Flying Dog Double Dog. Wrong time, right beer

A double American IPA on a Monday night? Surely not! A double IPA, at 11.5% ABV is no after-work quaffer. But, I would argue, on a tired, quiet Monday evening, it is just right. There is, possibly, no better time.

The double IPA that prompted this post is from a classic American craft brewery: Flying Dog. I took it at the end of a double-dog day with an inhumanely early start and travel. The stuff that had to be dealt with after could only be managed by wrestling it. So, when meeting up with a colleague not seen in a while, to wind down with just a couple of beers, it seemed a good (if odd) night for a Double Dog.

Flying Dog Double Dog Double IPA, surely

A glass of the wrong stuff? Double Dog on keg and in bottle.

A double or imperial IPA is not something I would normally countenance on an evening so early in the week. Or many other evenings. I think of a DIPA (or IIPA) as a special occasion, culmination beer. An after-dinner snifter, a port-and-Stilton finisher, with your Christmas cracker crown finally removed. However, there is a reason why a Monday is better. Continue reading

Swift half: Siren Soundwave IPA – An American in Berkshire

From: Siren Craft Brewing, Berkshire, UK. Style: American West Coast IPA, 5.6% ABV
Source: Bottle from Eebria.com

Siren Craft Soundwave IPA

Siren Soundwave IPA: agressive lemon meringue pie?

Falling for the Siren call for me was instant. It was the Limoncello IPA and the Big Inflatable Cowboy Hat thing. Although that was a while ago. Soundwave is one of their more on-topic names and is part of their core range.

Siren Craft Brewing was voted second-best new brewery for 2013 in beer rating site Ratebeer. Now, whatever you think of that particular site (and I have my doubts, fully aware I’m writing tasting notes), it’s a pretty cool accolade.
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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.

Links
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.

Links
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

Schneider Weisse Tap X – Evening in a summer meadow

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

  The label says “A sparkling and shining summer wheat ale”, and it is. There’s a Champagne feel to it, it comes in a wine bottle, but at a somewhat gentler 5.4%. On the back of the pleasingly splashy, abstract … Continue reading

Swift Half: IPA is Dead Edition 2. HBC (Can it save the Aussies?)

BrewDog IPA is Dead II: HBC 6.7%

11 Aug. Sunday afternoon, Ashes test in the balance, and here I am giving this new Australian hop sort a go. The batch number on the label says “071”, but this translates to the second round of IPA is Dead, BrewDog doing one hop variety per IPA.

The best-before date is gone by 5 months 13-03-2013. How would this humulus lupulus survive more than a year in the bottle? Fair dingo, or howler?

BrewDog IPA is Dead:2 single-hop IPA series second batch with Challenger, Motueka, Galaxy, and HBC hop varietals.

IPA is Dead, Batch 2: Challenger, Motueka, Galaxy, and HBC

The nose is fresh. At least, unoxidised (no wet paper/cardboard smells). There is some hop aroma of citrus, but it’s quite shy. Maybe a touch of autumn leaves.
Like the other beers in the batch, the beer feels quite big and chewy, and here, the travel-sweet juiciness of the hop shows up. There are crisp, summery and tangy flavours alongside a good balancing malt sweetness. It’s deeper, more rounded than the Punk IPA.

Memory tells me it is not as bitter as when fresh, and not astringent at all. Have I said that about all of the batch 2 a year on?

Orange-citrus has characterised the hops in Edition 2, but this is the orangiest. Would you forgive me for pairing this with griddled duck breasts? Too 70s? How about herby roasted lamb rack? Or just sitting in the garden listening to Test Match special hoping for a decent second innings lead.

From: Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Type: Single-hop varietal India Pale Ale, bottle. Source: BrewDog online.

Previously: IPA is Dead II: Motueka, IPA is Dead II: Galaxy, and IPA is Dead II Challenger
The original IPA is Dead tasting at The Euston Tap, February 2011

Swift Half: IPA is Dead Edition 2. An Old-world Challenger

 BrewDog IPA is Dead II: Challenger 6.7%

A perfectly normal summer Sunday afternoon, 22  July as England take a 2-0 lead in the Ashes. And what more appropriate hop variety could you wish for at today than good-old English Challenger?
BrewDog IPA is Dead:2 single-hop IPA series second batch with Challenger, Motueka, Galaxy, and HBC hop varietals.

IPA is Dead, Batch 2: Challenger, Motueka, Galaxy, and HBC

In Edition 1 of IPA is Dead, BrewDog threw in Bramling X as the old-world type. This time, they’ve gone for a more traditional variety used widely in British beers (Fuller’s ESB and London Pride), but not often as a single-hop varietal (that I know of). I liked the BrewDog take in Edition 2 a year (and more) ago. How would age wither it?

The beer smells good. Perhaps a touch of oxidation, but the hops smell fresh: bright, orange oil aromas. Sweet malt, as I have come to expect from these IPA is Dead beers, but a good, balancing bitterness that lingers to the finish. A bit of the old-English marmalade about it – so familiar to me from Fullers beers.

The aged BrewDog has lost a touch of vibrancy, maybe, but still a damn fine beer and lovely use of hops. Would be great with the lamb steaks we’re having for dinner: the deep fruit oil to go with the sweetness of the meat. But having survived 14 months in my beer cupboard this ain’t gonna last another 14 minutes.

From: Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Type: Single-hop varietal India Pale Ale, bottle. Source: BrewDog online.

Next up: IPA is Dead II. HBC: Can it Save the Aussies?
Previously: IPA is Dead II. Motueka and IPA is Dead II: Galaxy
The original IPA is Dead tasting at The Euston Tap, February 2011

 

Swift Half: IPA is Dead Edition 2. A Galaxy not too far away

BrewDog IPA is Dead II: Galaxy 6.7%

Home, Sunday 10 July 2013 after a pork shoulder steak with sage and IKEA dark lager sauce.

The second bottle of the IPA is Dead II bottlings a year after release of the second edition of BrewDog’s single-hop IPA showcase. Not just a year later but a few months on top of that.

BrewDog IPA is Dead:2 single-hop IPA series second batch with Challenger, Motueka, Galaxy, and HBC hop varietals.

IPA is Dead, Batch 2: Challenger, Motueka, Galaxy, and HBC

I remember this beer fresh at Camden’s BrewDog bar, with its Austrailian mega-hop variety Galaxy being intensely resinous. Now it seems mellowed but still has a piney, polishy taste and aroma.

Some aged IPA is Dead bottles have an enhanced (it seems to me) sweetness, but the malt here is not as sweet, cheescake-base as some of the other non-fresh IPAs. The malt digested by the remaining yeast has given the beer more strength – in more ways than one.

There’s a slight vegetal aftertaste, but in fairness it’s not dominant and there’s still enough hop-oil freshness to carry the day. And that would be a day of an orange oil massage as the sun sets over the mirror-smooth sea on the beach of a secluded bay in New South Wales.

Loading the barbie with some pork medallion kebabs simply grilled with a touch of oregano. They would be fab (beaut?) with this. [That’s enough Aussie sterotyping. Self-Ed.]

From: Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Type: Single-hop varietal India Pale Ale, bottle. Source: BrewDog online.

Next up: IPA is Dead II. An old-world Challenger
Previously: IPA is Dead II. Motueka: A new batch is hatched
The original IPA is Dead tasting at The Euston Tap, February 2011

Swift Half: IPA is Dead Edition 2 Motueka: a new batch is hatched

BrewDog IPA is Dead II: Motueka 6.7%.

Sunday night, the evening before setting off on a new Swedish mission. Tasting the IPA is Dead II bottlings a year after release of the second edition of BrewDog’s single-hop IPA showcase. How would 12 months and more have changed them?

Motueka is a new New Zealand hop variety I didn’t know about before. I pour in preparation for the Sunday roast. The beer looks a lively bright orange-gold, perhaps brighter than I remember on tasting it in BrewDog Camden in March 2012. Still fresh, the fruity aromas from the Motueka hops have an intensity like tinned fruit salad.

BrewDog IPA is Dead:2 single-hop IPA series second batch with Challenger, Motueka, Galaxy, and HBC hop varietals.

IPA is Dead, Edition 2: Challenger, Motueka, Galaxy, and HBC

On draught a year ago, I thought of the Motueka hop as the more refined brother of Sorachi Ace, which was one of the chosen hops for the original IPA is Dead quartet. No weird, resiny, plastic/ PlayDoh on the nose, and although it does have that mouldy orange so characteristic of Sorachi Ace, here they notes and not dominating.

It surprises me how chewy the IPA is Dead beers feel. With the Motueka, you could imagine you were drinking the syrup from that fruit salad tin I could smell. And then there is a nice blast of bitterness right down the throat. My breath comes up smelling of lychees.

Our roast chicken isn’t quite your standard: spatchcocked and has a dry rub of thyme and cumin, coraiander and fennel spice. A pretty good pairing for the Motueka, but if the rub had been more Chinese than North African: anise, Sichuan and rose pepper, it would have been a more complementary match.

It’s a relief to know that the first bottle has more than survived its year under wraps. The only damage is a little loss of vibrancy in all areas except colour. The other bottles will have to wait a little longer before I see if they fared as well.

From: Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Type: Single-hop varietal India Pale Ale, bottle. Source: BrewDog online.

Next up: IPA is Dead II. a Galaxy not too far away
The original IPA is Dead tasting at The Euston Tap, February 2011