“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.