Strongest beer title ‘reclaimed with Sink the Bismarck’

The flamboyantly competitive Scottish brewery BrewDog has released Sink the Bismarck!, a “quadruple IPA” that they say is the most alcoholic in the world at 41%. BrewDog had previously earned similar attention last year with their then-record-setting 32% ABV beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, but rival brewery Schorschbrau just weeks ago (briefly) reclaimed the beer potency title with their Schorschbock, at 40% ABV, prompting Brewdog’s latest counterattack.

Sink the Bismarck!’s 41% ABV renders it more alcoholic than whiskey or vodka. BrewDog has preempted the expected accusations of irresponsibility from British alcohol awareness groups, and explains that the beer should be consumed responsibly, “in spirit-sized measures.”

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A Touch of Kiwi in Thornbridge Ales and Last Call for Mac’s in Wellington

The latest Malthouse blog looks at how far New Zealand brewing has come in ten years, unveils two Kiwi connections with the ground breaking Thornbridge Brewery in England, details the brewing of a strawberry and pink peppercorn stout and provides a visitor’s opinions on our local beer. It is called “A Touch of Kiwi in Thornbridge“:

Thornbridge Hall Country House Brewery (to use its full name) is an innovative, award-winning and passionate English brewery set up in 2004. One of the original brewers was a young brewing graduate called Martin Dickie. When Martin left to start up BrewDog in his native Scotland, Kiwi Kelly Ryan joined the team in his place. The first brewery Kelly had worked in was Tui and to this day he retains a bit of a soft spot for that ‘East India Pale Ale’. Fellow New Zealander and well known beer lover James Kemp has also joined the team at Thornbridge (though he has a quite different take on Tui.)

From The Wellingtonian, my validictory for the Wellington Mac’s Brewery which will be closing its doors next month. It is headlined “Last call for Mac’s Brewery“:

I have many fond memories, too: my first sip of Wicked Blonde; tasting sessions on the viewing platform when brewing was underway, the air filled with an aroma like fresh bread; watching people try Sassy Red with the chef’s rustic French terrine or Black Mac matched with blue cheese, gingernut biscuit and chocolate covered apricot. That was when people began to understand craft beer and the art of beer and food matching.

Beer Haiku Friday, a New Decade of Quality Beer and The Great Debate: Mild versus Wild

It’s summer – which means rain in Wellington and lightning strikes in Northland, Auckland, Southland, Otago and Dunedin. Here is a beer haiku for all those who have lost power – or are about to – “Power Outage“:

With the power out
I grab a beer from the fridge
And light a candle

Blogging at the Malthouse site has well and truly resumed with two new posts up already. The first covers my top ten Kiwi beer of 2009 and makes three predictions about the future of beer. It is titled “To a Decade of Quality Beer“:

Having looked back longingly at 2009, it is time to look forward eagerly to 2010 and make some bold prediction for the rest of summer. Gazing into my crystal ball (well, actually it is a limited-edition Malthouse glass proposing ‘Cheers For 2010’ filled with Three Boys Golden Ale but the effect is quite similar), I foresee new levels of popularity for cider, wheat beers and pales ales (particularly those in the American style).

Next, a summary of the big debate in world beer, have extreme beers had their day, have Tactical Nuclear Penguins been spotted in New Zealand, Hallertau beers and Burns Nicht this Monday. With apologies to Bear Grylls, the post is titled “Mild vs Wild“:

Sometimes you really want a beer that makes you stop and simply go ‘wow’ – you want a real eye opener, a conversation piece, a beer that you will always remember even though you only ever had a single glass. Lagunitas’ marvellously bouncy Hop Stoopid had this effect on my friend Dean late last year. Other times, however, there is a need for a beer that has character and flavour but which accompanies rather than dominates the conversation – a beer which can facilitate a long chat solving the world’s problems or last through a big sporting event.

Glass Tips – Beer Haiku Daily and Malthouse blog

Beer Tasting on the Water and the Year in Beer (USA)

The final beer tasting results for the year come from the session I ran for Jeff Gray BMW:

December 2009 was the busiest month I have ever had for beer tastings. At the final count, I did ten tastings and two tours over a fifteen day stretch. While many of the locations were familiar (Mac’s Brewery viewing platform, the lounge at Malthouse), others were new and spectacular. The venue for the Jeff Gray BMW Christmas function was the Mana Cruising Club up the coast and I ran a beer appreciation session on the spacious balcony overlooking the ocean (and totally sheltered from the rather boisterous wind thankfully).

An interesting perspective on the “Year in Beer” in America was provided by Joshua M Bernstein from Slash Food:

During the first half of 2009, craft brewing grew 5 percent by volume and 9 percent by dollars, numbers made more astounding when you consider that overall beer sales nose-dived 1.3 percent.

Why are microbreweries bucking the economic trend? It’s a matter of taste. Increasingly, brew drinkers “are attracted to flavor and variety, new and different products and beers made by small, local and independent companies,” says Brewers Association director Paul Gatza.

Glass Tip – Rach from Yellow Brick Road food company (best seafood in the country!)

Beer Haiku Friday and the Nanny State

Today’s Beer Haiku is a salutory lesson for Friday nights. It is called “Tragic”:

Cocktail temptation
Lures him from his faithful beer
A tragic mistake

The latest Malthouse blog takes a look at Geoffrey Palmer, Maurice Bennett, Brew Dog, an 18.2% beer, a 1.1% beer, alcohol prices and Townshend No.9. It is called “Who’s Your Nanny?”:

As New Zealand inches towards a hospitality environment regulated by the whim and fancy of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, it is worth considering the situation in the United Kingdom which, if anything, might be even worse.

Here, Maurice Bennett Esq, a noted man around town (unlike Sir Geoffrey), got in the most minor of trouble a few years back for his advert which dared to insinuate that a beer called “Bennett’s Strong” was, in fact, quite strong. The ‘offending’ ad was quietly pulled.

Glass Tip – Those excellent chaps at Beer Haiku Daily

Beer Haiku and Brew Dogs

Today’s beer haiku seems particularly appropiate for a Friday. It is called “a frickin’ miracle“:

He left for the bar
At exactly 5 o’clock
Against all the odds

From the Malthouse blog, “who let the Brew Dogs out” takes a look at the latest shipment from Scotland’s cheekiest brewery, Brew Dog:

Personally, I’m looking forward to Hardcore. How can I possibly resist something which is described “an extreme beer rollercoaster for freaks, gypsies and international chess superstars?” I guess I had better brush up on my chess.

Glass Tip – Beer Haiku Daily and the Malthouse Blog

Beer Haiku Friday –

Today’s Beer Haiku sums exactly how I feel about playing golf. It is simply called “3-iron“:

I don’t want to talk
About why my club is bent
Just pass me a beer

News has reached the Secret Headquarter of Real Beer New Zealand that a selection of Brew Dog beers are currently on the ocean heading for our shores. Brew Dog is an amazing Scottish micro-brew which not only makes great beer but has a fearless, irreverant attitude. You can spend hours laughing away on their website. I particularly enjoyed their response to the Portman Group’s criticism of their bottle labels:

If I wanted to encourage anti-social behaviour my labels would state: Step 1: Drink bottle of Punk IPA

Step 2: Blow up a goose with a foot pump and use it as a Harmonica to play various Celine Dion hits.

Glass Tips – Beer Haiku Daily and Colin the Handsome Scotsman