Many of you will know what I think of Brewdog’s beers.
I’m not always too keen on their sales and marketing techniques but generally I can’t fault their beers.
My least favourite of their core range is Hardcore (9.2%).
That said, it is still a marvellous little bottle of excitement.
A year or so ago Tesco announced additions to their Finest range which included a Tesco Finest American Double IPA (9.2%).
I and a few friends saw the Brewdog tag and presumed it was relabelled Hardcore.
It was only recently while speaking to someone who knows these things that I was informed that a, “whole different set of hops” is used to make the Tesco beer.
I started with the Hardcore.
As the cap comes off you are hit with an almost overpowering aroma of jelly sweets.
The first mouthful is tantamount to drowning in a bath of liquified Haribo.
Whisky malt and rum race around your palate and provide a big meaty body to the beer.
The hopping is extraordinary – super long, super bitter and super dry.
There is a melon roundness and some decent citrus (Decent? More like waking up to lemon rubbed in your eyes).
The one thing that puts this beer to the bottom of my favourite Brewdog brews is that I find there’s an over-riding alcohol bite that makes this beer slightly battery-acid harsh.
I’m a fan of high ABV beers, take the brews from Hopshackle or almost any of the Dubbel beers from the continent and you are presented with a high alcohol content that sits way at the back and provides warmth and comfort.
With Hardcore, it’s too upfront.
Perhaps that’s why they named it that way.
So, onto the Tesco Finest American Double IPA.
Both beers pour a dark, rich amber and sit heftily in the glass, hugging the sides as you drink.
Both beers feel the same in your mouth and both beers have that pungent sticky sweet aroma.
So, the claim is that a different recipe was used for each brew.
Perhaps my tastebuds aren’t as good as yours or perhaps (and I rather think this to be the case) the overly high ABV scours away the subtleties like a big beery Brillo pad.
To sum up, when I fancy a bottle of Hardcore I’ll buy it from whichever Supermarket I’m nearest to as it makes so little difference as to not really matter.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve just had two bottles of 9.2% beer and I feel a little whoozy.