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Remember how last year I couldn’t choose between Mikkeller and To Øl advent calendars? So I ended up with both?
Well, it happened again. In fact, this year I was even more undecided. There were five that I wanted. Yes, five! Including both of the above. In the
In the end I managed to talk myself out of the Mikkeller calendar due to being an ongoing member of their beer club.
I still ended up with three though! I loved my ‘To Ølekalender’ last year so had to get one of those again (review coming soon, along with the third). And I couldn’t resit getting BrewDog’s first attempt at a calendar. Especially as it was so much cheaper than the others.
It arrived in plenty of time in a standard 24 bottle box. But at least they’d made an effort to make it sort of festive. Unlike To Øl’s attempt this year which was just plain and boring.
In typical BrewDog fashion they’d promised “awesome beers” and “amazing value”. Well, let’s see…
Day 01: Santa Paws (4.5%) – Not a beer I’m mad about, to be honest. I love a scotch ale, especially at Christmas but this one is a bit thin and weak for me. Plus, BrewDog only have two Christmas beers. I understand why they wanted to start the box with one, but personally, I’d prefer it closer to the end as I never feel very festive on a random Thursday at the start of December.
Day 02: Punk IPA (5.6%) – Doesn’t really need any introduction, does it? It was always going to be in there so might as well be early doors.
Day 03: Elvis Juice (6.5%) – Nice grapefruit IPA. Still not as good at the first Prototype though.
Day 04: AB:21 (12%) – One of my least favourite of the Abstrakt series. But only because I don’t really love liquorice. The blackcurrant doesn’t come through enough for me either. But it’s an enjoyable imperial stout all the same. On a Sunday though?!
Day 05: Dead Pony Club (3.8%) – A low ABV classic.
Day 06: Kingpin (4.7%) – It’s just lager, innit.
Day 07: Neon Overlord (7.3%) – The most marmite of beers. It’s sweet and sticky and very hot. Perhaps a bit muddled but I kind of like it. It was one of the very few beers I didn’t predict would be in the calendar. So was a pleasant surprise.
Day 08: Pumpkin King (5.4%) – I really don’t like pumpkin beers in October. I like them even less in December and this one is no exception. The spices are far too cloying and overpowering for me.
Day 09: Hardcore IPA (9.2%) – A BrewDog classic. One of the last times I’ll drink this beer as it’s recently been retired. It’s a shame but I think the time is right. RIP.
Day 10: Chili Hammer (7.2%) – It’s Jack Hammer, with chilli. What’s not to like?
Day 11: Nanny State (0.5%) – It’s not really beer is it? It’s definitely not very festive. I couldn’t be bothered drinking this (and still haven’t). I had a glass of water instead, it had a similar ABV.
Day 12: Electric India (5.2%) – A hoppy saison which is neither a great saison or good hoppy beer. Not unpleasant but a bit confused.
Day 13: Candy Kaiser (5.2%) – There are plenty of BrewDog beers I don’t love. There are some I really dislike. This is neither, it’s just really really boring.
Day 14: Hello My Name Is Ingrid (8.2%) – Another pleasant surprise. A big bitter cloudberry DIPA.
Day 15: 5AM Saint (5%) – Classic. My favourite BrewDog beer many years ago. I don’t drink it too often these days so it was quite nice to reminisce.
Day 16: Cocoa Psycho (10%) – Probably what first converted me to ‘big’ beers. It’s not quite as good as previous batches but still a pretty fine imperial stout.
Day 17: Dog E (16.1%) – Huge imperial stout. Rich and chocolatey with a subtle chilli kick. The highlight so far.
Day 18: Vagabond (4.5%) – One of the better gluten free beers around. A solid pale ale regardless of the lack of gluten.
Day 19: Zeitgeist (4.7%) – Lovely black lager.
Day 20: Ace Of Equinox (4.5%) – This whole series has been a little underwhelming. I mean it’s fine, but really doesn’t allow the Equinox to shine.
Day 21: AB:20 (14.2%) – My very favourite Abstrakt. And the one I’ve drunk the most, though I was still very glad to get another. A gorgeous, rich tiramisu barley wine. Perfect for Christmas.
Day 22: Jet Black Heart (4.7%) – I love this on tap with Nitro. It just doesn’t quite have the same mouthfeel from a bottle.
Day 23: Jack Hammer (7.2%) – Always welcome, my favourite of the core range. It’s a long time since I’ve had it from a bottle actually, I definitely prefer it from can.
Day 24: Hoppy Christmas (7.2%) – So we end as we started, with BrewDog’s other Christmas beer. This one isn’t really festive in anything but name. Just a nice simcoe heavy IPA.
So the BrewDog advent calendar was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. All of the ‘Headliners’ with most of the currently available seasonal beers and a couple of surprises. We were promised ‘amazing value’ and ‘new releases’ though, neither of which were true. But I have learned to tune out and dial down BrewDog’s OTT marketing spiel and manage my own expectations.
It’s a solid lineup of mostly decent beers at a good price. Even at the retail price (£70) it was significantly cheaper than the likes of Mikkeller and To Øl but with Equity Punk discount I paid £56 for it. I haven’t worked out the cost of buying everything individually but it feels pretty reasonable.
Apparently, there was supposed to be some bigger hitters in the calendar (AB:22 and Tokyo* specifically) but they ended up not being ready on time which is a shame. I think a Paradox or Black Eyed King Imp in place of one of the cheaper beers would have turned it from OK value to excellent value.
Overall it was fine. I’m not sure I’d get one again next year if it was the same standard but I’m hoping they’ll learn from this year and start planning much sooner. I’d love a more expensive calendar with less beers I can pickup from supermarkets and some more small batch beers. Maybe even do some rebrews purely for the calendar.Follow @BeerGeekBlog Follow @FoodGeekUK