January tends to be a dull and boring affair where not much happens other than the horrific inevitabilities of an expanded waistline and a hefty credit card bill following the overindulgence of the festive frivolities.
At this time of year, everyone usually hunkers down and wishes for warmer climes and wealthier times. And in beerland things are no different. January is usually like a pint of Ruddles - dull, flat and uninteresting.
However, this year things are different. Much, much different, for January 2011 has burst into life with a beery snap, hop crackle and BrewDog pop.
|Brewdog on the Board|
Snap! - The Kernel Brewery and the Rake Bar's Glyn reveal to the world their interpretation of the beer style du jour - Black IPA.
Crackle! - Dark Star Brewing Company and Mellisa Cole unveil their collaborative beer called M & M Porter.
Pop! - Fraserburgh Upstarts BrewDog's Glasgow launch of their Alice Porter and their new strength, new taste Punk IPA.
There will be full reviews of the Kernel and the M & M in later blogposts from me but just now I want to report on the coming together of two of my favourite beery things - BrewDog and the Bon Accord for the launch of some great, tasty and refreshing beer.
Legend has it that the Bon Accord in Glasgow was the first pub to stock BrewDog beers. That may or may not be the case but it's quite fitting that BrewDog should choose the Bon to launch and showcase their new beers. The Bon is a Scottish pub institution and has been championing quality, well made beers since the 1970's and has done more than it's fair share of bringing BrewDog's delicious delights to the attention of west coast drinkers.
Tonight, there are three BrewDog beers on show - their new 6.2% Alice Porter, the new 5.4% Punk IPA and 3.8% AlphaDog and everyone one of them are an absolute joy to behold and imbibe. Each are stunningly gorgeous and go down far too easy for a Monday night. I had intended to stay for a half of each, say hello to a few folk and be home for nine. Fat chance of that once the first mouthful danced delightfully on my tongue before sliding effortlessly down my throat. This was going to be a late one.
The new Punk IPA has seen it's ABV reduced from 6% down to 5.4% with the rationale being that by having a lower ABV it will make the beer more accessible to a wider public which may baulk at the idea of consuming a beer as high as 6%. I'm not too fussed about the reduction by 10% of the beer's alcohol content down to 5.4%. It certainly doesn't affect the body or the mouthfeel of the beer. It's still an aromatic and tasty beer full of lovely grapefruit and sweet citrus and pine notes. I was reliably informed that BrewDog have tweaked the original by using less bittering hops and more aroma hops but that doesn't stop it from having a superbly dry and bitter finish. It fair pulls your cheeks in.
Next up was the Alice Porter and it poured a very dark brown, almost black, with a nice thick creamy off-white head. It crunched with roasty malts that resonated with cocoa and coffee and a lingering nuance of vanilla. It went down very smoothly and, with the alcohol well hidden, it's very, very drinkable. It is a cracking pint and delightfully very moreish. Another great beer from BrewDog.
The Alphadog has been around for a bit longer than the new Punk and Alice Porter but it is still a relatively new addition to the BrewDog beer canon. It's an enjoyable beer which has a sweet caramel malty taste which is well balanced by some pronounced hoppy bitterness. It's a nice and easy session beer and one that actually worked moderately well when combined with the Alice to create an improvised black and tan much later on in the evening. Well, you are tempted to try these little experiments when the beer has kicked in.
Three very nice beers in the company of very nice people is a lovely way to spend a Monday night.
If you do get the chance to meet Alice Porter, the Alphadog and their little Punk friend some time soon, do say hello. You really must get to know them better.