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Another part of the Spank The Monkey media empire: offending your brain at The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey, offending your ears at Spank's Audio Lair, and offending your eyes right here, right now.

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#Collabfest2019 round 9: BrewDog Paddington

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44. Paddington & Wild Card - Cashmere IPA (DDH IPA, 5.8%)
Breakfast in the Paddington bar is accompanied solely by coffee - we're not monsters, you know - but it does lead me to wonder why, given BrewDog's long-standing relationship with the company, nobody's ever tried to make a beer containing Dalston Chilli. One to look out for at #Collabfest2020, maybe. In the meantime, we start the final day of #Collabfest2019 with four bars on our agenda and a maximum of 26 beers left to try. Paddington, happily, has exactly four that we haven't drunk yet. First up is the bar's own, brewed in collaboration with Walthamstow's finest for some reason. Good starter to the day - by day 4, we need some hoppy fruity juiciness to kick-start us again, and this does the job just fine.

45. Brighton & Cloak+Dagger - Zestiny’s Child (Blood Orange & Lemon Pale Ale, 4.1%)
Definitely zesty, as advertised: pleasantly refreshing without being spectacular. The BBG thought she could taste lime (even though there isn't any), more so than in the actual key lime pie beer that we had yesterday. Possibly a dangerous alternative to having fruit juice with breakfast, but still a very nice way of working towards your five a day. If you're ever in Brighton, by the way, Cloak and Dagger's taproom The Cloak Room is worth a visit.

46. Le Marais & Brasserie du Grand Paris - Paris Mordu (New England IPA, 5.9%)
'Bitten', in case you were wondering. It's got the soft juiciness of 'l'un de ces', but with a decent bit of bitterness underneath, giving it a good balance. I don't believe we had any of BGP's beers on our recent Paris trip, so they're a name to add to the list for our next one.

47. St Andrews & St Andrews Brewing Co - Hippophae Fife (Sea Buckthorn IPA, 6.2%)
Possibly the best beer name this year? Hippophae is the Latin name for sea buckthorn ('the berry with 15 times more vitamin C than an orange', if you believe the Daily Telegraph, though why on earth would you): the rest is either a direct reference to Rezillos lead singer Fay Fife, or a theft of the joke that gave her her name (she's 'fae Fife'). 'It's different,' says The BBG on her first mouthful: she later upgrades that to 'it's got a tanginess, it's not unpleasant, but it's interesting more than anything else.' I'd be a shade more positive about it, myself, and she admits that it's grown on her by the end of the glass. For me, it looks like orange juice, but the sheer unfamiliarity of the taste is a pleasant surprise. It certainly hides its ABV pretty well.

20th Oct 2019, 14:26   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 8b: BrewDog Seven Dials

(viewed 269 times)
41. DogTap Berlin & BRLO - Sink the Pink (Imperial Pink New England IPA with Bitter Orange Peel, 8.5%)
We're now down to a bar where we only have three Collabfest beers we haven't drunk yet, so between rounds we cleanse our palates with Hawkes Sucker For Pumpkins cider, which we've taken out of the photo. It's so pumpkiny that you could accept that Halloween In Booze Form works in the context of this festival. But we won't, and instead go back to the beer with this absolute monster, and I mean that in the Frankenstein sense. It's partly One Of Those, but with some bitterness under the creaminess and sweetness, The BBG isn't getting NEIPA vibes off it, but it does have the softness of the style without the murkiness, with the bitterness coming from the orange peel. I'm getting something off it that reminds me of malt, which The BBG sees as the combination of the sweet and sour bits.

42. Milton Keynes & Boot Town - Key Lime Pie (Dessert Pale Ale, 5.5%)
In a blind tasting, The BBG finds it soft and light, but not cutting through the beer before. I know what it's meant to be doing on mouthful 1, but it's not doing that. Quite nice, but not doing what's advertised. In subsequent mouthfuls, you can telll it wants to come through but can't, while still remaining a quite nice beer. Someone who'd gone to a bar and bought this purely on the description (looking at you, Brixton) would be sadly disappointed.

43. Leicester & Round Corner - Succumb to Smoke (Bamberg Helles Rauchbier, 5.3%)
As this is only a three-beer flight (curse you running out of your own beer, Seven Dials), this is our last one for Saturday night, which The BBG's talkboard mates have told her tastes like hotdog water. It's certainly a smoky beer, possibly more reminiscent of smoked cheese than hotdogs, so we're not finding it quite as repellent as others. Also, you don't expect light beers to be smoked, it's more of a dark thing, which may be putting people off. It's balanced enough that the smoky taste is not an issue. As The BBG says about films, don't let other people's reviews influence you. (Incidentally, all our reviews of the 2019 London Film Festival can be found here, and they're all perfectly correct.)

19th Oct 2019, 23:06   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 8a: BrewDog Seven Dials

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37. Carlisle & Hawkshead - Costa del Solway (Tart IPA, 7.4%)
One Of Those: works fine in isolation, but we've had too many better ones already this weekend. Possibly slightly more tart than usual, but that's about it.

38. Firenze & Vetra - Vetra Modern Pils (Pilsner, 5.1%)
It's quite a pilsy Pils, and that's about it. I personally can't spot much difference between this and the Holsten we all used to guzzle buckets of in the eighties. Maybe slightly more interest in it than that, but not much.

39. Inverurie & Cromarty - Fight Milk (Chocolate Honeycomb Milk Stout, 6.5%)
I feel I should be keeping the gag going by not talking about this, but I can't do that. The description suggests it'll be Crunchie In Booze Form, and splendidly it's precisely that. It should be our nightcap beer, but we awkwardly have other plans to finish off the night.

40. Norrkoping & Tempel - Jammy Bastard (Fruit Sour, 5.7%)
And before you ask, they're not this one. Hugely sour again, but with lots of fruit attempting in part to counter that. It's okay, but at this point in the proceedings a beer that's just 'okay' doesn't really cut it.

19th Oct 2019, 23:04   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 7b: BrewDog Soho

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33. Canary Wharf & Siren Craft Brew - Orange Boom (Orange Sour, 4.0%)
Fully sated by an inter-flight meal of burgers (Beyond Cheese for her, Hybrid Burger for me), we're having to deviate from our plan of only drinking the bar beers in the bars themselves, as at this point the next four beers you're going to read about here are the only four beers Soho are serving that we haven't had before. For this one, bit sour, says I: too orangey for crows, says her. As we make our way through it, we come to an agreement - yes, it's orange and sour. The BBG is reminded of the 1970s school recorder classic 'Oranjeboom, Oranjeboom, it's a lager, not a tune...'

34. Outpost Tower Hill & Mothership Beer - Deeds Not Words (Dark Sour with Cherries, 5.0%)
Tastes of actual cherries rather than cherry flavour, which sets it aside from the several dozen other cherry beers in this fest. Not especially sour itself, more a beer from sour cherries, especially the nose which reminds The BBG of sour cherry sweets. The more it goes down, the juicier it gets.

35. Leeds & Vocation - Purple Grain (Raspberry & Blackcurrant New England Sour IPA, 6.4%)
Sudden realisation that this flight alone is going to give us our five fruit and veg for the day. Yes it is, shut up. This is, astonishingly, a NESIPA. The BBG goes through a glorious mental process on her first mouthful - 'it's One Of Those, but it's got loads of fruit, but it's also sour...' Lots going on, and surprisingly drinkable with it - it's one of the most interesting beers we've had this weekend.

36. Dundee & Dead End Brew Machine - Dundeath (Raspberry & Passion Fruit Nordic Farmhouse Ale, 6.6%)
Or is it 'Dumb Death'? The Soho boards aren't sure. It'd be a fun Horrible Histories reference if they were right, though we think they're wrong. As promised, lots more fruit, plus something else, presumably along the lines of that weird Scandi yeasty shit we had earlier on. You feel like you should feel healthier after all this fruit, particularly all the raspberry on the palate here.

19th Oct 2019, 20:35   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 7a: BrewDog Soho

(viewed 250 times)

29. Soho & Hammerton - Brownie Points (Vegan Chocolate Brownie Stout, 5.7%)
Fucking Vegan Stout, again! First chocolate beer this year that's actually tasted chocolatey, which is a good thing. Possibly served too cold, which is ironic given that we're in the only BrewDog bar with temperature controlled lines (maybe just the only one in London, we're not sure). Enjoying it too much in the moment to consider letting it sit around for fifteen minutes, though. The 'brownie' bit seems to be a nice layer of nuttiness around the chocolate.

30. Nice & Blue Coast - Le Blue Dog (Saison, 7.2%)
A Nice saison for a change! Ha ha, I am funny. Actually, it's all right. The BBG suggest it's got a bit more sweetness than you'd usually expect from a saison, possibly a hint of honey or something like that. I can't really think of things to say about saisons, they're just there.

31. Goteborg & Brewgineers - Elderflower Lemon IPA (Gluten-Friendly West Coast IPA, 7.4%)
Another beer for all those friends of gluten out there. It's an IPA, it's got obvious lemon in it, the elderflower takes a bit more effort to find : once you've swilled it round your mouth a bit, the West Coast bitterness starts coming through a bit more.

32. Berlin Mitte & Berliner Berg Brauerei - Dickies B (Elderflower & Mandarin Berliner Weisse, 5.2%)
More elderflower! This time it's actually detectable amongst the Berliner Weisse sourness, along with a hint of the mandarin (or at least some sort of juicy citrus). For a change, the best beer in this flight turns out to be the first one and not the last one.

19th Oct 2019, 20:33   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 6: BrewDog Brixton

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25. Brixton & Gipsy Hill - The Big Kahuna (Peach, Pineapple & Mango Sour, 5.6%)
Big fruit, little sour - having got used to the puckerfests that BrewDog's Overworks operation is regularly churning out, it's interesting to see how many of the sours in this year's fest are taking a more subtle approach to the style. Works quite nicely with our lunch of cauliflower wings, too, even after The BBG chucks extra Dalston Chilli on top of hers.

26. Angel & Brew By Numbers - 08|Porter – Rum Punch (Rum Barrel-Aged Tropical Porter, 5.0%)
We're tempted to put this beer in a 40oz bottle and pour it on the sidewalk, because the Angel bar closed down for the third and final time last month: after separate attempts at running the place as a hot dog joint, a rotating set of pop-up restaurants and a self-brewpub, BrewDog have finally decided they can't make the location work. This porter is basically the last thing they did, and it's a fitting memorial to a compact bar that kept trying to punch above its weight - for a five per cent porter, it's got a fine combination of fruity overtones and apparent booziness. We're slightly freaked out at this point by a punter who spews on the floor next to our table on the way to the toilets, and are slightly mollified by him slipping in it and falling over on the way back.

27. Roma & Eternal City Brewing - H501 (New Zealand Pilsner, 5.0%)
I keep thinking of this as H5N1, which was the name they gave to the Asian bird flu virus, so it's probably a bad name. It's quite a good pilsner, a bit floral-tasting - not quite as lagery as the other lagers we've been having so far. It doesn't deserve to be number 2 on the global Untappd vote as it is at the time of writing: though apparently on the BrewDog shareholder forum, there are accusations of Berlusconi-level vote-rigging being hurled at it. The lager crispness comes through a bit more several mouthfuls in.

28. Merchant City Glasgow & Up Front Brewing - Coconut Sinnerman (Oaked Imperial Coconut Kveik with Cinnamon & Vanilla, 11.0%)
Pretty sure it's around this time every year that we have to look up what a kveik is, and get surprised all over again when we discover that it's a beer made with a Norwegian farmhouse yeast. (Fun fact: Tempest Brewing have made one called Dawson's Kviek.) The BBG wonders if it's made of tonka beans, but in fact it's been constructed out of the three things tonka reminds people of: coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla. It's almost hard to detect the booze under those flavours, although it's got the mouthfeel and body of a chunky boi, as the young people say nowadays.

19th Oct 2019, 17:21   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 5: BrewDog Clapham Junction

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21. Clapham Junction & London Beer Factory - Biére de Coupage (Mixed Fermentation Saison, 5.9%)
Definitely a saison, but with an unusual bit of sourness to it, which is presumably the result of that mixed fermentation they mention. I'm not an enormous fan of the style, or of the concept of feeding wonky bacteria into it, but this is rather nice.

22. Liverpool & Polly’s Brew Co - Beatle Juice (Double IPA, 8.0%)
'The sort of One Of Those that justifies Those existing,' to quote The BBG directly. So yes, it's another DIPA full of hops and murk, but with a decent balance of juiciness and bitterness. It's up there with the sort of things Cloudwater make, which is probably as high as praise gets.

23. Cambridge & Big Drop - The Nutty Professor (Hazelnut Porter, 0.5%)
I think this might be the first low alcohol beer to ever be in a Collabfest - and we know from experience that Big Drop are doing splendid work making 0.5% versions of multiple beer styles. This is insanely nutty - it's already leaping up your nose as you pick up the glass - though a little bit thin for a porter. It wouldn't quite work as an alternative to our usual dark 'n' naughty nightcap beers, for example. But it's still drinkable as hell, nut allergies aside. Appreciating the use of 'professor' as a synecdoche for 'Cambridge', by the way. Shit, three drinks into the day and I'm already using words like 'synecdoche'.

24. Tallinn & Põhjala - Twisted Biscuit (Spiced Baltic Porter, 8.0%)
Now this would work as a nightcap beer. The spice makes it the sort of thing you could imagine drinking in pints at Christmas with the excuse 'but it tastes festive, how can there be anything wrong with that' before falling over. We're big fans of both Põhjala and the Tallinn bar, so we were always going to like this one.

19th Oct 2019, 15:35   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 4: BrewDog Shoreditch

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17. BrewGooder & Overtone - Happy Haze (New England Session IPA, 3.9%)
It tastes like One Of Those, but it's only 3.9%: that's got to be an achievement of some sort. Ludicrously hoppy but sessionable. And because it's made by Brewgooder, it helps people in underdeveloped countries get clean water, presumably. Hopefully.

18. Shoreditch & Signature Brew - T.N.Tea (New England IPA with Earl Grey Raspberry & Cucumber, 6.0%)
Odd mixture of flavours on initial tasting: The BBG complains that it's kind of unidentifiable, which is amusing given how she"s tasted Earl Grey in a couple of the other ones. Even after being told, she still can't taste the raspberry in there. I'm getting more of a sense of refreshment rather than any specific flavour, so The BBG suggests that's the cucumber, and notes that 'refreshing' is a reaction that we've had to a few beers, as if once we became Craft Beer Wankers we lost the requirement for beer to refresh us..

19. Nottingham & Black Iris - Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb (Triple Cherry Saison, 5.0%)
Cherries are the new black this year, apparently; that and tonka beans. Lots of fruit, not much apparent booze; the saison character's not as strong as the one we had earlier, but it's still there. More like fizzy fruit juice than actual beer, losing the balance between the two.

20. North Street Leeds & Brew York - Tonkoatko (Vegan Tonka Coconut Cacao & Vanilla Milk Stout, 8.5%)
Yeah, that thing I was saying about tonka beans... Brew York have form with them, thanks to their Empress Tonkoko stout. This is another one we had ridiculously high hopes for, and it's the perfect beer to wrap up the day; a ridiculously velvety Fucking Vegan Stout (using oats instead of lactose) with all the best flavours in the world, plus a little kick of bitterness right at the end. The BBG reports that at the bar in Camden, a punter who was offered a random taste of this beer reacted with "what is this? I want this RIGHT NOW." Understandable, really.

18th Oct 2019, 23:11   comments (0)