Adding to our list of beer reviews, beer art and other beer related articles, we have decided to add Beer of the Week to the collection. Could we possibly spoil you fine people any more than we already do???
Scott - Founders Brewing Co - KBS - 11.9% (yes, really!)
The inaugural Beer of the Week article has come at the perfect time though for me, as I've been chasing this particular beer for most of the year. It's one which globally seems to earn huge plaudits and rave reviews. Although there looks to have been several incarnations of it, the 2017 production has about 70k check-ins on Untappd with an average rating of 4.7!!! 4.7.... That's no easy feat for any beer, as normally just by the law of averages for every person that loves a beer there's normally someone on the opposite side of the spectrum.
So what beer are we showcasing here. Well, none other than the legend itself - Founders Brewing Co's KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout). I've been seeking out one of these beers for several months and in the UK, they are not easy to come by. By some stroke of luck, as I was browsing Beer Hawk for stuff to spend my £10 voucher on (from my advent calendar... The countdown is still on) I spotted it listed on their available beers. Without hesitation it was added - I had to try it. Excited doesn't even come close. And what was even more awesome was the fact that BH managed to deliver said package inside 24 hours. Now that's good service.
Normally when reviewing a beer, I start with the artwork, or how it pours or the aroma/flavour. But there's no avoiding the elephant in the room on this one. Well actually it's no elephant in the room, it's a freaking bull in a China shop. I'm talking about the ABV... 11.9%...!!! There's no hiding from it. Believe me, from the first whiff of the opened bottle the potency is as clear as the nose on Pinocchio's face. It has a great treacle toffee like aroma... But it doesn't quite overpower the smell of the alcohol content.
If it were to pour any blacker, Stephen Hawking would need to issue a revision on his theories in 'From Big Bang to Black Holes'! It's just liquid tar. That first taste gave me an experience I have not had with any other beer (so far). That first mouthful, warmed my throat the whole way down like a shot of good quality sambuca. My God, it is strong. You need to take a minute, let the realisation set in that you aren't just chucking back any old beer. You are experiencing something special... A legend.
It takes a few moments. Let it sink in... Let your palate adjust accordingly. Once you do you get to sample what this beer really is. For it isn't just an extra strong beer one trick pony. It has a complex layer of flavours. A deep rich Stout Base, enhanced by chocolate and coffee tones that are no less subtle than the throat punch strength. It's not a 3 glugs and done beer. I took my time. Savoured it. As worth the wait it was and I was not about to cut the experience short. This beer is well worth the reputation that precedes it. It's one of those things you need to experience at least once in your life. And I'm glad I have. At nearly £7 a bottle, I'm not sure I can stretch to making it a regular venture. But it won't be my last that's for sure.
For sure, KBS is a worthy Beer of the Week. The bar has been well and truly set high. I don't think it'll go down as my favourite beer of all time but it is a masterpiece. Phenomenal stuff!!!
Andy - Nogne - Global Pale Ale - 4.5%
So how the hell do I follow up Scott's BotW then? I mean, he's started at the top of the tree. I'd need to choose beer made from the seed of Satan himself to come even close. Actually, I've maybe just described KBS itself there...
(That'll be why it's so thick and treacly then. Enjoy your beer Scott! ;-))
Anyway, how do I beat his BotW then? Well, I thought about cheating slightly and naming the batch of homebrew that I just discovered in the shed this afternoon, but I figured that would just be me blowing my own trumpet (something I slagged Brew York for yesterday) so I gave up on that idea. So, I've decided - I'm not even going to bother trying to beat Scott's selection. It's impossible. I'll just do my thing and pick a beer that I really enjoyed this week. Whereas Scott gave into fear and went to the dark side, I'm going to go the opposite way and pick something a bit lighter. Gandalf to his Sauron. Or something like that.
So I'm going with Nogne Bryggeri's Global Pale Ale. This beer took me completely by surprise last night, as it's such an inconspicuous looking thing, in a plain black can with some orange writing. I mean, I shouldn't really be surprised - my current numero uno beer, AND Unions Sunday Pale Ale is in the plainest can you've ever seen and is astounding (and would probably have won my BotW forever more, so is excluded from ever receiving the accolade). The old proverb of never judging a book by its cover definitely applies here.
So what's so special about Global Pale Ale then, to merit it's being awarded BotW? Well, it seems to be the missing link between my favourite beer (Sunday Pale Ale) and my second favourite (Pistonhead Full Amber). It's like both of those amazing beers came together and had a beautiful baby that wasn't a baby, but was a beer. A bloody tasty beer, that somehow blends the sweet citrusy elements from Sunday Pale Ale and the bitter, spicy, hoppiness of Full Amber in one package. It doesn't surpass either of those beers, but it definitely equals them and for that, it's a beer that I'll definitely track down again at some point - and which definitely merits its place as my BotW.