What’s Up, BrewDog? By: Brian Meyer
So what’s a BrewDog? It’s easier to tell you what it’s not, actually. It’s not simple, boring beer, it’s not the average brewery, and it’s definitely not anything you’d expect. It is however some pretty great beer made by 2 guys in Scotland.
It all started in 2007 with 2 guys and a dog that were tired of the boring beers they could find in their home town of Scotland and across much of the United Kingdom. From this need for better beer The BrewDog Brewery was founded. While their beginnings were pretty small, they’ve grown to be one of the most unique and outspoken craft breweries around today.
In 2010 BrewDog opened their first BrewDog bar in their hometown of Aberdeen Scotland and also came out with what was then the world’s most expensive beer, known as the End of History. Coming in at 55% ABV, this was no typical beer, especially when you see the packaging!
Skip ahead one more year and now there are 4 BrewDog bars throughout the United Kingdom and BrewDog released a 28% ABV beer that was fermented at the bottom of the ocean. Hopefully by now you’re starting to get the idea that the BrewDog guys are pretty different than any other brewery out there by far.
Fast-forward to today and there are 13 BrewDog bars in three countries and BrewDog offers a total of 11 beers around the year with some oddballs thrown in seasonally. Before getting into the beer though, there’s more story behind these BrewDogs that’s worth hearing.
Watt and Dickie
BrewDog was founded by James Watt and Martin Dickie in 2007 and today are true rock stars in the craft beer world. They have helped each other not only move away form the boring beer that’s available everywhere, but instead to push the limits of what brewing is and what it can be. As mentioned above, they’ve brewed the world’s strongest beer, released beer in taxidermy bottles (seriously) and fermented a beer on the ocean floor.
BrewDog is known for the wild and the crazy, and lately they’ve be best known for their hit TV show aptly named BrewDogs where they travel the United States brewing extreme beer with their favorite breweries around the country.
If you ask James and Martin, they’ll tell you they’re just two punks with a single mission, and that’s to make as many people as possible as excited about craft beer as they are, and that’s no small order.
BrewDogs the Show
Watt and Dickie weren’t happy with serving and selling great beer, they actually wanted to convert what they call “craft beer virgins” to the cause. They do this with their amazing bars that only sell great beer and recently they’ve done this with their TV show on Esquire network, BrewDogs. While BrewDog may brew wild and crazy beers, their standard lineup of bottles and drafts, while unique, has something for just about everybody.
The show follows the Scottish beer makers throughout the United States as they visit their favorite breweries and craft beer cities as they try new beers and brew beers crafted specifically for those cities. For example, they brewed a beer in San Francisco using captured fog for water and seaweed from the Dan Diego kelp forest.
Sure, the history and story behind BrewDog is great, but what you really care about is the beer, right? Luck for you BrewDog is making their triumphant return to the Pittsburgh area this month with two IPAs, a honey-infused Scotch ale, and a black ale; a seemingly perfect mix to welcome BrewDog back into the area.
Punk IPA – Starting things off is one of the most popular beers that BrewDog offers, their Punk IPA. The guys from BrewDog are the first to tell you they make beer for punks, and this seems to be the flagship for this ideal. Coming in at a respectable 5.6%, Punk IPA features tropical fruit and a hint of caramel in the aroma, but once you get a taste of this beer you’ll find a wealth of New Zealand hops that give the beer its fruity yet bitter taste.
Punk is the perfect beer to pair with spicy foods as well as great to drink outside on the porch in the last few warm days we have left before the world of stouts and porters takes over. Punk should show you that even though BrewDog is an extreme brewery, they know how to make a great IPA that can be drinkable, too.
- ABV: 5.6%
- IBU: 45
- Hops: Chinook, Simcoe, Ahtanum, and Nelson Sauvin
Hardcore Imperial IPA – While Punk is a clean, lower ABV beer that’s bitter yet refreshing, Hardcore IPA is where things start to get a little extreme. Hardcore is a 9.2% imperial IPA that’s in your face bitter, so much so that it’s listed as having more hops and bitterness than any other beer brewed in the UK! If that doesn’t satisfy a true hophead, nothing will.
Even though Hardcore is more than three times as bitter as Punk IPA, it still remains drinkable and while you probably won’t be sitting down and drinking these in session, you’ll enjoy every bit of the one you do have and get excited for the next. The secret to the huge hop aroma that comes with the bitterness is a massive dose of dry-hopping that twists the beer into something truly amazing.
- ABV: 9.2%
- IBU: 150
- Hops: Centennial, Columbus, Simcoe
Libertine Black Ale – Looking for a darker, toastier beer that still has a real hop kick to it? Libertine Black Ale is just the beer for you then. This beer has the malt flavors and alcohol content of a stout and the hop profile of a single hop IPA. Much like their other beers, the hop profile of this beer only goes to make it more drinkable and enjoyable and even though it has more bitterness than some IPAs, it’s still tastes just about perfect.
Brewed using only one type of hops, Libertine uses Simcoe to give a unique and unadulterated taste unlike any you’ve had before.
- ABV: 7.2%
- IBU: 65
- Hops: Simcoe
Dogma – No list of beers from Scotland would be complete without a Scotch ale in the ranks, and Dogma helps out in strides with this. Unlike most beers that are brewed with anywhere from 1-3 types of malts, Dogma is crafted using 10 different malts to give it a solid malt backbone that’s even further supported with Scottish heather honey.
Coming in at a solid 7.4% ABV, Dogma is more than your average Scotch ale, especially with the heavy-handed dose of hops that aren’t usually seen in this style of beer. Well balanced and with enough sweet and hops for everyone to love, this is probably the beer you’ve been looking for. Trust me.
- ABV: 7.4%
- IBU: 65
- Hops: Saaz and First Gold
BrewDog is proudly brought to you in Western Pennsylvania by Vecenie Distributing