14 Nov 2008

Beta testing

It seems that our review of Punk IPA did not fall into deaf ears, or actually, blind eyes. After we published our posts about it, Velký Al contacted the people of Brew Dog to, firstly, let them know what we had written, and secondly, to ask how much it would cost to ship some samples to Prague. To his surprise, some James, from brewery, told him not to worry about it, that he would send samples of the three prototype beers they are testing prior to their launch next year. In return, they wanted us to blog about them and to give them some feedback.

To be honest, we were all surprised and, at least my case, sillily honoured that my opinion about this beer could be taken into account by the peolpe who brew them.

The samples we got are: Bad Pixie, a wheat beer, 4.7%ABV, brewed with lemon peel and juniper berries; Zeit Geist, a black lager, 5.1%ABV, inspired Czech tmavé piva (something I know pretty well) and Chaos Theory a very, very hoppy (according to the website) IPA with 7.1%ABV. The bottles till haven't got labels on, and the only way to identify them was by the colour of the caps.
As usual, I started by the lighter one. Bad Pixie, funny name for a beer. Ingredients apart, this is not a wheat beer as most people are used. Other than kristal weizen, most beers of this kind tend to be cloudy. Bad Pixie is perfectly crystalline, not looking very different to many an industrial lager. When I poured it there was a bit too much carbonation, though that could have been because I didn't let it settle long enough after having spent most of the afternoon bouncing about in my backpack. It's very mild in the nose, pretty much the only think I was able to feel was grapefruit, not at all unpleasant. There were no surprises when I started drinking, it was as dry as I expected. It's light bodied, which together with the excessive carbonation somewhat reminded me of an extra brut sparkling wine. I felt some subtle sweetish notes in the back that balance very well the predominant grapefruit. Nice summer beer, to drink it as an aperitif while waiting for dinner in the garden. I would have liked it a lot more if the flavours were more defined, not to the point of being aggressive or extreme, that wouldn't make any sense for a beer like this, but they do need to be pumped up a bit.
Getting more alcoholic, it was time for Zeit Geist. It would be interesting to know which tmavé ležáký Brew Dog took inspiration from to create this beer. Only among the industrials there is a lot, and very different, to choose from. It is not a black lager actually, but then, the use of tmavé (dark) y černé (black) is rather liberal among Czech brewers, so why couldn't it also be for Brew Dog? Anyway, it looks just the same as a Czech dark lager, dark amber with an ocre hue and a slightly tanned head topping it. Things start to change with the aromas, dry with herbs and flowers mostly. When drinking, hops rule (what kind? Saaz maybe?) with very mild caramel and chocolate notes that get almost lost in the pleasant bitterness. It reminded me to some of the beers from Pivovar Strahov. It isn't the same as Czech dark lagers as I am used, which tend to have more caramel o chocolate flavours and, sometimes, coffee and roasted notes. But I don't think Zeit Geist wants to actually recreate the style, unless I'm wrong. Whatever it is, I liked it, it was a very pleasant beer.
The strongest for last. Chaos Theory. Another IPA, and it couldn't be any more different than Punk IPA. Darker, of copper colour. A lot more aromatic than the other one. Flowers, orange peel and mild tropical fruit float around the glass reminding me of the summer that already seems so long gone. It goes in with mild syrup, followed by citrus and orange peel, the finish is deliciously herbal, bitter and long. It has everything that Punk IPA was missing, it is a much more interesting beer than that one. If you want my advice, don't change anything from it (well, yes, one thing, a permanent supply at home would bring it closer to perfection). Brilliant beer.
Many thanks to the people of Brew Dog for letting my taste these three beers. I hope my digression will be useful to fine tune these beers before putting them out on the market. I still have Paradox, but I'm saving it for another occasion.

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2 comments:

  1. nice review session.
    and mad props to brewery for supplying samples!
    -r

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  2. The Chaos Theory was certainly a fantastic beer - I have one more bottle of that in the cellar, though I am not sure how long it will last!

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