Tasting: January 17, 2014
Style: Imperial Stout
Beer #: 513
I’ve never heard of the Esquire Network. I am not even sure if it is even offered on my cable system. I guess I should push my scrolling past the foreign news channels because I may be missing a show on their network that appears to be right up my alley. The show is called “Brew Dogs” which is taken from the Scottish brewery of similar name – BrewDog. The series features BrewDog brew masters, James Watt and Martin Dickie and their quest to bring craft beer to the masses.
BrewDog (the brewery) has had a meteoric rise in the United Kingdom since their inception in 2007. They first brewed Tokyo in 2009 and in case you haven’t noticed – Tokyo at 18.2% alcohol by volume (ABV) has (as the brewery predicted) single-handedly caused the downfall of western civilization. In 2010, they followed up Tokyo and garnered a lot of media attention by releasing a beer called “The End of History” which featured an alcohol content of 55%. This is big news in its own right but the real jaw dropper was that they packaged the bottle inside of taxidermy squirrels…no joke check out the image below. They’ve also brewed a batch of beer underwater and created a deer head beer dispenser. I’m certain that the minds behind these ideas make interesting reality television – but the question here is…how is the beer?
I remember seeing a small BrewDog sign hung on a shelf at Gary’s Wine in Wayne. The sign mentioned that they were offering two beers from the brewer for $149 and $100 respectively. I thought it was an expensive case – but was even more shocked to learn it was for a single bottle. Tokyo isn’t quite as steep but at $14.99 for an 11.2 ounce bottle, it does cause a little hesitancy at the check out counter – especially since I’ve never had it before.
The Tokyo label says that this imperial stout is brewed with cranberries and jasmine then dry-hopped and aged on oak. At this high of an ABV, I’d expect that Tokyo will present as a cross-over beer and should resemble more of a liqueur-ish quality. Right out of the gate, Tokyo is massive in roasted flavors and has a biting astringency of alcohol burn. To be fair, I expected strong alcohol heat and while it is strong I wouldn’t say it’s obtrusive enough to kill the big flavors. I get the subtle cranberry, cherries and some sweet treacle. Swirl my cognac glass a bit and the sweetness of chocolate and coffee emerge a bit from the heat along with some earthy herbals. Sticky and syrupy. I’ve enjoyed Tokyo – very complex. To me, it is a boozier version of Lost Abbey’s Deliverance and I’m glad I have another bottle to age for about five years. This bottle earns 92 points in my book.