In case there’s anyone I haven’t told in person/on Facebook/by email/via carrier pigeon/etc: I’m going to the Islay Festival of Music and Malt this year. If you’re going, you should come and say hello.
It’s BrewDog’s AGM this weekend, and along with some big news (a new bar in Glasgow with micro-brewery, launching Lone Wolf gin and vodka, revealing who’s buying 22% of the company…) there are a load of beers to try. In amongst the the cans of Born to Die and bottles of Dog F are a trio of beers from the past: Hop Rocker, The Physics and Punk IPA. This isn’t the Punk of today, instead it’s a recreation of the original recipe. And while I’m not at the AGM, I am in BrewDog Shepherd’s Bush, leeching their wifi and drinking Original Punk IPA.
My recent post about fresh beer has made me change my attitude to beer almost as much as my first taste of new world hops. The past few weeks have seen me squinting at bottling codes in badly lit shops and regretting almost every beer I’ve bought in a restaurant. It’s also made me think a lot about the one indication that we usually have to give us an idea of how fresh it is – best before dates.
While almost every news item that has popped up over the past few months has seemed like an elaborate ruse put together by bored copywriters, 1 April is the day where there is some vague excuse to actually make up a story or two. Here’s 2017’s crop:
Compared with most forms of transport, air travel is still quite new. But what planes miss out on to hovercraft and helicopters in novelty, they win in numbers of passengers and potential for classiness. These days Easyjet’s rip-top pouches of cut-price vodka have cut into that class, but look back to the 1960s and you’ll find a golden age of air travel, or at least adverts claiming there was one. Then as now, if you have classy travel, you’ll almost always find a drinks company trying to cash in – introducing the Old Crow Traveler.
BrewDog are not a company to do things in an easy or conventional way. Want investors? Sell thousands of shares, one at a time, to your fans. Want to get more of your beer to the USA? Crowdfund a huge distillery there. Find there aren’t enough hotels near your HQ? Try to build your own. Want to get new investment that is currently against the company’s articles of association? Send out an email to all of your relevant shareholders at 11pm on the latest day you can notify them.
The last is a new one, but the notification letter had a few things in it, wrapped up in glorious financial legalese. Here’s my attempt at unravelling it…
When it comes to big and hoppy beer, the USA has led the way. Back in 2000, my tiny mind was blown by a bottle of Sierra Nevada and my approach to beer changed. While I love traditional British beers, the evolution of the hop bomb has been one of my favourite things about the growing craft beer market. However, the explosion of locally brewed hoppy beers has brought one aspect of drinking them to the front of my mind – freshness
American whiskey history is full of lost distilleries and historic names. Many distilleries have fallen by the wayside over the years, but the names of their whiskies have continued on, produced elsewhere. I recently tried a whiskey from one of those closed distilleries, which got me reading a bit about its history – you might have tried Old Crow bourbon, but it probably wasn’t made at the Old Crow Distillery.
With distilleries popping up across Scotland, it’s no longer uncommon to visit one that is shiny and new. One of those shiny newbies is a bit different to the rest, with almost 200 years of history behind it – Annandale Distillery.
It’s surprising how little French whisky is seen out in the wild. Long known as the largest consumers of Scotch whisky in the world, there has been little French-made spirit on the market until the past few years. Along with more established names, there is now a new kid on the block – Black Mountain.