New Dog in Town

A London bus and a shiny new bar.
It's not every day that I get invited along to an event for bloggers and its even less often that I can actually get to them! But fate was smiling on me this week as I happened to be in England for the first time in 6 weeks on the very day the event was to take place...the event in question? The opening of Brewdog bar number 4, right in the heart of Camden in London.
Being in Mark Dredge's stomping ground I naturally asked him if he was going along, but he couldn't make it. I was however offered  a visit to the brewery he works at, one I naturally couldn't refuse and I'll write about that later this week.

So back to the Brewdog bar then. Much has already been said about the success of this Scottish company; so I'll not bore everyone by regurgitating same and instead talk about the new bar.

Rees and Milly try the Scotch Ale
The tasting was to begin at 6:30 but due to late-running was closer to 7pm. This suited me perfectly as I'd managed to head in completely the wrong direction until I checked my Google maps and realised (I'm not sure how I survived before I bought my smart phone!). I grabbed myself a half of the Christmas Porter, a gently spiced version of Alice, a favourite of mine and headed downstairs, intriguingly being given a blindfold en route.
Waiting for us downstairs was James Watt, MD who led us on a tasting of three core beers Punk IPA, 5AM Saint and Hardcore IPA, interspersed with humorous anecdotes of the trials and tribulations of setting up the brewery.
Tim hands out free pizza!
James introduces the beer
What came next was an interesting concept; beer, music and food pairing. 2010 Masterchef winner Tim Anderson designed the Brewdog food menu to complement the beers and served them to us himself! I really enjoyed the breaded aubergine, mushroom and basil vegetarian creation, a sweet and savoury blend of textures that went well with the new prototype Scotch Ale. I had tried this bottled and found it a bit lacking in body, but served properly on draft new flavours were coaxed out, tangerine and brandy in the nose with tobacco and rasins in the body, alongside the big toffee and robust malt the style is known for. The music? Hardcore Punk, naturally.

Hands outstretched for the surprise!
The climax of the evening approaching, we were all asked to don  our blindfolds and hold out our hands to receive a glass. No blindfold, no beer! The beer had a spicy nose of coffee, cacao and liquorice with a thick and creamy body with a rich and fruity coffee finish. There was alcohol in there too. Rich, coffee, chocolate and boozy, must be a dark and brooding imperial stout...imagine the surprise then when the blindfolds came off and we find ourselves holding a mid-blonde beer!

This was AB:08, a deconstructed blonde imperial stout with a whole host of added ingredients to fool our mouths into thinking it was the regular thing. Its released next week and I shall certainly be picking some up, in fact I enjoyed it so much I immediately had to order a third (and on an empty stomache too!)

Mr Drinkneat was there too
Back upstairs and the bar is heaving and head out in need of food. On my return its even busier if that was even physically possible! I ensconced myself on a corner of the bar, in full view of the guest draught list. and settled on a half of another Brewdog creation, Mr Miyagi's Wasabi Stout.  The unmistakable smell of horseraddish escaped from this but was not as strong in the body as I had feared. In fact it reminded me of of the horseraddish Bertie Botts Every Flavour Bean!

John & Charlie, new converts!
Harry Potter recollections over and I noticed a couple of fellow drinkers were looking for a beer to drink. The excellent bar staff (Johnny on this occasion) know their stuff and talked the guys through the Brewdog range and they settled on two halves of Punk after a number of tasters. I found out they were called John and Charlie and they were Brewdog virgins! feeling generous I bought them a 5AM saint and they also tried my next beer Port Brewing Wipeout IPA which they ended their night on. One of them even asked to apply for a job; they'd obviously enjoyed themselves! 

Johnny advises on beers.
I managed to catch up with James and thank him for the evening and we talked about the AB:08. Not quite done yet I finished on a third of the Brewdog/ Lost Abbey collaboration Lost Dog. According to my ratebeer notes at 11pm last night "Dark ruby with strong port nose. Really fruity with plenty of alcohol. Long sweet finish with caramel and Toffee. Sticky and boozy". Enjoyable enough then!

Gone 11pm and with a 6am start it was time to head to my hotel, plans to visit the Euston cider Tap and CASK pub and kitchen thrown out of the window! A great evening, superb bar and lovely company.

Thank you to Camilla for the invite and organisation of the night, James for a rousing beer tasting (despite clearly suffering from quickly departing voice!) and all of the staff at Brewdog Bar Camden for helping to make the night a memorable one. I'm already planning my next visit!


  1. Great write up Steve. The AB:08 sounds interesting, but not sure I would have been trusting enough to don a blindfold handed to me by a brewdoggy :) It could have been a deconstructed anything!

  2. Sounds good, nice time to be in town!

  3. You said you'd call me Neil before any other name... It's Jonny, not Chris :) Nice to meet you the other night, hopefully you get to come back soon. J.

  4. Haha, I knew I'd get it wrong! Fixed!

  5. Sounds like a fun night. Wish I could have been there.