BrewDog are at it again. After three scarily successful rounds of crowdfunding, two of which I’ve pitched in to, they’ve decided to go again, with Equity for Punks IV now live. To announce it, they put on an event at their Shepherds Bush bar, with an evening of founders James Watt and Martin Dickie, beer, new product announcements and BrewDog fans cheering ‘Breeeewdooog, Breeeewdoooog’ every time there was a lull. They also had a special beer on tap, made at the pilot plant at their Ellon brewery: BrewDog Pilot Brew 008 – Whiskey Sour.
Over the years, my fascination with alcopops has slowly died. I’ve managed to stop looking at them in the supermarket, and they are usually corralled away from the proper drinks, helping me to avoid the memory of their existence. Unfortunately, they are increasingly encroaching on the beer shelves, from their initial beachhead in cider-land – I’m looking at you Kopparberg – and they occasional impinge on my consciousness. As such, I bring you another instalment of ‘I drink these things so you don’t have to’, featuring Amigos Black, Tequila and açai berry flavoured beer.
It’s not a revelation to anyone who’s visited my house that I have a thing about some of BrewDog’s beers. If you are a long-term reader of this blog (hi mum!), you will probably realise this too, even if in more recent times I’ve not said much about them. Unfortunately this is a sign of their success, as they’ve become more ubiquitous and part of the establishment – the kind of thing that new-thing-loving bloggers like myself drink more than write about. However, they recently sent me a bottle of beer, so it’d be rude not to say a word or two about it, especially as I’ve already picked up a couple of bottles of it for my stash. The beer in question: Paradox Compass Box.
When it comes to the beers of Europe, we’re getting better at importing them into the UK. One spot that I’ve only seen a few beers from is Lithuania, and I only saw those in one shop around the corner from a flat I lived in many years ago – the shop changed hands a number of times, and the Lithuanian beer disappeared close to a decade ago. I popped in the other day to see what part of the world they were now focusing on, and it was all about the Baltic again: they had the entire Baltika range and a few Lithuanian beers, including a pair from Taruškų alaus bravoras, the Taruškų beer brewery: Kanapinis Šviesus and Tamsus Alus, Cannabis Light and Dark Beers.
This is an accidental follow-up to my last post, with a visit to Tesco leading to an unexpected beer purchase. Stocking up on my favourite brand of Kimchi flavoured noodles in the increasingly-innaccurately-named Polish section of my local branch, I came across a beer that I mentioned last time – the imported, Nigerian edition of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.
It’s all about craft beer these days. From Budweiser’s advert during the Superbowl and their behind the scenes snapping up of craft breweries, to Thwaites’s Crafty Dan annexe, all the big boys want in on the scene, and Diageo are no different. They’re the biggest drinks company and the produce one of the best-selling beers in the world – Guinness. So, into the fray they have launched a pair of new beers, Guinness Dublin Porter and Guinness West Indies Porter.
In a dance as old as time, as Morgan Freeman didn’t say, if you have a group of people pretty much anywhere in the world, then they will make booze. If they have too much booze to drink before it goes bad, then human ingenuity will inevitably lead to spirits. My latest evidence of this is Tovuz Azeri Original Whisky 10 year old, a product of Azerbaijan.
When it comes to my current state of booze geekery, there are a number of ticky boxes to be ticked to get me interested in a drink. So, when I came across a beer that is not only made in London, but is a sour, low strength, three-way collaboration that included a gin distillery, the amount of box-tickery was quite compelling. Step forward Londonerweisse from Beavertown, Dogfish Head and the East London Liquor Company.
Amongst my pile of whisky samples there are a few that I don’t know much about. One of those is a whisky that arrived as part of the Whisky Tasting Club’s Whisky World Beaters pack, which has sat on the side for a while, waiting for an excuse for me to crack it open. I’ve not written much on here recently, but it’s now the new year and the time for hopeful changes is upon us – that counts as an excuse. So, what is Lammerlaw 10 year old?
A quick Google showed that I knew a lot more about the whisky than I thought. Distilled in New Zealand at the Willowbank distillery, this whisky is not easy to find these days, but there are a few siblings that have been making waves recently.
When it comes to own brand food and drink in the UK, there are a couple of shops known for being a cut above the rest. While Waitrose has steamrollered its way into the mainstream lead, there’s one pseudo-supermarket who has been doing the ‘posh provisions on the high street’ thing longer than most: Marks and Spencer. While my childhood trips to our local branch were focused on buying clothes (I am to this day almost exclusively dressed by M&S, due to a fear of all clothes shopping and Marks being a never-changing bastion of easy body-covering selection) they’ve been selling food and drink under their own labels since the 1920s.
Their booze selection is pretty decent, and I’ve quaffed many a bottle of rebadged and specially brewed beer over the years, however, I’ve never got my hands on their whisky before now. To start with, their blended whisky: Kenmore 5 year old.