No red, red wine for red-red stew on Saturday Kitchen?

My Saturday morning is predictable: toast, Marmite, jasmine tea for MaltCim, check the beginning of Saturday Kitchen on BBC1 to see who’s on. These days, this includes who’s hosting (instead of James Martin), and who’s doing the wine choices.

Saturday Kitchen: Host Matt Tebbutt with guest chefs Zoe Adjonyoh and Theo Randall and wine expert Sam Caporn

BBC Saturday Kitchen: Host Matt Tebbutt with guest chefs Zoe Adjonyoh and Theo Randall and wine expert Sam Caporn

Who am I kidding about the wine? As my regular reader will know, I get cross about the wine bit, because well, beer. Except, today, After introducing the guest chefs, 1 min and 14 seconds in…

Matt Tebbutt (guest host): And Sam, there’s a bit of a theme going on. Bit of a red theme. You going red wine?

Sam Caporn (wine expert): Er, red ale.

Matt: Really? Controversial…

Me: What?! (Pauses live TV, checks outside for colour of grass in this parallel universe. rewinds.) She just said “ale”! Continue reading

The rumour BrewDog’s IPA is Dead is dead, is dead

So, farewell then, IPA is Dead, they* said.
But you were not dead.
That rumour is scotched,
Like some other BrewDog beers.
(But not Alice Porter.)

Single hop varietals is the spice of life.
That was your catchphrase.
Still is.

– EJ Kribb (17.5% ABV)
With apologies to Private Eye (again).

IPA is Dead 2014 four-pack carrier

IPA is Dead 2014 box set

* “They” being MaltJerry, in all fairness. Continue reading

Is BrewDog IPA is Dead dead?

BrewDog is back with Edition 4 of IPA is Dead; a new batch of very much undead IPAs; the fourth year of this occasional series. Are they run out of hops yet? Is this it?

Four bottles, the same base 7.2% ABV IPA, a different hop variety in each, so we get to see what each brings to the party. Another take on Taste the Difference.

BrewDog IPA is Dead 4 2014

From Experimental to familiar Amarillo: IPA is Dead hops

Edition 4 consists of the unfamiliar (to me): Comet, Kohatu, Exp 366, and if you thought that was all sounding a little X-Files, the new four-pack is rounded off with a more familiar friend: Amarillo. Will any be as good as Edition 3’s gorgeous Goldings or as diabolical as Dana? (which tasted like an IPA that had actually died)? Let’s see…

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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: 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

BrewDog IPA is Dead 3: The return of the Dead

They’r ba-ack! And not bigger and uglier than before. They’re exactly the same size (6.7% ABV) as before. BrewDog’s third four-pack of single-hop (varietal) IPAs, first returned undead in February 2011. There are a lot of hop varieties in the world, so this franchise could live a while yet. Uglier? Read on.
BrewDog IPA is Dead 3: Goldsings and Dana

IPA is Dead take 3, part 1: Goldings and Dana

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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