Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BrewDog: The Next Generation

Controversial is a word often ascribed to cult Scottish outfit BrewDog, and in a move that's bound to divide opinion once more, the brewery has decided that it's future is now in keg. What's more West Yorkshire's number one dawg outlet, right here in Huddersfield, has wasted no time installing a brand new font to ensure that fans old and new are on the receiving end of the re-vamped output.

The Grove at Spring Grove Street is currently offering both Proto Punk (5.6%) and 77 Lager (4.9%) at around the £3 a pint mark and very good they are too. Having drunk a lot of bottled Punk IPA, the transition was an easy one for me. Carbonation was just right (no gassy rubbish this!) and if temperature's an issue then a couple of minutes hugging your glass will soon sort it. As a life long cask fan I was initially a little uneasy about this radical move but have to admit that BrewDog's States-style beers are perfectly suited to this dispensing method.

However where I feel the boys have really missed a trick is in the font design. Free from the shackles of the traditional handpump, surely here was an opportunity to really make a statement on the bar. Rather than the length of drainpipe we see here, why not have something truly eye-catching. My vision? A steampunk themed dispenser that wouldn't look out of place on the bridge of Jules Verne's Nautilus - now that really would be the dogs!


Timbo said...

Purely in the interests of research I sampled both the beers Will refers to in The Grove, as he says they are not too gassy..an advantage with the 77 Lager certainly..but neither beer had the 'wow' factor I would generally associate with Brewdog. Whether this being down to the fact they are keg rather than draught, or the method of dispense I cannot say. But I was slightly disappointed.
As for the font itself, it does get lost in the The Grove with its
plethora of other pumps, but maybe in a less crowded environment it may stand out better.
I suppose the guys at Brewdog know what they are doing, but I would be interested to know the difference in takings between the keg and the draught Brewdog in a few months time when the hype has settled down. All I can see is a backward step to the bad old days of keg beer. Lets hope not.

Tyson said...

I've had these in London and whilst they are good beers...they are not as good as the cask versions. It's as simple as that, really. If you want the full on effect of Brewdog, stick to cask. If they stop doing the cask versions altogether, then they risk being labelled as brewing beers not as good as they used to be.

Brian said...

"All I can see is a backward step to the bad old days of keg beer" - bad days because the product in the keg was poor. If the product is up to standard (unfiltered and unpastuerised too) then what's the problem.

We get a greater choice of which BrewDog beers we can stock by having keg, since going into 2011 their only regular cask offerings are now Punk, Trashy, 5am Saint and AlphaDog. We get the odd curveball from them, and the odd suprise shows up through Waverley's, but on the whole our choice is very limited. Their cask product is inconsistent in quality too, had issues with Punk in particular recently. Hoping their beloved keg is better for their higher interest.

Hopefully we'll soon be getting the BrewDog beers in keykegs too, which is our preference (http://keykegbeer.keykeg.com/en/home.html). These things are wonderful technology which support the view that a Keg really is just a container and can be as 'real' as ale in it's conditioning. Advantage being it lasts so much longer! (the I Hardcore You we've had on is keykeg, as are the guest German beers we're stocking currently)

Kegs aren't going to be suited to all beers, but for high ABV, heavily hopped US styles they're fantastic. Also, not all pubs would be able to turn over a beer like Punk IPA fast enough.

As an aside, it's now official that Punk IPA is dead, long live Punk IPA! - Punk IPA at 6% as we know it is no more. Proto-Punk/Punk X, whatever it called itself, at 5.4% is now Punk IPA.

Will said...

Thanks for that Brian. Very much looking forward to the single hop range that's on it's way too. Some exciting times ahead!

Steveg said...

"Keg, keg, keg, keg....Keg, keg, keg, keg...KEGG! Wonderful Keg!! >>Shattup<<....Bloody vikings! (spam is better!!)

Anonymous said...

Not tried the lager one yet, but I thought the Proto Punk was bloody gorgeous. It is keg and is different from real ale. But I enjoyed the Proto Punk far more than a lot recent cask Brew Dog beers. Brew Dog in cask has definitely been up and down, whereas the bottles have remained consistently good. So the keg os just an extension of their bottling which has been very successful.
I sometimes think our view on companies like Brew Dog and Thornbridge that are looking to expand into keg is coloured by our real ale drinking ideals. Look at it as getting more lager drinkers drinking 'beer' and then hopefully moving on to the real versions of those brews or other ones.
I for one am looking forward to my next visit to the Grove where I shall be drinking Proto Punk once more as I have done exclusively the last 2 or 3 visits, even ignoring ticks on the real ale pumps. Tara

Gavin said...

Never mind the bollocks, this is what I think of Brewdog and their keg revolution


Gavin said...

"bad days because the product in the keg was poor."

Lots of it was perfectly fine it was just not considered as good as it's cask conditioned conterpart by people who prefer real ale.

I have not tried Brewdog keg so I can't comment but some of the keg stouts on the market from independents and micro brewers taste like keg to me, good beers but not as good as cask, they're just keg, nothing special.

Great to see the Grove at the cutting edge of beer fashion though. Is the keg-Brewdog, Keykeg or normal keg, Brian?

Anonymous said...

I prefer real ale, but I prefer quality real ale, and to be honest the keg Proto Punk is probably better than 75% of real ales I try. This is of course my opinion and others may disagree, but there you go.

Luckily we are spoilt in Huddersfield with more quality brews than say Sheffield, Derby or Manchester, due to the use of sparklers and the fact that pale hoppy beers are enjoyed by a large number of locals, (as well as good dark beers too). Again my opinion. Some might hanker after sparklerless brown malty beer, my advice is visit Derby, (which I am not slagging off because it is still one of my favourite beer drinking destinations). Off for some Proto Punk in a few minutes....yum!!!Tara

Brian said...

normal keg currently. Preference is for Keykeg in the long run.