As seems to be the case quite often, I find myself reading over the site only to realise that since my last post Andy has managed to power through 4 of his own. In fact, to add insult to injury he's just this second fired another one up, so that's 5. However I prefer 'Quality over quantity' and all that... only kidding... go check out his reviews, especially the Kees - Caramel Fudge Stout. Jeez Kees, that sounds completely up my street - and 11.5% yes fckn' please!!!
My last effort though was the astonishingly good Wildebeest by Wild Beer Co. Maybe I was just so blown away by that masterpiece that I've not found anything since particularly inspiring enough to put pencil to paper. Jaded... in a dark room... Rocking back n forth after seeing the light... Nothing tasting the same again. Removed from reality. Taste buds never to experience the ... Well, not quite. I've just not drank a great deal of late. Has just been the odd one here and there but to be honest there have been some decent ones in there.
However, in perusing the shelves in Tesco the other night, like a serial booze stalker, looking for the perfect complement to the Champions League tie in the evening, I stumbled upon another Brewdog that I hadn't yet tried. It does seem that I have had a ton of Brewdog beers of late - given I bought a mixed case and several others recently. On top of that I've just signed myself up for the new Brewdog Fanzine, which is advertised as being 3 'Brand New, Cutting Edge, Exclusive Craft Beers' every fortnight for £11. That's quite some undertaking if you think about it. Even if they dig into some of their back catalogue of experiments and tasters etc., they have essentially committed themselves to 3 x 26 (fortnights in a year) beers which is 78. 78!!!!! One more time for effect... 78!!! That's insane. I have my reservations on whether they will be able to crank out all new products at that rate but hell, given I like the majority of their offerings, and with them being Scottish it feels somewhat like I'm contributing to a home grown brewer - I'm more than happy to play along. They have some wicked sounding ones advertised on the page linked above:
- Pulp Patriot - Milkshake NE DIPA (Mango & Peach NE DIPA - hopped Mosaic & Citrus) - 9.5%
- Zephyr - Citrus Tart Edition (Tangy Session Pale) - 4.6%
- King of Eights - East Coast IPA (Juicy, Smooth Citra NE IPA w/ double/triple dry-hopping) - 7.4%
- Nebula - Russian Imperial Stout (Honey/Brown Sugar/Coffee/Chocolate/Toffee) - 10%
I mean, just look at that for a preview. I'm sure I'm not going to get 3 of those in the 1st delivery but they are a mouth-watering prospect for sure. Brewdog seem to have no issue taking a risk. This seems like a bit of a risk, but I guarantee they feel confident about it as, advertising blunders aside, their beer tends to be top notch for me. I don't like everything they have produced, but they have more than enough beers that really impress me for me to consider them one of my favourite brewers. And, anyone who follows my Instagram or Untappd (cheers all 5 of you) will see they are one of the ones I go back to time and time again - which really is something I try avoid too much as I'm trying to branch out and discover the weird and wonderful from all corners. I see Brewdog get a whole lot of shit on Social Media - yeah I know, there are keyboard warriors everywhere, with people just outright saying their beer is crap etc. I just don't get this statement at all. If you don't like the idea of craft beers, or even worse do like craft beers but feel like they have gotten too big for their boots, then fine I understand and that's your opinion. But you cannot, in one foul stroke say they make crappy beer. They have God only knows how many variations and styles out there that you can't just lump an opinion on their entire range. It's nonsense. People really need to get their heads out their asses. And that, is my opinion. Because, quite frankly, you're prejudice just means that you are missing out on some great stuff. And no, before anyone asks, I'm not a shareholder or part of the Equity for Punks drive or anything. I like them a lot - but I'm not in the exclusive number one fan club or anything. I just find it astonishing the hate directed at them.
Ok, so all of that being said, and realising that I'm in full blown Ranty McRant-face mode (I feel like I have stolen that from someone or somewhere) I have realised that I'm almost 2 pages into this review and haven't yet mentioned the beer I'm reviewing. Come on Scott, get it together. Deep Breath and count to 10... Right I'm good again.
So... backing up a bit... yadda yadda... Tesco... So I spotted and reached for a big 660ml bottle of Zeitgeist (yes, by Brewdog or that entire tirade would have been utterly pointless). So, what is Zeitgeist (other than a really eye opening, although at times a little far-fetched, 911 conspiracy style documentary). Well, it has the tagline of 'Idiosyncratic Black Lager'. Which, not to retract on my Brewdog love affair, sounds a bit w@nky to me. But, as mentioned before, if you are looking at churning out literally 100's of different beers, then I guess the naming convention becomes complex and stretched a little. Essentially, it is a quirky or unique black lager. This puts it bang smack in my danger zone though - as typically over the last few years I have really picked up a distaste for lagers. But, as the name suggests, this is anything but standard. Let's get onto the actual review then.
Was it any good?? Oh Yes. Yes it was. Starting with the big whiff I took from the bottle as soon as I cracked the cap - you get this bizarre smokey/BBQ like rush, with a sweetness mixed in. I have to say, before I forget, that the smokiness disappears, almost like it is injected into the bottle at the end just for that initial release. It didn't overly stay with the beer once poured. As you would hope, it pours almost Porter like, just a smooth jet black colour (or shade?) with a generous caramel head. Any notions of this just being a standard lager though with a funky colour are quickly dispelled. This stuff is gorgeous. It isn't a traditional lager in any respect of taste, certainly not the lagers we have been subjected to in Scotland over the ages. Nor is it as far down the road as the porter it resembled on pouring. It's thinner than that to taste and not creamy, but has all the glorious flavours of one. Plenty of Chocolate and Coffee notes throughout. It constantly reminded me of Guinness though, without the thickness or the bitter aftertaste. This is weird but wonderful. It's pretty unique in all respects, which is when it starts to make sense. You can see now that the 'Idiosyncratic' moniker is not just a gimmicky name, but just about a perfect expression of what it is. Special. The fact it comes in this monstrous 660ml bottle means you get so much longer to savour and enjoy the different layers that come through at different times. There's a great hoppy and malty base in there but nothing too heavy, and not too strong. The balance is just right with the 4.7% content. Makes it so drinkable. I can see this being a great compliment to a rich meaty dinner...
When you read the label you start to realise this isn't meant to be standard in any way. The lager they are using for inspiration isn't some watery Tennent's nonsense (sorry Tennent's) but rather classic German and Czech variations. Plus this looks to be a re-issue, reimagined version of an old favourite from one of their seasonal releases of yesteryear. Gone are some of the quotes from the old bottle; 'I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my Shepherd' - 'The slaughterhouse of conformity is not my destiny' but alive is the message in this no messing, no compromise, no apologies beer (lager). I love it. I needed something to remind me that there is life after the Wildebeest. And remind me this did. Brilliance in a glass.