Friday, October 24, 2008

Brewing Up a Storm in The Broch

My mother's family are from The Broch, a town on the tip of Aberdeenshire which most people know as Fraserburgh. Like many families in The Broch they were fishermen who would follow the herring up and down the east coast of Great Britain. Eventually my grandfather, who also played for Fraserburgh F.C., would leave Scotland to become the MD of a canning factory in Lowestoft, before then heading out to Australia and a life in the sun. Still to this day I have countless cousins and various distant relatives still living in The Broch and surrounding area. Fraserburgh was a place that we would visit in the summer to see the family, Scotts and Cassies alike, parking the Cavalier in the caravan park and spending countless hours surrounded by uncles and aunts fussing over me and my wee brother, or in the case of visiting my mother’s uncle Bob and aunt Nessie who ran the British Legion club in Fyvie, repeatedly asking grownups to get the darts out of the ceiling.

Earlier this summer whilst doing a kind of Life of Velkyal in beer, I was looking at what would be the nearest craft brewer to my mother’s home town – half expecting it to be in Aberdeen, or worse Peterhead. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that BrewDog come from The Broch itself, and decided to set about procuring some of their beers to try, thinking my best bet was to get a case or two mailed to my brother in Kent for Christmas.

Whilst in Oxford a few weekends ago I went for a nice long walk, down past Magdalen College and back again – it was early morning as people were heading into the town for work and study as I wandered in the opposite direction. Making my way back in, I spotted an Oddbins and decided to pop in and see what they had. I was pleased to note that they had Bud Strong, the 16° lager from the makers of Budvar, and then in the corner of a fridge I noticed 3 bottles of BrewDog’s Punk IPA. Without hesitation I bought all three, thinking that it would be nice to give a bottle each to Pivní Filosof and Evan, who are also reviewing the beer today, and my bottle was the last beer I had before starting my 14 day break.
As you can see from the picture, the beer pours a golden amber with flashes of orange and a thin white head. The nose is very hoppy, as you would expect from an IPA, with distinct floral notes and a very assertive citrus tone. Citrus is also very much to the fore on the taste front as well, like pink grapefruit, tart, yet with sweet undertones which save the bitterness from being too much. The sweetness reminded me of butterscotch or tablet, one of my favourite confections my mother makes. There is a nice full body, which doesn’t cloy, is smooth going down and the zing in the aftertaste makes it a nicely refreshing beer. I only have one gripe, I wanted more than just 330ml – ok it is 6% ABV, but it certainly doesn’t feel or taste like an overly alcoholic beer, so a full pint would have been ideal, as I say though, just the one gripe.

Before pouring the beer I enjoyed reading the label, which has phrases such as “This is not a lowest common denominator beer” and “we do not merely aspire to the proclaimed heady heights of conformity through neutrality and blandness”. Punk IPA is certainly not bland and boring, indeed it is more than worth seeking out.


  1. It seems that we had two different beers! I hardly noticed anything in the nose, and found it rather light in body.

  2. Such are the joys of subjective experience, interesting then that the label calls the beer a "post-modern classic".

  3. Obviously the moon is in a special place or something, because we've been on the Brewdogs as well....


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