Brewdog: Punk AF (Scotland: Low Alcohol IPA: 0.5 ABV)

Visual: Very pale and lightly yellowed body. Thin white head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Passion-fruit. Vanilla toffee. Kiwi. Flour. Lightly creamy. Honey and barley.

Body: Light chalk. Good bitterness. Slight sour cream twist. Bready. Soft grapefruit. Soft kiwi. Tart grapes.

Finish: Chalk touch. Good bitterness. Kiwi. Passion-fruit. Slight charring. Dry. Light vanilla.

Conclusion: The good thing about low alcohol beers is that it is easy to have a few of them over a couple of nights and compare how they came across. Slightly harder to do with 15% and up abv imperial stouts is what I am saying.

Anyway, this particular one, the beer I am drinking right now and am doing notes on, has so far had a less notable body that some of the earlier ones I have had. I think they are all from the same batch, so it won’t be brewing variation causing it, so I think it is probably another example of low abv beers being more vulnerable to a few degrees difference in chilling than most.

The aroma is spot on Punk IPA – a lovely mix of hoppy fruit, light sweetness and slightly musky air. The body is, well, it’s ok. It is slightly dry and chalky – kind of like an over attenuated session IPA or APA. Depending on how much you chill this it either comes across fairly empty, or a decent facsimile of punk hops and fruit, just toned way down. The finish returns to a better expressed set of notes – that slightly closed and thick hop bitterness and a mix up of well used fruit notes.

So, a good opening and close. An ok, but over attenuated middle that doesn’t have the weight of flavour it needs. On the up-side, the hop bitterness and character manage to be appropriately intense the whole way through – it just needs more intense notes backing it up.

Reasonable enough. Punk IPA in general style if not in the details. Far too dry and attenuated to pull it off overall though. Still, not bad, not great. Definitely not up there with the current highs of the low abv contest.

Background: Usual disclaimer, as an Equity For Punker from years ago, I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog, but I try. Long time readers may have noticed recently I have done notes on very few Brewdog beers – that is as I have become disillusioned with Brewdog as a business – they have said and done a lot of stuff that has narked me off, so I’ve grabbed significantly fewer of their beers. Still, when I saw this in Sainsbury‘s I decided to grab it and give it a try. Punk IPA was the beer that got me into Brewdog, and despite my disagreement with the company I still rate it as an IPA. So, this, a low abv take on Punk IPA did have me wondering, could they genuinely do it? Could they make a beer that catches the essence of Punk IPA at a low abv. We are living in a renaissance of low alcohol beers after all. So, I decided to give it a try. In keeping with Brewdog’s business ethos, I went with music with no punk spirit at all – the Rotten Citizens Vol 1 EP. A mix of dark electronic tunes by varied artists.