Tag Archive: Brodies


Brewdog Brodies Southside Zester

Brewdog: Brodies: Southside Zester (England: Berliner Weisse: 3.7% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon juice. Small white head that is mainly clumps around the edges and leaves trails.

Nose: Key lime – tangy. Buttery shortbread. American cheesecake. Kiwi.

Body: Tart. Squeezed lime. Light dry oak. White wine. Apple cider. Passion fruit.

Finish: Squeezed lime. Vanilla. Soft lemon. Pears. twigs. Passion fruit.

Conclusion: Brodies do great sours. Lime makes for a good sour. This rocks. Ok, that is the short review for people with no attention spans. This is like key lime pie, the musical … or more correctly, key lime pie, the beer, but you get my point.

It is tangy but not harsh, sour but soft. It has elements not entirely unlike the drier, less sweet American style cheesecakes, or like buttery shortbread. That is used as a base, then shot full of squeezed lime which just sparkles.

Unusually for a sour, and probably due to the softer nature, the almost holographic range of flavours you get with a lot of sours are not present here. Instead it is more carefully shaped into cider tartness at the height of the intensity – a more mellow but still refreshing high point. The drier points go towards twigs and dry passion fruit, keeping the dry grounding and still quite fruity. It is refreshing, deep and rounded – the lime is the perfect match for the sour.

If you could bottle this it would be basically bottled summer joy, calling to imagery of hot South America days drinking, German Brauhaus, and English bush filled fields. Lovely.

Background: Collabfest! 2014! WOO MOTHERFUCKERS! I like collabfest. Every brewdog bar does a collaboration beer with a local brewery then they are all put on at all the bars. Last year I managed all 12 in one day. This year, with there being 16 now, I had to pace myself. So I will going back to try and grab the ones I missed. Anyway, this one is also called “Livin’ La Vida Lime Juice”. Due to the amount of beers I kept to thirds, for obvious reasons. My later in the day reviews may be slightly incomprehensible…

Bourbon Romanov

Brodies: Bourbon Barrel Aged (Jack Daniels/Jim Beam) Empress Romanov Stout (England: Imperial Stout: 12.1% ABV)

Visual: Black with caramel froth head.

Nose: Milky coffee. Bitter chocolate. Vanilla toffee. Black cherry. Soft with no alcohol feel. Elderberry liquore(or how I would imagine it to be).

Body: Liquore like. Very bitter chocolate. Bitter coffee. Roasted. Vanilla edged. Fudge. Froths in the mouth. Shortbread. Very thick texture. Cake sponge. White grapes.

Finish: Bitter coffee. Roasted hazelnut. Vanilla yoghurt. Cake sponge. White wine and juicy grapes.

Conclusion: This is one of the big guns of beer, creamy thick texture, huge bitter coffee and bitter chocolate. Initially that is all you get, but trust me on this one when I say there’s more to come.

But before we get onto that, we need to first spend a bit more time on the texture. Seriously this is a heavy duty, almost milkshake thick beer, and yet the aroma does not hint at but the barest drop of alcohol. How does it do that?

Ok, that little digression gave me time to acclimatise to the beer’s sheer bitter chocolate and now I can give it its true examination. Now you get the soft toffee, cake sponge and vanilla, all I presume bourbon ageing notes slowly seeping their way in. They are gentle notes around an intense body that, while more alcohol touched than the aroma, is nowhere near its abv.

Finally as you get towards the end of the beer, fully acclimatised, and more than a touch inebriated, you get the oddest elements. A slight white wine and juicy grape freshness that is enough to pull the beer back from the edge of being too heavy to handle.

Even with that it is still a raw and massively bitter Imperial Stout in the Speedway Stout mould, but those small tweaks make me much amenable to this beer over the more publicly lionised Speedway. Huge, intense, and maybe just a touch too raw at times, but gives more than enough with that, that it is well worth it.

Background: Interesting, when I looked for more information on this I found that there were several Bourbon aged versions of Romanov, with Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and a mix of the two aged versions. I have no idea which version this one is. I have a short tweet conversation with The Barley Mow where I drank it and Brodies who made it, trying to establish which version it is. Will let you know if I get any luck. (UPDATE: Brodies confirmed it is a mix of Jack Daniels and Jim Beam aged, many thanks!)I have drunk a few version of Romanov now, and first drank this version after a catch up with my family. I was a tad too merry that night to do a write up, so I returned a week later with notepad in hand. As you can tell, I am a fan of the varied versions of this beer. Also the Barley Mow is an excellent little beer haven tucked away behind the Bristol train station, highly recommended.

Brodies Vs Brewdog

Brewdog: Brodies Tayberry Berliner Weisse (Scotland: Fruit Berliner Weisse: 5.17% ABV)

Visual: Very hazy. Creamed white thin head. Bruised apricot flesh colour.

Nose: Tart. Elderberry. Raspberry. Gooseberry. Bruised peach.

Body: Lemon cheesecake/Lemon curd. Gooseberry. Very soft. Light shortbread. Tart but sweet. Strawberry. Apricot.

Finish: Lemon sherbet frothing up. Very fresh. Custard sweet traces. Dried apricot. Berry tartness. Gooseberry. Passion fruit.

Conclusion: I’ve used the term “Holographic flavours” before, when a beer has a range of flavours that seems beyond what the beer should contain. It comes up a lot with sours and lambics as it feels like the sharpness of the beer is tricking you into experiencing shimmering evanescent flavours. Despite the indication of deception the term is meant as a compliment for the sheer amazing experience such a beer brings.

Which is a long winded way of saying, wow, how fruity is this beer? Tart berries, lemon sherbet, and I could swear strawberry and dried apricot amongst others.

For all the tartness the beer feels soft and it is one of the few Berliner Weisse’s I feel I could drink by the pint. Cheesecake and biscuit base flavours help a lot with that, bringing the aforementioned softness. Reminds me of Mikkeller’s “It’s Alive” but with more wow (and for those that remember that review, no I’m not starting the “Kitteh!” thing again on account of being reasonably sane at the moment.)

Teeth drying, yet doesn’t feel that sharp, I’ve really enjoyed Brodies Sours but this just seems to add so many layers to that. Light custard sweetness, shortcake and lemon curd brought with a metric ton of fruit.

Refreshing and delicious and lemon tart. Easy to drink and a perfect summer days drink.

Excellent!

Background: Ok, what is the name of this? First seen as just Berliner Weisse, Then Brewdog Vs Brodies, then Tayberry Berliner Weisse. The last is most descriptive so I went with that. Drunk at Brewdog Bristol. Bias warning: Not only am I not an unbiased actor on Brewdog Beers, the staff also gave me this pint free. Massive conflict of interest going on. Ah well.  Brodies are an awesome small brewery in East London, who have already done a few Berliner Weisse sours so I’m guessing brought some experience to the mix. As the name suggest this was made with Tayberrys. When I suggested Lemon Cheesecake a staff member added lemon curd as a suggestion, which was very cool so I kept it for my review.

Elizabethan

Brodies: Elizabethan (England: Imperial Stout: 22% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still with no head and a small amount of bubbles around the edges.

Nose: Marmite. Horse blankets. Black olives.

Body: Chocolate liquore. Toffee. Marmite. Treacle. Very smooth. Red cherries. Gin. Black olives. Black cherry. Cranberry. Coconut macaroons. Raisins. Shortbread.

Finish: Chocolate. Port. Fudge sweetness. Fruitcake. Black cherry and olives. Sweet liquorice touches. Coconut.

Conclusion: Holy shit. This thing is Tokyo*++. Well half way between a Tokyo and  Romanov Stout. Or something. It has got the chocolate liquore smoothness and the black olives that I’ve come to associate with Romanov and the real sweetness and cranberry fruitiness of Tokyo*. It is so very smooth, no alcohol burn despite the fact this should be an insanely weighty beast. Frankly that makes it dangerous.

The aroma does fool you. It is quite simple and as one friend said, slightly marmite like. There just doesn’t seem to be much going on initially, it could be that the glasses don’t suit careful nosing well but I was preparing to be disappointed.

The first sip dispels this foolish notion.

The body is chocolate liquore soaked in dark fruit and fortified wine. The word liquore is required to adequately describe it. If you are looking for a more traditional beer you wont find it here. This is one for the fans of the heavy duty experiments of recent years.  What it gives you is a complexity far beyond most of the sweet liquore concoctions can provide.

It still feels like an Imperial Stout though. Initially the power belies the complexity but then over time lovely coconut flavour comes out, an element I deeply appreciate in stouts.  It feels like it is combining Good King Henry Special Reserve with the sheer power of the craft beer scene.  This is match made in heaven.

Like Romanov the olive elements ground it so the sweetness is not the only thing, and so gives it a base from which it aims for the stars. Of all the insane abv beers this is the greatest. Sweet, indulgent, liquore like and fruitcake rich. No hop character  I can detect, this rides all on its soothing nature.

Maybe I am biased by the effort it took to get access to this but an alcohol burn free indulgent and rich beer is bloody lovely.

Background: Rate Beer says this is an English Strong Ale. Possibly, the style is wide enough that it could come under it and at such high abvs style definitions do tend to break down. However on drinking it I couldn’t help but view it as an Imperial Stout, so that is how I listed it. This beer is one of Brodies legends, brewed very rarely, some say once a year on Brodies anniversary, I couldn’t confirm. We had heard it was on over the Easter Bunny bash when I was down for my friend’s birthday. It wasn’t on when we arrived but we were promised it should be ready any time now. So we kept asking every half an hour odd on if it was on yet. Apologies to the staff if we were driving them mad. Finally it came on, at 22% it was only served in thirds and I grabbed what I could for the table. So you might say I was quite anticipating it. Maybe just.  The marmite notes were first noticed by a fellow drinker then I couldn’t unsee them.

Caramel Salt Brodies

Brodies: Caramel Salt Beer (England: Brown Ale: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy sediment filled brown. Moderate creamy slightly browned head. Lots of suds left by the head.

Nose: Toffee doughnuts. Glazes. Honey coated peanuts. Coffee dust.

Body: Smooth texture. Sweet caramel dominates. Pretzels. Salt. Doughnuts. Quite bitter, Condensed cream. Sickly sweet. Raisins.

Finish: Salt. Fudge. Brown bread. Bitter. Pretzels.

Conclusion:  There are good beers. Bad Beers. Beers that you drink for the experience, and beers that live up to their names. This is at the very least the latter two.

Very thick textured and sickly sweet. That caramel and salt are unmistakable, calling both to toffee doughnuts and salted pretzels. An odd mix of quite bready products with sweet and salt variants. There has been some debate over how salted this is. To me it was quite prevalent, especially in the finish. To my friends it was a subtle note. Maybe I’m just very sensitive to salt. Any which way the caramel by far dominates of the two elements.

The flavour levels you get in this are, if anything, slightly too big. When it is sweet it is sickly, the salt is shaken loosely over and dries in the finish. It is quite unlike a beer I have tried before. I had to take my time, to decide if it was a good beer or a bad beer that just happened to be very interesting.

While I was deciding my friend and I had a short debate on if the doughnuts here more resembled Thornton’s Toffee in Doughnuts or Krispy Kreme. It was quickly decided. Krispy Kreme styled sickly sweet all the way.

So, with that digression out of the way I returned to. Is it a good beer?

For a half I decided it is the sweet bready delight.  The unique flavours lean just on the right side of manageable and it doesn’t hold anything back.  For a full pint, I don’t think I could manage that.

Frankly, grab a half, its character is unique, thick and lovely. You wont regret it.

Background; I admit, I looked up the beer style for this one as I had no sodding idea.  Drunk at the Brodies Easter Bash in London. It was a friends Birthday and so I was down and taking the chance to enjoy the massive range of beers they had on that night. I drank a good few but only got the chance to review but a fraction. So a Caramel Salt Beer huh. You knew I had to at least try it. I am becoming quite the fan of Brodies, their massive range of beers, very cheap prices at their home pub, wild experimentation and high quality make them a good choice.

Mocha Rum

Brodies: Mocha Milk Stout (Rum Barrel) (England: Imperial Stout: 9% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Dust of off white head.

Nose: Very roasted coffee. Spicy undertones. Roasted nuts. Cloves. Mulled touch.

Body: Spicy. Rum and raisin. Bitter chocolate. Red wine. Glacier cherry. Very smooth. Cream. Lots of spices and mulled wine.

Finish:  Bitter coffee. Spice again. Cream. Bitter chocolate. Greenery. Rum and raisin.

Conclusion: A very odd nose to body combination on this one. The nose is roasted, very much so, and gives very little hint to the rum.

When you sip the base stout below is detectable as smooth chocolate and very creamy but it doesn’t take long for the spiced warmth to start pulling through.  The mix of smooth chocolate and spice could not be more different to the dry roasted aroma.

It runs on a hair line balance between the spice and the stout and it manages it will. There is an eternal warmth of character to it that reminds me of chilli or ginger aged stouts but here the heat is just implied with flavour rather than being actually fiery kick. To me this is the best of both worlds, the great flavours but without making it hard to drink from the heat.

I had the beer in a third and more than that would probably have hurt it. The huge delicious spiciness was growing throughout the drink but never reached a point where it overstayed its welcome. I have a feeling by a half pint it may just have been doing so, but that is a guess.

Very well done, with great emphasis of the creamy chocolate and full use made of the benefits of barrel ageing. Maybe a bit simple in the nose but it makes up for that with the rest of the beer. Very much worth trying.

Background: Drunk at the Brewdog Bristol, Brodies night where we got to meet the brewers. Apparently made with actual milk and chocolate rather than cocoa nibs or similar. Also apparently a total shit to clean up after brewing. There was both a rum and port version on offer. I grabbed and reviewed rum, my mates grabbed port, but we pretty much shared the two between. For comparison Port was sweeter and seemed less roasted on the nose. I preferred the rum, if I remember rightly James Brodie said he thought he would prefer the port as the temperature warmed up.  I could be wrong. Drink was involved. Due to rum being quite a naval drink the slightly piratical looking photo of my good friend local stand up comedian Dan “Dagger” enjoying the beer seemed appropriate so I have shared it below.

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Pineapple Sour

Brodies: Pineapple Sour (England: Fruit Berliner Weisse: 3.7% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellowed fruit juice. White dust at the edges.

Nose: Juicy pineapple. Tart. Apricot. Light pencil shavings. Stewed banana.

Body: Tart and fresh. Gooseberries. Pineapple. Custard cream biscuits. Cheeseboards. Peach.

Finish: White grapes. Pineapple. White wine.

Conclusion: A pineapple sour? Odd but considering how tart Berliner Weisse beers can be and how tart pineapple can be you can see where they could work. Which makes it very interesting that while this beer is tart it is surprisingly easy going. The beer is around the fresh fruit juice level of tartness rather than the insane Berliner Weisse kick. It is nowhere near the sharpness level that the Cherry Sour brought for example.

There comes a cheeseboard element after while, which gives a much needed bit of body. This is a fine bit of craft to the beer and calls to the similar lambic tricks.  Overall the beer is very tastebud cleansing, but brings with it a nice amount of sweetness. It seems very juicy in its expression of the pineapple, a good twist for what can be a challenging fruit. I think in some ways the closeness of the fruit and the beer styles flavours can work against it rather than benefit.  When they are too in tune it can make the actual flavour seem slightly thin rather than bolster it and all you get left is the freshness. The more welcome times are when you get more apricot and peach rather than pineapple coming through.

Despite that it does make for a good wakeup call  beer, and can cut through hoppier beers drunk before it. Taken for itself it is ok but doesn’t rock my world. As a mid session pick me up and palette cleanser it is quite spot on. So not their best sour but not bad.

Background: Drunk at Brewdog Bristol when that had a Brodies tap takeover night.  My London friends rave about Brodies beer and I try to get hold of them when I can.  A great thing about the Brodies night was they had the owner and brewer down to answer questions and chat (and in my case, kindly agree to be photographed).  It was fun to be able to talk about the beers and brewing background, and added a great amount to the night. Thanks to everyone involved in the event. I also drank the Brodies Raspberry Sour but didn’t get a chance to review, it was by far a better beer and well worth a try. As a sucker for an oddity I had to give the Pineapple version the review.

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Romanov Stout

Brodies: Romanov Empress Stout (Laphroaig Barrel Aged)

Visual: Dark black. Thin millimetres of a coffee froth hued set of bubbles.

Nose: Honeycomb. Caramel. Milky coffee. Bourbon. Fudge. Slight gin. Wet rocks. Condensed cream. Very sweet.

Body: Slick and very smooth. Salt and wet rocks. Medicinal character. Toffee and smooth bitter coffee.

Finish: Salty air and light charring. Dry gin. Gooseberry fresh touch. Bitter coffee and chocolate. Fudge. Very dying and light oak.

Conclusion: The long raved about Romanov Stout. So how does it hold up?  Well at first I was worried that this thing wasn’t going to show any of its Islay ageing influence.  The aroma is just a barrage of sweet and honeyed aromas, with but the barest hint of island rocks giving a call to the whisky barrels.  So, I thought the body would follow the same path. More fool me.

The body is slight textured but the initial flavour is nigh overpowered by the medicinal and salt Laphroaig character. There is none of the meatiness you get with the base whisky, and initially little of the sweetness either.  The medicinal character is very clean and clear cut. This then led me to think I would be disappointed by the beer in the opposite fashion, that the base imperial stout would be lost to the ageing.

Again fool me, though this time less so.

The Islay character never fully parts to let the stout below express itself but as you drink on the bitter chocolate and coffee and the fudges sweetness manage to fight out from underneath the barrel ageing.

For a beer of such strong elements it unusually seems to favour smoothness of character heavily. Despite a slight but noticeable alcohol influence it keeps everything very restrained. Thus early on the flavours don’t show themselves to their best, instead letting them build to a crescendo over time. It does get up to speed pretty quickly though. Even on just having a third the flavours became a permanent fixture in my mouth by half way through.

When it develops it’s a mix of big flavours which seep into all aspects from first sip to finish.  It is rough in flavour with heavy dependence on Islay character, but very smooth of texture to drink.  Very nice, it possibly needs just a bit more of the base Imperial Stout pushing through for it to become exceptional, but it is still a well done beer for whisky fans.  A challenging and rewarding Imperial Stout.

Background: My friends have been raving about Romanov Empress Stout for while now. Since they are London based they can get it quiet easily.   When I heard that Brewdog Bristol had a keg of it hidden in the cellar  I was excited, but had a horrid feeling it would end up on while I was away up north.  Thankfully I returned to Bristol for New Years to find this just on.  So I drank it.  Thanks to Jonny and everyone at Brewdog Bristol for both getting this in and for a great New Year drinking session.

Sour

Brodie’s: Cherry Sour (England: Fruit Beer: 4% ABV)

Visual: Hazy raspberry red. Dash of white bubbles around the edge and thin trails across the middle.

Nose: Raspberry syrup and vanilla ice cream. Strawberry. Slightly tart but surprisingly sweet.

Body: Tart. Raspberry. Squeezed lime near the back, Twigs and cheeseboards. Slight cherry syrup.

Finish: Sour lemon. Sherbet. Fresh lime touches at very end. Sour grapes. Kaffir lime leaves. Light almost nutty air.

Conclusion: It’s odd how mood seems to affect this one, or possibly just time. I had it on Monday and found it tasty but single note and really tart. I came back to it Saturday and found a whole different ball game going on.

Ok, it’ still tart but the aroma is actually surprisingly sweet and the body now feels like a raspberry and lime fight for dominance. You get a mix of tartness and sourness, and occasionally even a touch of the cherry that was used to make it. Oddly for a beer made with cherries, the flavour seems much more towards other fruit, possibly just because of the tartness. You also get a few cheeseboard like elements broken out, though never in large quantities.

The cherry sweetness you do get seems to play referee between the aforementioned lime and raspberry, cutting a line between them whenever they get too heavy.  I do feel I had this beer at the wrong time of year. Had mid summer I think this would be thirst quenching as heck.

I’ve not had a huge amount of experience with Berliner Weiss so have little to compare this to on that account ( My first experiences of Berliner Weiss was when I had a tooth cavity, unbeknownst to me at the time. Let’s just say it put me off for a few years) However if I compare to the similar style of lambics it fares well as a mix of tartness and challenge to refreshing and flavour.

It’s not Cantillon insane level experience but I found it very enjoyable and will have to drink a few more Berliners to compare.

It’s a hard life.

Background: Drunk at Brewdog Bristol. Yes again. I am enjoying their guest beer selection. This one is a Berliner Weiss from what I have been told, I’m guessing same basic recipe as Brodie’s London Sour, though that comes in at a slightly lighter 3.6% ABV.  Brodies are a brewery my friends from London rave about so when I got the chance to give this a try I thought I shouldn’t pass it up. I’ve had a few Brodies before, but I’m usually too busy catching up with mates to get the chance to do a tasting note.

Brodies: Kiwi (England: Golden Ale: 3.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold. Thin white bubbled head.

Nose: Grapefruit. Gooseberry. Slight toffee sweetness. Light hops. Pineapple.

Body: Bitter very heavily. Nettles. Pineapple. Vanilla and custard. Elderberry.

Finish: Bitter. Nettles. Elderberry. Wood caskets. Dry. Some hop oils.

Conclusion: A session NZ hopped beer. Huh. Wonder how it manages that? Well apparently by kicking bitterness way up past what you would expect. The aroma shows the NZ hop range of grapefruit and gooseberry but no real bitterness. Thus the kick when I first sipped caused quite an exclamation of surprise.

It does trade off complexity for bitterness a tad in the main body. However for a session abv beer I’d consider that a fair exchange. It still has a good show of the NZ style citrus tartness hiding behind the hops, thought if muted compare to the main kick.   Considering the difficulty in really bring out the NZ flavours without going more heavy duty I think they did a nice balance here, the extra bitterness gives it that edge to make the flavours you do get work well in contrast.

It is towards the harsher edge of the session style. Definitely not an assault beer, but you do have to be a bit of a hop head to want to go through a few of them.  Thankfully I am such a fellow.

As mentioned, the abv means that the full New Zealand character can’t quite come to the fore; however I haven’t seen many beers that so proficiently bring the bitterness and citrus hop in a session ale.  For low abv weird hop usage it is comparable to Bristol beer Factory’s Acer ale, though that goes for a more easy going character while this zooms out the other way.

So it isn’t fantastic compared to the big guns that pull out all the stops, but it is aiming for a different time and place for their beer. It is nice to see the craft beer joy being brought in at such a manageable evening drink abv. I’m quite happy with my pint of this little belter.

Background: Drunk at The King Willam IV Bar right next to their Brewhouse. My friends have been raving about this brewery for a while so I was chuffed to get to try some of their beers. Even better for a London pub the prices were remarkably reasonable. Unfortunately their “Pink Pride” which I was hoping to review after this ran out before I could get a pint. From a sampling of my mate’s pint however it was excellent and if you get a chance try it you should. The bar tap of this incidentally says “Made With New Zealand Hops” just in case the name “Kiwi” was not a great sodding give away. Maybe it was just in case you thought they brewed it with Kiwi fruit?

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