|Entering the revolutionary spirit|
Well, it was an offer we couldn't refuse. Especially when, with their trade mark hyperbole, Brew Dog publicly referred to us as 'the rock stars of the beer blogging world'*.
On 27th January, massively and pathetically hungover after hosting a beer dinner at Musa Aberdeen, Mark Dredge, Zak Avery and me were whisked up to Fraserburgh to brew a beer we had designed. (When I say 'we', I mean mainly Zak and Mark thought about it and designed it and I said 'yes'.)
We went into the hops store and chose the hops. We tipped the frankly worrying amount of malt into the mash tun, which we filled almost to the top, and we made Young Dredge stand on top of a ladder and do a continuous addition of hops throughout the boil. I've no idea how long this took him, because I bailed out early and was on my way home by then (to be fair, my flight was booked weeks before and brewing somehow took a lot longer - or started a lot later - than we had thought.)
The result is a 7.5% 'Imperious Pilsner'. Zak wrote some label copy that goes on about killing your ideals and worshipping your heroes and stuff, which is really good and adorns the bottle label. But basically it's doing to lager what new wave brewers such as Brew Dog have done to pale ales, porters and stouts. (I'm not saying we're the first - just that that's what we did.) It features an insane amount of Saaz hops, and was lagered for a full six weeks before being dry-hopped with yet more Saaz.
If we were music writers being offered the chance to go and make a record with a popular and influential band, the result would be horrible beyond belief. One of the nice things about the brewing world is that an idea like this can actually work out quite well.
The result of our collaboration is a bitter, hoppy character that's refreshingly different from the prevailing, ubiquitous Citra-sy trend. It's more elegant, more structured, more noble - a classy beer, a very firm, gentlemanly shake of the hand rather than a slap around the face.
We're giving Avery Brown Dredge a triple-headed launch this Thursday, 31st March, at three separate locations. Zak will be at the North Bar in Leeds, I'll be at the Jolly Butchers, London N16, and Mark will be at the Rake, London SE1, at 7.30pm. We'll probably link up with something like a #ABD hash tag on Twitter and try to do some Live Aid style three headed technology shenanigans.
Brew Dog MD James Watt will be joining me at JBs, and various other Brew Dog honchos will be at the other locations. These will be the only three outlets in the UK with the beer on draught, with just one keg each, so get there fast. I wouldn't be surprised if there were other Brew Dog treats turning up as well...
Post launch, the beer will be available only from the Brew Dog online shop. We hope you enjoy it!
*Being called rock stars, we had to decide which ones we were. Well, I did. Mark is obviously one of McFly. Zak is Flea out of Red Hot Chilli Peppers (I did not see his sock). And I' hoping to be Hooky out of New Order, but am probably Gary Barlow.