beer reviews

More BrewDog reviews


We’ve had a few Brewdogs in the cellar for a while now, and only just got round to drinking them, having pitted the IPAs against each other a while ago.

The Physics“, a “laid back amber beer” didn’t really work for us – it’s got a gorgeous smell, and it’s pleasant enough, but it doesn’t have a lot of complexity of flavour — crystal malt and that’s it.  Tasted like one of our homebrews.

Riptide, a “twisted merciless stout” is pretty good though — one of those beers that’s so well balanced it’s hard to pick out particular flavours.  There’s cocoa (rather than chocolate) and a slightly sour cherry note.  If you gulp it, there’s a hint of smoke.  It’s 8% and has a lot of body. Drinking this feels like a real treat.

Paradox Smokehead (batch 015 in Islay casks) is an impressive drink. You’d give it to people to make them go “wow, doesn’t that taste like whisky”. But, if you don’t like peaty whisky smells and flavours then forget it.  There may be other exciting ingredients in there, but if there are, they’re hard to spot.  We like it but it’s almost an ordeal to get through half a bottle.

Isn’t BrewDog’s marketing strategy just ace?  Cool-looking bottles that you’d happily give to non-beer-geek mates.  Limited edition batches, like 90s indie singles. Lots of publicity in “taking on” the Portman group. Getting on Oz and James helps, too. Of course the beer should speak for itself, but with their strategy BrewDog are aiming for the mainstream market, and you have to be impressed with that ambition.

10 replies on “More BrewDog reviews”

I really want some Smokehead. I am recently converted to smoky beer and whisky but only have some of the other Paradox stouts that have no smoke character.

I love the Smokehead, it’s an incredibly complex beer. And if you’ll excuse the shameless plug, check out their latest blog – it’s written by me – and it pairs foods with the Paradox beers!

I think the RipTide is a brilliant stout too.

I tasted the Paradox at the …..mmmm….it was a bar around the corner of the Market Place (was that the name?) a not-all-fashioned bar…couldn´t say modern. Anyway, you´re right, hard to finish….complex but, excuse me, some of the flavours don´t get along…to much one thing, the too much the other, sorry not to be specific but i don´t have my notes here. Anyhow, what I liked the most was the discount i got due to a bathroom joke i made…..the problem….I was part of that joke!!

This week im planning to tell my London experiencie…

Thank you again for all the tips.

The Raspberry Smokehead was incredible from the cask. Such a heady array of flavours and a zinfandel rose-like pink blush. The Smokehead malt whisky isn’t half bad neat either, if you’re into a true smoky, peaty Islay.

You know what, I’ve had overwhelmingly negative reactions to the Brew Dog branding from the people who drink in my pub – and they’re all in advertising and marketing and in the 20-30 age range. They like the beers though. I do think they’d be better to stop trying to be so urban and cool on their beer labels, and let the beers speak for themselves.

(PS – I don’t sell Brew Dog – I’m not able to – but I always share around samples they send me with customers on Friday night).

I like that they’re designed at all, as opposed to being slung together with clip art in Microsoft Word like lots of other small breweries’ products but, yes, that distressed faux-graffiti thing is a bit 2002.

Of course the true micros deploy some truly absymal labels, but Brew Dog aren’t in that category in terms of ambition and indeed real output. I think a more suitable peer for Brew Dog would be Meantime, who have their whole branding absolutely spot on in my opinion.

I reckon BrewDog and Meantime are definitely two of the sharpest independents in the UK right now (of not two of the sharpest breweries in the industry, full stop) both in terms of the quality of their beers and their excellent attention to design aesthetics.

Where BrewDog pull ahead though is in their use of online media to create a bond with their customers. Meantime’s website hasn’t been updated in a long while (or gives that impression sometimes, certainly) whereas the BrewDog blog is regularly updated and is used to ask for feedback and input from their customer base. Plus they’ve dipped a toe into Twitter recently with the Zeitgeist launch, which a lot of US craft and micro-brewers have been successfully using for a while now as a means of getting their message out to the tweeting masses.

Anyhow, hats off to the lads. More power to their mash tuns!

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