Brewdog: Vagabond Pilsner (Scotland: Pilsner: 4.5% ABV)
Visual: Grain gold. White inch of froth and some suds around the glass.
Nose: Pineapple hops. Quite bitter. Kumquat. Golden syrup cake. Touch of lemon sherbet.
Body: Bitter. Ginger cake. Lots of hops. Egg planet. Hard boiled egg with solid centre. Passion fruit. Sweet golden syrup touch to the middle. Custard notes.
Finish: Dry and bitter. Egg plant. Passion fruit. Dry. Golden syrup cake again.
Conclusion: This is a lager? Actually, now I say that, yes I can believe it. I’ve tried some highly bitter German lagers and this follows the trend but with USA hops.
Almost like an American Pale Ale in style, with that notable dry finish. Mid body though, for all the bitterness, has that easy drinking lager texture. It also helps that there is that touch of sweetness to slip it down through the hops. The flavour is very American hops, dry citrus and fresh notes, high amounts of alpha acids against a good use of malt sweetness.
Normally this would be where I say “The beer tries to straddle two styles and so fails to be a good example of either”. Well, the thing is, it doesn’t. Fail that is. For all the dryness it still drinks like a good lager, and it has that great big aroma and flavour. The worst I can say against it is that it is going to be a hell of a shock for anyone expecting an unassuming lager.
For a Brewdog beer it is quite low abv, and despite the bitterness I could quite see it as being sessionable taken in halves. Probably the best lager Brewdog has put out in an area that they usually struggle with,
A very good, very bitter, session lager. (Disclaimer: I have killed my taste buds with hops: may not be sessionable for non insane people)
Background: I first drank this after the Republica Gig, and thus was in a very cheery mood and somewhat drained and sweat drenched on sampling. This review was done the next day, in a more calm and refined atmosphere as I returned to the bar. A heavily hopped pilsner using American hops. Lager styles have traditionally been a weak spot in the Brewdog arsenal. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. Unfortunately the photo of the beer didn’t come out too well. Apologies.