BrewDog IPA is Dead 2012. Take 2, a year on

BrewDog first announced the death and rebirth of IPA with a series of four “single hop” beers called IPA is Dead, in February 2011. A year later, a new batch was brewed with the same principle: a common base beer: a modern IPA at 6.7% ABV brewed with one variety of hop in four new beers. Now we’re up to the third edition, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

When the second edition of IPA is Dead was first released in March 2012, I tasted it fresh on draught at BrewDog Bar, Camden. Then, with a 4-pack from the BrewDog online shop stored safely away, I waited patiently, in the interests of science, to see what a year’s age would do to these fresh, new hops.

IPA is Dead edition 2: the works, at BrewDog, Camden

IPA is Dead edition 2: the works, at BrewDog, Camden

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Swift Half: BrewDog/Oskar Blues Shipwreck Circus Barley Wine

From Radiohead to 20th century retro. Having recently reproduced their How to Disappear Completely low-alcohol, BrewDog’s latest is a beer in a style that, according to some, doesn’t exist at all.

BrewDog./Oskar Blues collaboration barley wine: Shipwrecker Circus

BrewDog/Oskar Blues collaboration barley wine: Shipwrecker Circus

A very nice piece of writing on the label about this collaboration with the can-friendly Coloradans, Oskar Blues. All the fun of the big top, but little to describe the beer. Could ringmaster James go one step further and do what he wants all craft breweries to do with their labelling? As well as being fun, inform the customer.

OK, perhaps space was limited, but beyond being told this is a “barley wine” and therefore should, like the circus, provide unexpected and limitless delights, what can I add?

We should look back to the 70s. The aromas of Shipwrecker Circus are redolent of an old-fashioned sweet shop: cola cubes and pineapple chunks. It is smooth and mouthcoating like a melted Curly Wurly. And with a kick like Norman Hunter, maybe that’s what they meant by “a nightmare for health and safety”.

Food pairing suggestion: These are big flavours with sweetness and bitterness that would go with strong cheese, but not any old 70s ploughman’s lunch, an Imperial one with proper mature farmhouse cheddar, aged Stilton and Roquefort.

BrewDog shop

Swift Half: Chatoe Rogue, First Growth Dirtoir Black Lager

“GYO” says the label. Grow your own! “Dirtoir”: a back-formation from that dirty word “terroir”. Is this a 6.0% black lager? a Schwarzbier made with hops and barley grown chez Rogue? Or is it a black ale mistakenly cold fermented with German Oktoberfest yeast?

Rogue Ales Dirtoir Black Lager

The Rogue brewery drops “ale” and goes for a Schwarzbier black lager

Chatoe Rogue was an offshoot to the main branch of Rogue Ales from Newport, Oregon in the US Pacific north west. Now called Rogue Farms – a much better name, it brings the concept of grow-your-own to the brewery. Allowing them to brew from their own local ingredients. And then ship them half way around the world…

I’m listening to Eric Dolphy’s “Hat and Beard” – free jazz from the pioneering Out to Lunch album. Dark, disjointed, complex, zingy, lingering and satisfyingly grating. And so is the beer. There is also coffee and licquorice root, which I have yet to find in the music.

But if you do find yourself “out to lunch”, especially at a barbecue – perhaps even an Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue – and they are serving spiced grilled steaks, the char in the meat would be complemented in the dark flavours in the beer and the fresh sparkle of carbonation would allow you to distinguish all the deep, spicy flavours.

Rogue Ales list of beers
Out to Lunch by Eric Dolphy on Amazon and Spotify
Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue: a musical tribute by Frank Zappa and The Mothers on YouTube.
YouMikkeler Jackie Brown

I neither Advocate nor Rate Beer

Tell a lie…

But you knew that. Unless I’d gone wholly over to whisky, a site named “” would be a bit of a waste without somebody in charge who liked beer. Somebody called – at least in shortened form, “Jerry”.

Of course I still love beer. I just wanted to attract you to my post. Only this weekend I was extolling the virtues of the splendid and varied beers in Mikkeller Bar, Copenhagen. It’s just I didn’t want to give them points.

Can you review beers without points?

Tasting but not rating. Three beers at Mikkeller Bar, Copenhagen

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