The Brewdog #Collabfest2016 seems to be what a lot of people are talking about right now. Starting today, Friday 21st October, through until Sunday 23rd October. It’s the fourth year now for #Collabfest2016 and they’ve got twenty seven different beers, all brewed in collaboration with a brewer local to each of their bars. There’s some impressive alliances going on and if the North Brewing Sour-bru collaboration I drank at IndyMan is anything to go by, everyone ought to be getting a bit excited. Quite a lot of people are actually, I’ve got a mate going down to London for the weekend, on the premise he should be able to sample all twenty seven beers by visiting each of the capitals Brewdog bars? Sounds a promising venture to me.
What’s that? Which Brewdogs am I going to? Errr … I’m not, I’m flying out to Malta with a list of things to do including a visit to an old friend of my parents to see if he’s still alive or not? You have to do these things when your Mum and Dad get old because they haven’t been able to get insurance for the old man to fly for a good ten years now, they don’t do technology either. I’ve got my fingers crossed that when I get back to San Pawl il-Bahar that Guido will be alive and kicking, and still rabidly following Arsenal. Don’t worry about me though, I’ve got a bit of beery exploration planned, including a trip to Gozo.
The #Collabfest2016 thing got me thinking about Brewdog and how they’ve, perhaps not dropped off the radar, so much as been a bit quiet for a while. Unless you live in York where their latest bar seems to be taking an age to open, and is beset with myriad problems. Come on York do you want it or not?
Apart from the usual same old, same old, this and that, yawn, yawn Elvis. The last Brewdog thing which really made my ears prick up was the summer release of live Dead Pony Club. Only thing is, it sort of fell flat in the water, and that’s the last I’ve really heard of it.
As soon as the opportunity presented, I instantly went out and tried it at The White Cloth Hall branch of the Ellon brewer. I mean it had to be good didn’t it? Even the authority that is Pete Brown says it’s good on the BrewDog Blogsite. He would say it’s good wouldn’t he, I mean, they’d be paying him to say so, wouldn’t they. Having said that, I don’t think he would say it was good just for the moneys sake, would he?
So what’s this live DPC like then? A bit lively, it took a few pours and a while to settle in the glass. There’s a nice head on it at first, which quickly dissipates after a few sips. It is definitely less carbonated and the mouth feel is much smoother and silkier than the original version. It also felt slightly warmer than the standard BrewDog dispense temperature. The bar man confirmed this, and told me it needed to be kept warmer so the live yeast could work and maintain the condition in the keg. Obviously, in this case the beer is contained in a Key-keg. He told me that they hadn’t experienced any problems with it from the outset and that it had been selling well.
The biggest difference I perceived is the live version isn’t as much ‘in your face’ as the original. It’s just not as vibrant. When I drink DPC I always get the feeling I’ve been clobbered by the hoppy brother of the orange Tango man. How else do they get something so hop forward in such a low ABV beer? Anyway, the invisible, to the naked eye, little hop man doesn’t run up from behind and whack you with the live DPC, it’s more of a gentle tickle.
Seriously, it’s DPC but different, not quite as edgy. Again the helpful barman made an explanation, saying that the lack of carbonation meant the hoppyness was not as coruscating. I’m not sure about this one. I hear the other end of the argument from stuck in the mud real ale connoisseurs.
One thing I really did like was being able to submit an NBSS score through CAMRA’s Whatpub. I wonder when we will get the first BrewDog pub in the GBG? Yeah, I know, over someone’s dead body. Maybe that’s what it really will take to change the die hard CAMRA members mentality?
The only other point to strike me was the appearance. Although the live DPC is not murky, it’s not bright neither. Hazy, yes, but nowhere near clear. I guess that means the ‘looks like diahroea – gives you the shits’ brigade, will write it off straight away, without ever trying it.
Overall verdict. A pleasant drink, but I’m not entirely sure why they’ve bothered, unless it’s the start of something bigger? If I’m honest, at the end of the day, I don’t think live DPC is the game changer it might have been. For a start, those that enjoy this style of beer aren’t really bothered whether their beer is live cask, dead or partially resuscitated, so long as it tastes good. On the other hand the die hard real ale drinkers aren’t going to be tempted into a BrewDog bar because they have some ale, that in their blinkered opinion, might just be real ale. And then again, it might not, so they don’t go in and they don’t try it and the CAMRA Revitalisation project is all a bent sham. I’m sorry, but you’ll never change some people. Me, I prefer the original fizzy version of DPC which in my opinion is a very pleasant modern session beer. I’m glad I went and tried the live version, thought about it and made my own mind up, and No! BrewDog aren’t paying me for this neither.