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Belt’s Beer Garden: Great Scot!

Two beers from Scotland’s biggest brewery, BrewDog’s Punk IPA & Elvis Juice

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When I first started drinking craft beer in 2013, I could find BrewDog at most stores I went to. But, shortly after, they disappeared from shelves and I hadn’t seen them in about four years…that is until just a few weeks ago, when they were re-released into the Chicago market.

The Scottish brewery was started by two friends back in 2007 in the north-eastern city of Fraserburgh and, by 2008, they had exploded, becoming Scotland’s largest independent brewery with distribution across the globe (well…at least in the UK, Sweden, Japan, and America).

Today they even have a taproom/brewery just outside of Columbus, Ohio (where all of their American brews come from) and will be opening up a beer-themed hotel there shortly…finally, a reason to go to Columbus!

Today I have one of their Headliner brews, Punk IPA, and one of their Amplified beers, Elvis Juice.

Let’s start with their flagship beer, Punk IPA – an IPA brewed with Ahtanum, Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook, Nelson Sauvin, and Simcoe hops. It comes with a modest 35 IBU and 5.6% ABV. A six-pack runs the average $10.

Now, I have had this beer before but it was a looong time ago (July 4th, 2014) so I wanted to see if I still enjoyed it.

It poured a very clear golden amber color with three fingers of slightly tan head billowing upwards. The foam slowly fizzled down to a thin layer but didn’t leave too much lacing as it did so.

There was a nice sweet, yet slightly bitter, aroma released from the beer. Bold citrus notes and spicy pine backing were most prevalent with just some caramel malt sweetness peeking through the hops.

A light carbonation and surprisingly pillowy mouthfeel started off my first swig before the flavors really began to pop.

It was the citrus that hit first with a soft bouquet of orange, grapefruit, lemon, and just a hint of pineapple. The hops were initially super tasty, with those juicy citrus flavors, and super subtle...for most of the experience.

Around the mid-sip mark the hops switched course some and released a slightly bitter pine spice that the light malty sweetness and remaining fruit flavors couldn’t cut in to. Not that it was super bitter, it’s still only at 35 IBU, but the hops certainly became more noticeable than in the front stages of the taste.

Punk IPA then ends with a dash of dryness and a sticky-sweet resinous finish that lingers for a few moments afterwards. But, for the most part, it’s certainly a clean ending.

I was impressed with the beers easy-drinking flavors and just how light it is. It’s hard to believe that the same people that made some of world’s highest ABV brews also made this super light, very sessionable IPA!

I can see why this one has world-wide appeal. Lots of citrus flavors, some nice sweetness, and just a small burst of bitter hops towards the end. Very good stuff here.

Up next, I have a brew from their Amplified series, Elvis Juice, which is a grapefruit infused IPA.

The beer is made with Amarillo, Citra, Magnum, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops along with a enough grapefruit peel to “push your citrus tolerance to the brink and back”. However, like Punk IPA, it’s still a lighter brew – packing a 6.5% ABV and just 40 IBU – and costs the same ($10 per six-pack).

Elvis Juice poured an orangish amber color with two fingers of slightly tan head topping the liquid below. Within a few moments the bubbles had dispersed into a thin layer around the edge of the glass.

The bottle says it’s a grapefruit infused IPA…but, from just the smell of it, I would’ve guessed it was a beer infused grapefruit juice. Huge juicy bursts of grapefruit filled the air with very little to indicate that this drink was indeed a beer and not fruit juice. A slight hoppiness and just a dash of sweet caramel malt backed up the massive grapefruit aroma.

A light rush of carbonation started off the taste before the grapefruit and hops really popped on my tongue.

And, just as the scent had indicate, this brew was all grapefruit. The slightly tart citrus rind flavor exploded across my taste buds with a hint of hoppy bitterness. Besides the grapefruit, which is by far the most prolific flavor, the hops add notes of tangerine, pineapple, lemon, and melon

The malts add some nice caramel sweetness (just in case the citrus didn’t add enough to the beer already) and balanced it all out by slicing the hop bite limiting the bitterness. It was quite the easy to drink IPA…and one that even those that don’t like the style will most assuredly enjoy.

I was really surprised how cleanly Elvis Juice ended. Most times when a beer has been this aggressively juiced up, there is a super sticky feeling that clings on after the sip. Not this one. This beer ends crisp and quickly with just a hint of dryness sticking around.

The 6.5% ABV was hidden entirely by the juicy flavors and you could barely tell there were 40 IBU in this one.

I thought Punk IPA was easy to drink…but this one is so damn sessionable. It’s really freaking tasty. Tons of citrus flavors with some light hop bitterness and a malt backing that evens everything out. If there’s a flaw, it’s that the grapefruit juice makes the beer have a sugary candy taste to it but otherwise, it’s really, really good.