Pirate Badger Attacks
Brewdog: Arbor: Pirate Badger Attack (England: Black IPA: 7.8% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Large browned head.

Nose: Good hop character. Coconut cream. Sour white grapes with a sharp undertone. Slight white wine. Vanilla. Sour cherry sweets. Touch of coffee.

Body: Moderate bitterness. Good coconut. Sour grapes touch. Slight sour cherries. Malt drinks and digestives. Prickling hops. Light oak. Coconut cream. Kumquats. Cola sweets. light marmalade. Beef slices. Salted bagels.

Finish: Malt character and coconut. Reasonable bitterness but smooth feel. Dry. Slightly tangy. Dry beef slices.

Conclusion: The first stand out beer of the collaboration fest. This is malt drink heavy in style, like a malt drink made with coconut milk and infused with a balanced hop character. It sooths and sparkles in equal measure.

There is a lovely relaxed feel to the coconut backed by the low level, slightly tangy and tart elements that keep the malt drink heavy style from getting leaden. Now the balanced character does mean that it doesn’t have one stand out shining element, and its abv is dangerous for such and easy to drink beer. However these elements can be easily overlooked in exchange for what is effectively coconut milk and hopped ovaltine.

Yes, I know that sounds odd, live with it.

Now, there is plenty of other play under there, if it was just the single trick it would wear out its welcome quickly. There is sour cherry and cola sweets roiling with the tart touches, and the hop character imparts some fruit and Kumquat flavours in the more muted black IPA style. It is an oddity, yet a balanced one, worth having to intrigue yourself. I initially thought I couldn’t have many of this, and that even the tart edge wouldn’t keep the malt from getting too heavy, however from the time I spent with it I realised it has excellent progression as a beer. As the already mentioned elements slide out you start getting salted bagels and dried beef slices like elements in the finish savoury touch that gives it more time to play. I only had a third so I couldn’t say how it works in the long run, but it definitely seems to have legs.

A satisfying beer with many layers by any measure.

Background: Collab Fest 2013! Every Brewdog bar collaborated with a local brewery to make a beer for the fest, resulting in a grand total of twelve beers released over one weekend. So, what could I do? Normally I limit myself to two of three reviews in a session, but these would only be on for the weekend. So, for you, my readers, I sat in one eight hour stint, drinking thirds, with a glass of water and a chapter of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone between each drink to help clear my palette. I suffer so for you. This was the third beer of the day, an imperial brown coconut IPA. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer, and with Brewdog Bristol being my local, not an unbiased actor on their beer, though I try. Ratebeer list this as a black IPA, which I will go with, though it shows heavy deviation from expectations of the style, I don’t have any better category to go with. It was the strongest in abv of all the collaboration beers, and I noticed Bristol gave it by far the biggest and prettiest logo on the wall board.