Stone takeover BrewDog Bar
BrewDog pride themselves on their rock n’roll attitude, but last night their Edinburgh bar really got a blast of energy in the shape of the Californian whirlwind Greg Koch. The co-founder and CEO of Stone Brewing Co was in town as the BrewDog Bar turned over their entire tap lines, for one night only. The bar has been open for almost two months now and as the first big event to take place, it was utterly packed. The queue was four deep at the bar when I got there, partly due to the popularity of the San Diego producer, and partly due to the beer not going on sale until everything was ready.
But after a lengthy wait, what followed was certainly worth it. Greg sprang onto the bar and gave what can only be described as a beery sermon – preaching to the converted maybe, but it was fantastically entertaining. After a fair bit of hallelujah-ing he spun around and proceeded to crowd surf out of the bar to a rapturous reception. Other brewers take note. With that, the drinking started in earnest. But where to go first, with thirteen beers to choose from? How about the highest scoring beer in our history? Stone Ruination IPA is simply fantastic – it dominates the palate, but never oversteps the mark.
Next up, Cali-Belgique IPA – which is essentially Stone IPA with a Belgian strain of yeast. “An identical twin, raised in a Belgian culture” is how they describe it – always interesting to see the effects of tweaking a single component. Surprisingly for a Stone beer, the hops initially take a back seat – flowery Belgian notes come first, before the hops arrive as a bitter finish. After that, something new in the shape of 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA. Made with British hops and Burtonised water, it was quite soft and fruity, before once again the hops arrive on the finish. It got very bitter (and non-British) at this point, once the IBU’s arrived.
By this time, the bar was still buzzing but things had calmed down a notch as people filtered outside with their drinks. After a classic Stone Pale Ale it was on to the spellcheck challenging Lukcy Basartd – a ‘cvueé de Basartd’ – blend of Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard and Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ales. A limited release, these kind of beers never usually make it to Scotland – great news for the assembled masses. This one was really interesting – a hodgepodge of caramel and toffee, brown sugar and fruit, as the tastes developed grapefruit came out alongside more bitter oaky flavours. Clearly Stone pile the hops into everything, but aside from the bombs like Ruination they can really balance the bitter ones when they want to.
With that in mind, it was on to their mighty Imperial Russian Stout – looking like a glass of crude oil, it had a tremendous dark coffee aroma. Thick and viscous, the strong chocolate and coffee notes really come out on the taste – which is enormously deep and feels like crunching through a mouthful of coffee beans. The final beer of the night was Old Guardian Belgo – another outing for the Belgian yeast strain, this time stirring up their flagship barley wine. As with the Cali, the fruity estery components come first – it smells something like bath soap – with big sweetness on the palate, alongside the expected hop profile to finish.
At that point, it was time to stagger out into the Edinburgh night. Cheers to Greg, and here’s to more tap takeovers in the future…
markdredgeMay 12, 2011
Sounds awesome! Stone make some excellent beers. I had a Ruination last week and it was excellent, although my tongue needed to recover after it! The imperial stout is an incredible beer on tap.
MarkMay 13, 2011
Sounds fun. When you say crowd surfed out, do you mean he “rode” out on a wave of applause or do you mean he literally crowd surfed out!? The latter would be awesome. 😛
RichardMay 13, 2011
Mark 1 – It was just a treat to try these beers on tap, having had as many bottled Stone beers as I could find in the past. The Imperial Stout really was wonderful
Mark 2 – He did, literally, crowd surf out of the bar (or almost the whole way out, I think they got him to near the door before he was half-dropped). Tragically I took the picture above then out my phone away, otherwise I’d have posted the evidence!
Ian PriseMay 15, 2011
He most certainly crowd surfed. When I arrived I was asked because i’m a big guy, to stand close to the bar, for when he did this. Seemed at one point as if I was bench pressing him by myself and would love to see video of this if anyone has it.
Did I mention that the beers were amazing.