Update: Simon Pendergast at Dxcel says El Nido and Heaven Supermarket are the first spots to stock BrewDog
Attention beer drinkers of Beijing: The bottle labels of Scottish operation BrewDog include messages that might suggest to some that these guys are cheeky wordsmiths of the wurt, to others that they are rebel wannabes backed by a campaign of slogans, copy and design tighter than a stressed-out marketing MBA’s ass, and to still others that they fall somewhere in the middle. You make the call. Some samples…
- “It is doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate the depth, character and quality of this premium craft-brewed beer.”
- “You don’t know what good beer is or how pathetic mass-market beers truly are.”
- “We don’t care if you don’t like it.”
- “We are proud to be an intrepid David in a desperate world of insipid Goliaths.”
Anyway, I sampled five BrewDog beers at El Nido with owner Xiao Shuai and Brandon Hess of local distributor Dxcel. These beers are above-average, IMHO, with good body weight, balance and flavor. And they should be, since they will likely be priced at rmb50 or more. I aim to try them again: next time a bit warmer, to get out more flavors, and against American options such as Brooklyn Lager and Red Seal Ale. I’ll provide updates to let you know which bars decide to stock them. In the meantime, here is what is in the queue:
- Trashy Blonde Pale Ale (4.1%): A fairly big body given the alcohol level. A good amount of hops and fruit, with a lingering dry light bitter finish. Also available from Dxcel as draft.
- 5 A.M. Saint (5%) “Iconoclastic” Amber Ale: Fruit, including citrus, smells; I found the body fizzy at first but it calmed down after a few minutes. A round and easy-drinking beer, what some friends might call a “session” beer. Also available as draft.
- 77 “Juxtaposition” Pilsener (4.9%): Delivers far more flavor and body than your typical lager. An initial sweetness shifts to a bitter and hoppy finish.
- Punk IPA (5.6%): Fresh tropical fruit and hops on the nose. This one is edgy up front and delivers a bitter finish.
- Hardcore IPA (9.2%): I found this big and crisp at first but, and this is why I want to try them again warm, it developed a lot of flavor and character as the hot Beijing day got to the glass. In any case, it went down easy given the alcohol level, which means you probably don’t want to be getting into this on a school night.
All in all, if you like to try beers, these five are worth the effort, not that any of you mass market beer swilling Goliath lovers would truly understand them…