The BrewDog AGM 2012 – #PunkAGM

BrewDog are a weird bunch. I mentioned on Twitter the other day that their advertising both makes me annoyed as a long-standing fan of tasty beer in the UK and very happy as a shareholder interested in the company making decent profits, and this division in my mind hurts my tiny brain. However, the big thing that I have been impressed with is the Equity for Punks scheme, their fan sourced money raising/share selling scheme.

They’ve pulled together an impressive amount of cash in a small amount of time on two separate occasions and if they try it again I can see them doing just as well. However, one thing that has been discussed is what you get for your investment. There is the 5% discount in their bars and up to 20% in the online shop, but with Kickstarter, Crowdcube and the like helping people to start up projects all over the world people are starting to get wise to getting something back on their investment. Enter the second BrewDog AGM, stage right.

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Brewdog Abstrakt AB:08

As I mentioned in my last Brewdoggy post there’s a new beer of theirs that I intended to write about – Abstrakt:08, aka AB:08 (that should be enough for Google to do some indexing on all the regular search terms). It’s the next in the Abstrakt series, one off beers that occasionally have ideas folded back into their expanding regular range. This one is a bit more experimental than most of the range, which is saying something when you see the craziness in some of the beers, hence the expanded post rather than just a mention in the last one. I also wanted to have a go at taking a photo of it as I got a new and appropriate glass…

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BrewDog Camden and Some Prototypes

As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, I like BrewDog. I’ve bought shares in both tranches that were released, I like almost all of their beers that I’ve tried and I even like the labels on their bottles. I also think that their marketing is as full of crap as one of the buckets at one of Mike Patton’s special parties (dodgy simile thought up while under the influence of BrewDog’s beer) but I’m happy to ignore that as long as they keep on doing the other stuff that they are doing. And one of those things, especially since they got the Equity For Punks cash injection(s), is building bars.

We’ve been waiting for a while, along with rumours of incorrect licenses and general bureaucratic annoyance, but only a couple of months after it was expected BrewDog Camden has opened its doors. I went along a couple of times during the first week, including shareholder and bloggers tastings (accompanied by excellent chums Thom and Myk of the Thomyk podcast), and thought I’d better mention it up here. Spoiler alert: I really like BrewDog’s bars. If you want to ignore some gushing praise then skip forward a few paragraphs, as I also have tasting notes on some new beers that should feature slightly less gushing praise.

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Brewdog’s Sunk Punk

As a Brewdog shareholder I get notifications of when their new beers appear, which combined with my acquisitive need to collect ALL THINGS is a dangerous situation. After a recent beer parcel arrived I reorganised my beer cupboard, having realised that I’d foolishly stored a bunch of bottles on their sides, with sediment collecting elsewhere than at the bottom and the potential of catastrophic cap failure significantly higher than it should be, and did a head count: 20 different Brewdog beers, including a brace of Sunk Punk.

One thing you can definitely accuse Brewdog of is playing with beer. From the high strength Sink the Bismarck and the crazy packaged End of History and Ghost Deer to the recipe tweaking of the Abstrakts and IPA is Dead series, they like to do things which are both silly and interesting and Sunk Punk is no different. In short – it was brewed underwater.

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Brewdog Abstrakt AB:07

[As a brief editorial warning, it seems that things are going to be a bit beer heavy around here for a bit. I like beer and forgot to drink any for a while. I have started to remedy this]

The vast majority of the beers I drink at the moment seem to be from Brewdog. The reason is simple – I don’t get the chance to go down the pub very often and I have a not inconsiderable stash from the Fraserburgh trouble-stirrers in the cupboard.  Unfortunately I’m an idiot and I recently found a stash of nice hoppy beers that really hadn’t survived their time in the bottle all that well, and as such I’ve decided to get through and drink a bunch of them rather than let them go all skunky.

However, in true contrary fashion this first one that I’m going to write about isn’t one of those, it’s a beer designed to sit and age – AB:07, the seventh release in the Abstrakt range.

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Quick Tastings – Edinburgh Festival Roundup

As ever I have been lax in posting up random bits of booze that I’ve been trying – the last few months have been quite overwhelming with new boozes thanks to my new job, but every now and again I do sit down and try some booze for non-work reasons. A good recent excuse for some non-work drinks was my first holiday since starting – a week in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. Fate smiled on the flat that I’ve been hiring for the last few years and not only was the nearest pub refurbished as a gastro-pub and fine booze establishment but BrewDog Edinburgh is a mere 10 minutes walk away. So, despite being in the land of whisky I spent the week drinking tasty beer:

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Quick Tastings

As I’ve not done one of these for a while I thought I better had do…my notebook is getting full.

bitch pleaseBrewDog/3 Floyds Bitch Please – a collaborative brew from BrewDog and Chicago’s 3 Floyds. Harking back to their older special edition brews, this is a oak-aged barley wine, reminiscent of the Devine Rebel they made with Stone (although not a patch on the Devine Rebel Reserve) and their own Tokyo. It poured a deep red with a creamy coloured head and a had big wood smoke nose with a hint of rubber and stoney mud. To taste it was coffee and dark chocolate to start, with a bit of very dry tannic red wine. As I worked through the glass it got slightly fruitier, with some malty sweetness appearing, as well as some black liquorice and some of the blackberry leaf fruitiness that I associate with barrel aged beers. I’ve got a couple more of these and I’m going to leave them to think about things for a while – I suspect this one may develop in the bottle.

Redemption/Kernel No.2 – my first beer of the night at last week’s Day of IPA at The Euston Tap. The Tap isn’t the biggest of pubs, built into one of the small gatehouses outside Euston station as it is, and as you’d expect from an IPA festival at one of the top craft beer pubs in London it was rather full. Anyways, being a fan of both Redemption and Kernel I jumped at this one, having missed out on cask Kernel beer every time I’ve had a chance of grabbing it in the past. This seemed to be a happy mix of Kernel and Redemption’s styles – big and malty with some comparatively restrained hops at the end. It was orangey in the middle and finished with a nice bitter mulchiness.

BrewDog Abtrakt:06 – the latest in BrewDog’s “release once and never again” Abstrakt collection, this time a triple dry hopped imperial black IPA coming in at 11.5%. This was one of the few kegs of AB:06 that BrewDog filled and I got in a half at the Day of IPA as early as possible to make sure I got some before it went. It was a very dark beer, in both flavour and colour, full of fruity black coffee and coffee grounds. As it warmed in the glass it developed some syrupy raisin sweetness but was dark and bitter, with the bitterness hiding most of the fruity hops that were hiding in the background. They reckon that it’ll age well, but I’m not sure how well the overpowered hops will hold up over time.

Auchentoshan Bourbon Matured 1975 – After replying to an email from the PR company looking after Bowmore and Auchentoshan I got a little parcel through the post containing a pair of sample drams. This first one is a 35 year old from Auchentoshan, bottled after 35 years maturing in ex-bourbon casks. With an out-turn of 500 bottles at 46.9% (which may well be the undiluted strength) I suspect this is a marriage of at least 3. It had a sweet nose of vanilla wood, lemon butter, green leaves, heather, floral scented candles and bourbon. To taste it started with some sour fruit (gooseberry?) and moved through a buttery wood middle to a long finish, with leaves (green tea and berry bushes), cardboard and tannic edges.

Bowmore 1982 – The second dram from the PR folks, this is a 29 year old whisky matured in Bowmore’s No.1 Vaults, the below sea-level cellars where most of the distillery’s on-site whisky lives. On the nose this started off quite vegetal – with leaves and a hint of peaty forest floor. This was joined by bubblegum, cinnamon and a bit of floral air freshener. To taste it started with boiled sweets (Tom Thumb Drops?) and quickly moved into floral territory, with woody pot pourri sitting in the middle. The finish was quite long and was very air freshener-like – as if you’d sprayed some and then accidentally walked through the cloud with your mouth open. It reminded me of the 21 year old Bowmore Port Cask I tried at Whisky Live this year, and neither of them are really whiskies for me.

Berry’s Own Selection Clynelish 1997 – at the last Whisky Squad Rob from BBR brought along a little sample of something that he thought we might like. He was, as ever, correct, although as I’ve yet to have a Clynelish I didn’t like it was a bit of a shoo-in, even if he did make me taste it before telling me what it was. On the nose this had wax (giving away its origins almost immediately – this was definitely a Clynelish), sweet fruit, pencil top erasers, Love Hearts, bubblegum and peppery spice. To taste it had sour fizzy fruit sweets and sweetened cream leading to a caramel covered woody finish. Water brought out milk chocolate, green apples and more sweetness in the finish. I didn’t get my whisky mule to grab me a bottle last time he was visiting the shop (although he did grab me some of the crazy Karuizawa from the last Squad) and I’m starting to regret it as there aren’t many/any bottles left…

Tremletts BitterSheppy’s Tremlett’s Bitter – Last year almost every member of my family gave me booze of some kind. It’s as if I’ve got a reputation, or something. Anyway, my mum and step-dad nipped down the road to a local farm and grabbed me some cider, living in Somerset as they do. They picked up a selection pack of ciders from Sheppy’s, a few miles away from them on the south side of Taunton. The first one I got out of the box was a single apple cider – Tremlett’s Bitter. It’s a bittersweet apple with a big chunk of tannin, which pretty much describes the cider. On the nose it was sharp and medicinal, with some malic acid sourness and the traditional cider ‘hint of farmyard’. To taste there was an initial burst of sweetness that quickly turned to sour apple skins, which hung around for a tannic finish.