Sunday, July 3, 2011

Brew Dog Hardcore IPA

"This little bottle," says the brewer, "has a grandiloquent story to tell." And quite the story it is.  Brew Dog, a Scottish craft brewer, began to brew this double India Pale Ale during a hop shortage in 2008.  Needless to say, the beer did not turn out as the brewers had hoped.  A year later, with more hops available, Brew Dog tried again, taking advantage of the plentiful hops by using four times as many hops as they had the year before.  And, ever since then, they have continued to push the envelope with what they call an "explicit imperial ale."  

At 9.2% ABV and a whopping 150 IBU, this beer is bigger than many other pale ales and imperial India pale ales.  Brew Dog uses Maris Otter malts (2,204 grains according to the bottle), along with crystal malts and caramalts. The brewer uses Centennial, Simcoe and Columbus hops during the brewing process and additional Centennial Simcoe and Columbus hops during the dry hopping process.  And, according to the bottle, 9,900,000,000 yeast cells.

The end result is an amber ale, with hues of red and orange shining through when held up to the light.  As the beer is poured, a thick foam develops and slowly recedes to the edges of the beer.  The aromas of the beer are obviously hoppy, but not overwhelmingly piney or citrusy.  The beer is actually somewhat mellow when it comes to the hop aroma, most likely due to the malts used in the brewing process.  The malts also figure into the taste.  With every sip, the hops are clearly present in the front and the finish.  But, in between, the smoothness of the malts shines through, which allows the alcohol of the beer to make its presence known. 

When it comes to food pairing, the brewer suggests smoked and grilled meats.  This is actually a fairly standard pairing for pale ales of this magnitude and caliber. The brewer does offer some rather different pairings, such as carrot cake and blue cheeses.  While I am a little skeptical of pairing the beer with carrot cake, blue cheeses would work well.

I found this beer at Corridor Wine & Spirits in Laurel, Maryland.  It should be available at stores with large selections of craft beer.  It sells for about $7.99 a bottle.


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