Thursday, 4 September 2014

#239: Dogged

Four Corners recently had Jonny from Brewdog doing tasting sessions of new (at the time unreleased, apparently) Brewdog beers in both Bradley's and Bierhaus. I meant to attend both, but only made it to the Bierhaus. Here's how it went down.

On arrival, the guest Brewdog draught beers were revealed to be Dead Pony Club, Jackhammer (which was deliciously juicy) and spanking new Magic Stone Dog, billed as a saison-IPA hybrid and hopped with citra and amarillo.

Magic Stone Dog (a collaboration with Magic Rock and Stone, duh) smells ever so slightly sour in an acidic, citrusy sort of way. There's lemongrass and coriander from the off and as it warms it starts to produce more fruity, herbal notes, as well as some background bubblegum sweetness. For this nose, there's not much to suggest any IPA hybridization. The same can be said about the taste; there's more sharp sourness than you'd expect from a saison, but nothing wobbly. Wheaty and biscuity at its core, with lingering white pepper spiciness. The citra and amarillo seem unwilling to participate, but the beer is better off for it, leaving us with a ridiculously drinkable and refreshing beer. Definitely one to try.

While I had plenty of this beer and Jackhammer, I also strayed from the headliners, indulging first in some Cutthroat Porter from Odell. Just a half of this smoky sweet beauty was enough to convince me that I should have opted for the pint - especially at €5.30. It's silky milk chocoloate throughout with slightly rubbery, smoky stuff hiding here and there, and all delivered on a body reminiscent of Founders Porter. Lovely stuff.

Since having Stonewell on cask at last year's Easterfest, I've vowed never to pass up cask cider again. This time it was Tempted's Summer Sweet, and it was incredibly delicious. Sweet, vinous, slightly tart and eminently drinkable. The other non-Brewdog beer I indulged was the magnificent Hurricane. This year's version seems altogether more delicious than the initial bottled release here, showing trucks of pine needle, grapefruit pith and lime peel on a candied pineapple and biscuity sweet backbone. A perfect go-to IPA.

Since the other new Brewdog beers were only available in bottled form I picked them up the next day in Bradley's.

Another collaboration is U-Boat (above), this time with Victory Brewing, makers of the godlike Storm King. I like my porters drinkable but robust, so an ABV of 8.4% raised my eyebrow a bit; many brewers would be happy to slap the word 'imperial' onto the label with a number like that. Unsurprisingly it pours very dark with a nice tan head that fizzles away before long. The aroma is intense chocolate and dark fruits, while the smoke is a sting rather than a pungent burst. On first sipping the beer you get a coating, oily wash packed with salted caramel, chocolate, raisiny sweetness and, again, just a tickle of woodsmoke. Carbonation is very light, which only adds to the slick, stickiness of the beer. Nice as it was at first, finishing the bottle was a bit more work than I'd like; that texture coupled with a predominant sweetness does no favours for the beer's drinkability.

From there, we get to the 2014 edition of Mashtag; a beer cobbled together with ideas and suggestions from the online public; the style, hops and special ingredients were decided in this way, which is a great idea. The resulting beer is an imperial red ale with 'global hops', citrus zest and blood orange. Bring it on. The aroma is a beautiful punchy, juicy, bitter and fruity treat, with discernible blood orange, citrus peel and grapefruit atop thick slabs of toffee chocolate. The palate is gorgeous, opening first with chocolate orange peel and pithy bitterness, building to a hefty caramel and marmalade finish. A much more layered and enjoyable experience than the U-Boat, and well worth trying.

Hats off to Jonny, Four Corners and the Bierhaus, as well as the ever-reliable Bradley's for doing the event (s). Always nice to leave a pub with free swag.
If you see a man wearing a Brewdog hat and t-shirt around Cork, tell him to get a grip.

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