Yes, you heard right. It’s here. The phenomenon that is Brewdog has finally arrived in the nation’s capital; well you can’t take Borisland seriously, can you? Having been knocked back on their original plans to open in the Northern Quarter, they have ended up more somewhat more central in Peter Street.
Thursday evening saw the press invited to have a look around and taste some of their wares. With all the beautiful people there, naturally I felt right at home. Actually there was a high level of non-CAMRA beardies there-I blame the Port Street boys for trying to make beards look cool. Which they aren’t, obviously.
The place was certainly very busy. I suppose that’s to be expected when word got round that I would be there. It’s quite compact and very much in the now customary utilitarian Brewdog style. The small mezzanine level adds a nice touch and offers a good viewing platform, but I prefer the layout of their Camden bar. Smokers and al fresco drinkers are catered for by a drinking area out front.
Now to the important bit: the beer. There are an impressive 10 Brewdog beers on draught and two guest beers. The fridges groan with bottled beery delights that will keep beer geeks more than happy for some time.
Zeitgeist 4.9% £3.95 pint
5am Saint 5.0% £4.25 pint
IPA ID Galaxy 6.7% £3.75 half
BA77 Lager 7.7% £3.60 half
Riptide 8.0% £3.50 half
Chris from Stone 10.3% £2.50 third
Anarchist/Alchemist 14.0% £5.95 third
If you like your beer in shots, you could also try:
Tactical Nuclear Penguin 32% £6 25ml
Sink the Bismarck 41% £6 25ml
Nogne Tiger Triple 9.0% £4.50 third
Mikkeller 19 IPA 6.8% £3.95 half
Brewdog seem to struggle with weaker beers and I found Dead Pony to be a little one-dimensional and thin for my taste. At the other end of the spectrum we were treated to Dog A. This 15.1% whopper was originally brewed as AB: 04 and became the most sought after Brewdog beer ever. It’s an Imperial Stout brewed with dark malts, pure cacao and coffee and, just for fun, naga chillies.
Back on planet Earth, the Punk was good and both of the guest beers were tasty; with the Mikkeller being surprisingly well balanced for a beer with 19 hops in it. The staff were attentive and well-drilled under pressure, Wetherspoons take note. And there was fun to be had with their “crap beer amnesty” where they encouraged people to swap the likes of Carling for some “proper” beer.
So, plus points for having a well run bar that is focused solely on beer. However, minus points for the elephant in the room. Any pub or bar truly serious about showcasing the best “craft” beer really needs to have cask on. If Brewdog don’t want to brew cask, that’s ok. But to deny their customers the option is to subscribe to the kind of monotheistic thinking that they accuse others of. And without the likes of the excellent Trashy Blonde to fall back on, they need to work on producing a stand-out sub 5% beer.