Barrel-Aged Albino Squid Assassin (9.2% ABV, bottle)
I had this left over from an advent calendar beer box sent to me by the Scottish brewer at the end of last year. I figured I could safely leave this one to mature for a month or two. The heady brew, launched in 2015, started out as a red rye IPA, and I’m sure was a thing of beauty then. Now it is a very attractive, deep red work of art, sitting in the glass with a creamy beige head. The aroma is bready malt, the whisky-soaked oak barrel it has come out of, a rich, booze-soaked fruit that might otherwise be associated with a Christmas cake. So inviting. Smooth and rich, the beer has a smooth mouthfeel. On the palate, first comes warming, comforting malt, then the whisky notes kick in, followed by the fruit. The whisky warmth returns in a riduclously satisfying finish. Shame I only had the one bottle. I am, however, now eyeing a boxed Paradox Islay I have left over from that same box.
Buy: BrewDog says it’s out of stock. Sorry!
(22nd April, 2020)
Duopolis (4.7% ABV, can)
There’s cream soda in the aroma of this limited edition canned brew, a flashback to the 1970s when Corona was a Saturday treat and not a pandemic. Some kiwi fruit coming through, too. A hazy straw colour with a white head, the body is really smooth, silky, thanks to oats in the mix. Kiwi and cirtus notes come through, along with a lactose layer that builds on a biscuit sweetness in the background. A refreshing bitterness lingers nicely on the finish. That’s a good IPA, sessionable, with plenty going on.
Buy: Got mine from ASDA. There are four-packs online from BrewDog.
(20th April, 2020)
New England IPA (6.8%, can, collaboration with Cloudwater)
Hazy straw — very hazy — with a white head that stays well. On the aroma, boom! Pineapple! Plus tropical fruit and a hint of resinous hop. It’s a proper fruit bowl when you sip: peach, pineapple, mango, lemon, lime, kiwi, even a little of the herbal notes of a wheat beer (there’s wheat in there which, along with oats, helps the smoothness and excellent mouthfeel). This is a grade A New England IPA from two breweries who really know their US styles.
Buy: I bought mine in Tesco.
(18th May, 2020)
Roaster Coaster (9%, can, collaboration with Evil Twin)
Described on the tin as a nitro imperial Vietnamese coffee stout. I love these sorts of beers: rich, complex, smooth, boozy. In small measures, of course! Where to begin? Coffee, of course. A shor of espresso to get the tastebuds standing to attention. Vanilla. There’s woodiness, a note of spirit (whisky?) and rich berry fruit, and wrapped in a full body of great smoothness. It’s dense black in colour, to look at, with a thick collar of tight, beige foam. The aroma offers coffee, vanilla, and the promise of rich booziness. An ideal lockdown brew!
Buy: I bought mine in Tesco.
(14th May, 2020)