Our final best new British beer of 2010 needs no introduction – anyone with a passing interest in the genre will be familiar with the hoo-hah that greeted it’s launch back in July. It may be a controversial choice – there are plenty of people who don’t even consider it a beer – but anyone who’s managed a taste will admit it deserves a place in this roundup.
The End of History (55.0%)
BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire
(330ml mammaled bottle, released July 2010)
We’ve written about The End of History before on the BeerCast – just after the announcement that BrewDog were ending the abv oneupmanship once and for all. At the time it was all about the bluster, and we were pretty skeptical that any good would come from it. The right-wing press were banging on about the effect on society and the irresponsible nature of purveyors of alcohol in general. Our main concern was whether we’d ever be able to try some at the astonishing prohibitive price (£500 for a stoat, £700 a squirrel).
Well, fast forward a few months and we finally got the chance, courtesy of Sales Manager Chris Mair and a tasting raffle at Cloisters in Edinburgh. Even a light sniff brought it home how different The End of History was. It reminded me of a freshly varnished kitchen table – that walloping gluey hit that makes you take a step back and look to open a window. Enormous alcohol punch, but beyond that there was a fruity background with some spices and woody notes akin to a malt whisky. For once, BrewDog’s enormous hype is justified – and that’s even before you get to the taste.
I said at the time it was like every beer-related adjective you can think of crammed into a single glass. The colossal meaty alcohol burn rampaged through everything, but at the same time there were elements of fruit, wood, vanilla, honey, nuts – I could feel my tongue shrinking like a salted slug. There’s a time when you have to separate ‘enjoyable’ from ‘fascinating’ – I don’t think the intention was to make a delicious beer, it was supposed to be a shockwave from the start. Yet the taste is so remarkable, and the beer so noteworthy, it has to be one of the best of the year.
Shortly after The End of History was released, Dutch brewery ‘t Koelschip produced a 60% beer called Start the Future, retailing at €35 a bottle. “It has become a little competition, you should see it as a joke.” said head brewer Jan Nijboer.