Port Royal Export - Cerveceria Hondurena (SABMiller) - Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Chille - Szot Strong Ale 12% - Szot Microbrewery - Santiago, Chile

So there we have it. The countries and their most highest rated beer according to Rate - a general consumer forum group for rating and reviewing beers; pubs and shops selling beer.

If each beer could be consumed whilst teams play each other it would be a great experience. Trying obscure cult classics and micros no one's heard of. The competition would grow so other beers could be introduced. The beers could be pit against each other and for an overall winner.

I for certain don't see Dark Lord being rated less than a micro larger from Brazil.

These are some pointers for you to sink when you are watching the cup. If you were thinking hey what is their countries best beer in a consumer focus group? Then this site is a great source and I have compiled them here for your amusment. To have these beers against each other well that would be an insane tasting evening but one I would be thrilled to attend. There is a lot more to beer than a huge macro and much more out there.

Please don't be ignorant of the high flying micros. Please try these during the world cup and try and seek out the opposition's favourites. This is a discovery and a cup is the perfect way to seek new beers and cultures.

I will be sinking Punk IPA from Scotland during the world cup. Feeling sorry that our neighbours aren't in the competition. If Glyn puts on his mighty Motley during the event I will try and have that too. Wales are not in the competition either.

Looking forward to the summer ale festivals which I will write about later.

Have a good tournament. Enjoy and don't be fooled by the marketing scams.