Brewdog: No Label (Scotland: Kolsch: 4.6% ABV)
Visual: Pale yellow to lemon juice. Moderate tight bubbled fluffy head. Very small bubble carbonation.
Nose: Lots of lemon and fluffy hops. Low but present bitterness. Hop oils. Apricot.
Body: Good medium intensity bitterness. Creamy. Slight bubblegum. Steam beer feel when cool. Slight grittiness when it warms. Lemon cakes. Brown bread.
Finish: Musty. Some hop character. Lime. Fluffy. Lemon. Slight milkyness.
Conclusion: Ok – I’ve put all my issues with this in the background section, so just for this moment I will leave them in the background and just examine the beer itself.
So, well, this is the second beer I have had recently that had a kind of steam beer texture to it. Shouldn’t surprise me – both Californian common and Kolsch straddle the ale/lager line. Californian common doing non refrigerated use of lager yeast, and Kolsch using ale yeast but cool lagered. Kind of mirror opposites of the unusual, so as I say, I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was. It is again that kind of fluffy steam texture that fills the mouth.
The hops are present but it is less bitter than I would expect from a Kolsch. this may be because of the mouthfeel, or possibly because it pushes the lemon cake style character which softens the beer a lot.
It actually results in a solid beer, pretty easy to drink, interesting feel, good enough bitterness to keep you interested but not to shock. It doesn’t exemplify the beer style, nor as the different beer it is does it create something special in the interactions of flavour and texture, but it does make for something easy to kick back with. If it wasn’t for the bad taste the whole events surrounding it leave in my mouth I would probably grab more, as the beer its self leaves a pleasant taste there.
A pleasant, softly citrus and moderately bitter beer. A nice take on the Kolsch and a bit different. That was happy enough, now let’s look at the background…
Background: Sigh. Ok This is a long one, So I will put it after the more tag so it doesn’t take up the entire page. This beer has a bit of background.
Brewdog call this the worlds first non-binary transgender Beer. After much consideration of Brewdog’s screw up with their response to complaints regarding transgender representation about over their last previous Equity For Punks video I decided finally to grab this.
My reason being that money was going to Transgender charities, and that they were going to Queerest Of The Queer for help in making the label. So, imperfect as I found the wording on it (See this link which explains it far better than I can.) I figured at least they were asking for feedback and help, which was a start.
Unfortunately, as the link explains money is going to LGBT charity, which generally would be cool, but when you are specifically pushing yourself as Transgender friendly, is imperfect as they often can get the short end of the stick in such arrangements that are not specific to them.
Also, it was a one step forwards, two step back situation. In the thread detailing the criticisms, the thread where I first saw the link to the issues, James answered. ” This launch was met with a mixed bag of responses on twitter as people battled with whether what we were doing was brazen, outspoken and brave, or whether they didn’t quite get what we were doing and why we were launching No Label.” No option for they get it but just bloody disagree with how you did it, because of course the cis man James understands more than the transwoman brewer about what to do with trans issues. Note that was sarcasm. It is this ignoring critical feedback that got me irritated with them last time. Especially when it is the people you are supposedly standing for that you are ignoring.
Probably not what James intended, or at least I hope not, but seriously, if you are going to promote yourself as trans friendly, then at best completely bastard ignoring their feedback or at worst saying “they didn’t quite get what we were doing” makes you look more than a tad disingenuous.
Sign, that was long. Anyway. A beer made with hops that grow male flowers, as opposed to usually just female flowers which can be used for beers and definitely not just Brewdog doing a big event to trying and cover up for their previous PR fuckup. Brewdog say that this release has nothing to do with that, and that any timing is a coincidence. Queerest Of The Queer’s website says “So when BrewDog responded to our challenge to talk about their fundraising video and how they could seriously re-engage with and make amends to the LGBTQ+ community they weren’t taking the easy track.”. So, yeah, that doesn’t make Brewdog seem like huge liars at all. Best guess they were planning the beer for a while, but the whole trans issues aspect and talking to QotQ was added on later after the controversy – so they were not technically lying, but were being a bit shifty.
So, in at least a little good news – I noticed the label actually doesn’t call itself a transgender beer. Interesting, as while still imperfect, without that aspect it looks more as a celebration of the range of non binary gender expressions, which is nice. I get the feeling QotQ helped with the bottle label, but not the varied announcements from Brewdog which were far more tone deaf. So, Brewdog, if you happen to read this, and my guess is right -then going for assistance was a good call – but if you are going to do so, do some end to end assistance – as your over the top style of announcements really meshed terribly with stuff like this and makes you look bad. Also listen and respond to feedback, such as money not going to trans-specific charities, in a way that actually acknowledges it, not just tries to shove it under the carpet.
I’m finished rambling. Normal service resumes. Drunk while listening to Rise Against: Endgame – which has to be one of my current favourite albums.