Archive for October 25th, 2008

I was getting worried. Sure, I could always set up a plan b, but I was not sure when I’m going to London next.
I asked when I checked into the high rise hotel on Edgware road if there was a package waiting for me, but there was nothing. I asked again during the lunch break the next day, but there was still nothing. I made a final effort when I came to pick up my luggage to leave for the airport. There it was, a rather anonymous little box, but the Fragilesticker gave it away. Sure there was my name in big letters – six bottles of BrewDog beer directly from the brewery, new beers from their series of imperial stouts aged in whisky barrels. The bubble wrap was ready in my suitcase, which was dangerously close to the weight limit already. I had even bought a bottle of Paradox batch 10 at an Oddbins the day before to make sure I had at least one good beer to bring home.
I have written about the good brewers at BrewDogbefore. Since they set up shop last year, they have gone on to conquer the world. Their beers are to be found just about everywhere, the last bottles I bought were in Copenhagen. A few bottles have even turned up in Prague, and the three beer bloggers there have shared their thoughts about both the packaging and the beer.

Well, then.

The lady at the SAS check-in counter grimaced as she put on the heavy tag on my suitcase. Amazingly I was through security at Heathrow Terminal 3 in 10 minutes, maybe the first real proof that the recession has set in.

Sensible procedure is to let artisan beers rest in the cellar for at least a week or two before opening them, but I could not wait. I roasted some chestnuts bought in Clerkenwell market and, when the kids were in bed, settled down with a Scottish crime episode and the bottle opener.

The Isle of Arran is a pitch black beer with a fastly disappearing milk chocolate head. Low carbonation. Prunes and tar aroma. Molasses, fruit, spices, lovely whisky aftertaste. A beer for small sips. Dry charcoal finish. The dram was not as pronounced as in some of the other beers in the Paradox series, it blends more into the whole. Vanilla and pepper. Magnificent.

The Smokehead was a dark ruby with a small head. It has smoky aroma and smoky flavour. (Not a big surprise, was it?) Dark fruit, some soot, dry finish. Seems deceivingly light and smooth. Some warming aftertaste, but you would hardly believe it has 10% ABV. Not as complex as the other beer, perhaps, but if smokiness is your thing, this is a great alternative to the Bamberg beers.

I could face a long recession winter if there are more beers like these! Not for novices, mind you, so make sure you give your freiends a small samplers before you give them a full glass..

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