Friday, August 13, 2010

A lapse in judgement

The latest release from Scottish brewers Brewdog is a limited-edition 55% beer, End of History, in bottles mounted within dead rodents by a skilled taxidermist. I began writing with the intent of expressing my disappointment in Brewdog, for what seemed to me to be an exercise in novelty marketing, as implied by news articles on the subject. I thought that, at last, Brewdog had forsaken their values of making interesting, flavourful beers in place of tasteless numbers and shock value.

I've been following Scottish brewers Brewdog for a couple of years now, since discovering their brew The Physics, Punk IPA, Trashy Blonde, and a myriad of others. I followed with delight that, after bringing out the UK's strongest beer Tokyo* , to the criticism of the Portman Group, Brewdog released a highly hopped low alcohol beer branded Nanny State. This was followed by the release of the world's strongest beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, made by using an icecream factory to crystalise and remove water from the beer, thus raising it to a strength well above the alcohol tollerance of any yeast. This was bested in strength by the German brewers Schorschbräu, which initiated a back and forth, with Brewdog retaliating with Sink the Bismark (41%), and the Germans beating this with a 43% brew.

Enter the End of History brew. Contrary to my initial reaction it, on looking deeper it has become clear that the idea is actually a much more sublte and directed statement. After the back-and-forth in the strength war, this beer, limited to only 12 bottles, is a tongue-in-cheek cap to the overflowing bottle. Clearly, those at Brewdog had realised the escallating strength competition had become ludicrous, so nothing short of a farcical bottling would firmly put an end to the affair. Sorry for losing faith momentarily, Brewdog!