Sunday, 19 December 2010

Battle of the Brewdog Blondes

In their quest for constant improvement and beer perfection, those Fraserburgh upstarts at Brewdog have been messing about with some of their better known beers. Both Punk IPA and Trashy Blonde have been given a make over recently with their original recipes being modified. The prototypes of these modified brews are called Punk X and Euro Trash respectively. I'll go into greater depth about Punk X / Punk IPA in a later blog but for just now, let's focus on the Euro Trash / Trashy Blonde.

With Euro Trash the standard Trashy Blonde recipe has been used but with one important alteration - the US ale yeast has been replaced with a classic Belgian yeast strain. Brewdog describe the finished prototype as a "baby Belgian IPA" similar to beers such as Raging Bitch, Cali Belgique and Le Freak. That may be the case but how does the Euro Trash prototype compare to the original recipe Trashy Blonde?

There was only one way to find out - a side by side comparison.

So, with some of the Twitter #Glasgowbeer folk over at mine for a few Christmas Beers a perfect opportunity presented itself to do a wee comparison between a couple of bottles of Euro Trash and the original Blonde. I also repeated the comparison with Mrs Beer Monkey the following night. Just for research purposes, you understand.

Both botttles poured with a thick white head that hung around for quite a time. There was a slight difference in the colour with the Euro Trash being a slightly darker shade than the Blonde. To the eye, both had evidence of strong initial carbonation.

A quick swirl around in the glass and a deep inhalation revealed that the aroma between the two was starkly different. The original recipe Trashy Blonde gave off a wonderful sweet citrus and passion fruit hop aroma whereas the Euro Trash was more earthy, grassy with more than a whiff of the yeast coming through. The yeast seemed to mute the citrus hops. They were there struggling to break free from the yeast stranglehold but try as they might they never quite managed it.

The differences between the two carried through to the taste with the Blonde having a big hop profile in the mouth. Again, there was a huge hit of citrus, passion fruit and some mango giving way to a long and satisfying hoppy lingering bitter finish.

With the Euro Trash, I have to say that myself and my beer buddies were a bit underwhelmed by how it tasted. It needed more hops to fight through the Belgian yeast. It initially dulls and obscures the faint hop profile but towards the end the bitter hops stick their heads up and give a little kick just to remind you that they are there. To further prove that they are there, you are left with a long dry, bitter finish. There was some debate whether this finish was caused by the hops or the yeast. I thought it came from the hops.

The verdict of my mates and myself was that the original Trashy Blonde was a clear winner. We thought that it was more zesty, crisp and clean and much easier to drink and enjoy than the Euro Trash. The Belgian yeast in the prototype overwhelmed and out fought the hops which affected it's balance. Euro Trash is a nice beer but it wouldn't be something that I would actively seek out if needing to top up the beer fridge. Trashy Blonde is and that's the difference.

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