BrewDog - Anarchist / Alchemist 14%
Hype. BrewDog. Two words that are synonymous with each other. BrewDog do hype, and they do it well. Love them or loathe them they are out there, blowing their own trumpet and brewing some great beer and some, well, not quite so great.
Anarchist / Alchemist is a (hype-alert) Triple IPA, triple-hopped with Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and Chinook (one of my personal favourite hops) and with the volume turned up to 14 (%) to mis-use the well-worn Spinal Tap cliche. If you want to read what BrewDog have to say about this beer you can do so here , it's available to buy on their website as I write, but I'm going to look beyond that and actually taste the thing.
As I opened the bottle there was a real hit of pine and citrus immediately, in fact it seemed like it was almost as I touched the cap with the bottle opener. It pours a dark copper colour with an off-white head that billows then fades to a sustained white disc atop the beer, which I was surprised at given it's strength as often with beers over about 8-9% any head collapses due to the alcohol content. Sticking my nose in the glass I get more big pine aroma but with some sweet peach, lemon sherbert and peppery orange marmalade. There's a hint of alcohol dryness, but only a hint. On first sip, sharp at the tip of the tongue, a myriad of flavours come crashing in. Some sweet, some sour, all intense. This is a very complex beer. Tangerine, orange peel, peppery spiciness are up first, then some sticky gooey-sweet caramel envelopes it. A touch of pear juice and a little tartness like sour apple is followed by some dry yet sweet and juicy tropical fruit. The finish is long and almost chewy with tropical caramel flavours dominating. I really expected the flavours to get lost in the alcohol and thought BrewDog would emphasise the 'booziness' of this beer, but this is not the case at all.
When I started writing this review I honestly didn't know which way it would go, but I was sure I was going to be totally honest about the beer. If I'm straight with myself I really expected some fizzy big-alcohol hop juice, overwhelming in it's dryness. How wrong I was. This beer is simply wonderful.
I'l use, and extend, another music reference (this time from Public Enemy) to finish:
Don't believe the hype. Believe the beer.
That says it all.