Shiny-beers pre-supping
You've probably heard about this by now, a great idea but, in my view, with disappointing results. The "International Arms Race" challenge set before Brewdog by Matt Brophy of Flying Dog was to brew a zero IBU IPA using a number of alternative bittering agents, among them spearmint, bay leaves and juniper berries. Both beers were duly made and bottled with had-designed labels from Johanna Basford and Ralph Steadman respectively.

Flying Dog's attack
The labels are both real winners, with Ralph's depicting a literal dog fight and Jo's taking the more mythical route of a battle owl. The latter is the winner for me, after all, I'm rather fond of owls. 1-0 to Brewdog.

Its on the pour that you sense something is up. Though both brand spanking new brews, neither is able to hold up much of a head, with Brewdog's effort an instant flop. It doesn't get much better in the nasal department either, with a sweet frankincense and Turkish delight combo with perhaps a hint of pepperiness underneath in both beers. 2-1 to Brewdog

Brewdog's retalliation
The Flying Dog pulls ahead in the tasting department with  sweet crystal malt, cardamom, honey, slight medicinal taint and some (not unpleasant)  vegetal astringency.Its let down by some kind of mini-jellyfish floaties hanging around mid-glass. Brewdog seems to fall over with a whimper with quite spiky carbonation, a big flurry of unidentifiable spice then quickly fades to bready sweetness. There's a touch of what could be cardboard oxidation or a similar flavour from the herbs which I don't like at all. 3-2 to Flying Dog

In all Flying Dog wins the day and whilst interesting to try I certainly wouldn't have them again and plan to give away my additional bottles (bought a six-pack). Disappointing from two of my most-enjoyed breweries.

If you'd like to try the beers yourself then they'll be available on the Brewdog online store shortly or you can head along to one of their taste-offs over the next few days.


  1. These sound fascinating. I'd happily take a pair off your hands tomorrow if you'll accept festival pints in remuneration.

    1. I think both remaining pairs have been accounted for, but will confirm tomorrow. I'll have them with me in any case as i've got a few trades to do (bags gunna be heavy!)