Seven long days of testing. Hours of research. Rigorous tasting of numerous beers. All leading to this: the next installment of Beer o’ the Week! Jump aboard, if you think you can handle it.
As you may have guessed the from the picture, this week’s winner of the coveted BoTW title (and all the glory associated with it) is Punk IPA from our Scottish friends BrewDog. The lads at BrewDog (Martin and James)- and their trusty side kick Bracken- have taken the British craft beer scene by storm. This is due in part to their bizarre marketing (at one point claiming their beer is so strong that it “cures binge drinking”), as much as their brewing beers of ridiculously high alcoholic volumes: 32% abv, 41%abv, and even a world record 55% abv. Only 12 of the highest alcohol beer were made, of which 11 were offered for sale, each one encased in preserved roadkill- 7 stoats and 4 grey squirrels (I swear, if someone tries to tell me that truth is not stranger than fiction, they are wrong. Seriously, who could make this up?).But on to the beer in question, which sits in at a much more moderate 6%abv.
It states on the back label, “This is an agressive beer.” It also states, “It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate the depth, character and quality of this premium craft brewed beer.” While I agree with the second part (very seldom have I been accused of being a sophisticate), the first part is up for debate. After all, we are living in the Pacific Northwest. ‘Round these parts, we aren’t afraid of hops.
The beer pours out a pale amber color with a tall, foamy white head that leaves abundant lacing down the glass. The scent is moderately strong and very inviting- sweet caramel and citrus mostly. Flavor-wise I found it to be a perfect blend: lots of pine and citrus, a touch of caramel, some herb notes and a faint bitter-sweetness that reminded me of pine sap. The initial taste fades to a long strong finish that holds lots of lime rind, oregano and pine needle tastes. I found the brew to be a great, sharply hopped, very drinkable IPA. Exceedingly well crafted.
But that all leads us back to the statement about being “agressive”. At the risk of being on the receiving end of a Glasgow kiss, I have to say that would only be true if you aren’t used to the abundant supply of ultra-hopped beers available here on the left coast of North America. If it was up to me, the label would read, “This is great beer.”