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The Unpleasant Moblog Of Spank The Monkey

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Another part of the Spank The Monkey media empire: offending your brain at The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey, offending your ears at Spank's Audio Lair, and offending your eyes right here, right now.

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#Collabfest2019 round 6: BrewDog Brixton

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25. Brixton & Gipsy Hill - The Big Kahuna (Peach, Pineapple & Mango Sour, 5.6%)
Big fruit, little sour - having got used to the puckerfests that BrewDog's Overworks operation is regularly churning out, it's interesting to see how many of the sours in this year's fest are taking a more subtle approach to the style. Works quite nicely with our lunch of cauliflower wings, too, even after The BBG chucks extra Dalston Chilli on top of hers.

26. Angel & Brew By Numbers - 08|Porter – Rum Punch (Rum Barrel-Aged Tropical Porter, 5.0%)
We're tempted to put this beer in a 40oz bottle and pour it on the sidewalk, because the Angel bar closed down for the third and final time last month: after separate attempts at running the place as a hot dog joint, a rotating set of pop-up restaurants and a self-brewpub, BrewDog have finally decided they can't make the location work. This porter is basically the last thing they did, and it's a fitting memorial to a compact bar that kept trying to punch above its weight - for a five per cent porter, it's got a fine combination of fruity overtones and apparent booziness. We're slightly freaked out at this point by a punter who spews on the floor next to our table on the way to the toilets, and are slightly mollified by him slipping in it and falling over on the way back.

27. Roma & Eternal City Brewing - H501 (New Zealand Pilsner, 5.0%)
I keep thinking of this as H5N1, which was the name they gave to the Asian bird flu virus, so it's probably a bad name. It's quite a good pilsner, a bit floral-tasting - not quite as lagery as the other lagers we've been having so far. It doesn't deserve to be number 2 on the global Untappd vote as it is at the time of writing: though apparently on the BrewDog shareholder forum, there are accusations of Berlusconi-level vote-rigging being hurled at it. The lager crispness comes through a bit more several mouthfuls in.

28. Merchant City Glasgow & Up Front Brewing - Coconut Sinnerman (Oaked Imperial Coconut Kveik with Cinnamon & Vanilla, 11.0%)
Pretty sure it's around this time every year that we have to look up what a kveik is, and get surprised all over again when we discover that it's a beer made with a Norwegian farmhouse yeast. (Fun fact: Tempest Brewing have made one called Dawson's Kviek.) The BBG wonders if it's made of tonka beans, but in fact it's been constructed out of the three things tonka reminds people of: coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla. It's almost hard to detect the booze under those flavours, although it's got the mouthfeel and body of a chunky boi, as the young people say nowadays.


19th Oct 2019, 17:21   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 5: BrewDog Clapham Junction

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21. Clapham Junction & London Beer Factory - Biére de Coupage (Mixed Fermentation Saison, 5.9%)
Definitely a saison, but with an unusual bit of sourness to it, which is presumably the result of that mixed fermentation they mention. I'm not an enormous fan of the style, or of the concept of feeding wonky bacteria into it, but this is rather nice.

22. Liverpool & Polly’s Brew Co - Beatle Juice (Double IPA, 8.0%)
'The sort of One Of Those that justifies Those existing,' to quote The BBG directly. So yes, it's another DIPA full of hops and murk, but with a decent balance of juiciness and bitterness. It's up there with the sort of things Cloudwater make, which is probably as high as praise gets.

23. Cambridge & Big Drop - The Nutty Professor (Hazelnut Porter, 0.5%)
I think this might be the first low alcohol beer to ever be in a Collabfest - and we know from experience that Big Drop are doing splendid work making 0.5% versions of multiple beer styles. This is insanely nutty - it's already leaping up your nose as you pick up the glass - though a little bit thin for a porter. It wouldn't quite work as an alternative to our usual dark 'n' naughty nightcap beers, for example. But it's still drinkable as hell, nut allergies aside. Appreciating the use of 'professor' as a synecdoche for 'Cambridge', by the way. Shit, three drinks into the day and I'm already using words like 'synecdoche'.

24. Tallinn & Põhjala - Twisted Biscuit (Spiced Baltic Porter, 8.0%)
Now this would work as a nightcap beer. The spice makes it the sort of thing you could imagine drinking in pints at Christmas with the excuse 'but it tastes festive, how can there be anything wrong with that' before falling over. We're big fans of both Põhjala and the Tallinn bar, so we were always going to like this one.


19th Oct 2019, 15:35   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 4: BrewDog Shoreditch

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17. BrewGooder & Overtone - Happy Haze (New England Session IPA, 3.9%)
It tastes like One Of Those, but it's only 3.9%: that's got to be an achievement of some sort. Ludicrously hoppy but sessionable. And because it's made by Brewgooder, it helps people in underdeveloped countries get clean water, presumably. Hopefully.

18. Shoreditch & Signature Brew - T.N.Tea (New England IPA with Earl Grey Raspberry & Cucumber, 6.0%)
Odd mixture of flavours on initial tasting: The BBG complains that it's kind of unidentifiable, which is amusing given how she"s tasted Earl Grey in a couple of the other ones. Even after being told, she still can't taste the raspberry in there. I'm getting more of a sense of refreshment rather than any specific flavour, so The BBG suggests that's the cucumber, and notes that 'refreshing' is a reaction that we've had to a few beers, as if once we became Craft Beer Wankers we lost the requirement for beer to refresh us..

19. Nottingham & Black Iris - Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb (Triple Cherry Saison, 5.0%)
Cherries are the new black this year, apparently; that and tonka beans. Lots of fruit, not much apparent booze; the saison character's not as strong as the one we had earlier, but it's still there. More like fizzy fruit juice than actual beer, losing the balance between the two.

20. North Street Leeds & Brew York - Tonkoatko (Vegan Tonka Coconut Cacao & Vanilla Milk Stout, 8.5%)
Yeah, that thing I was saying about tonka beans... Brew York have form with them, thanks to their Empress Tonkoko stout. This is another one we had ridiculously high hopes for, and it's the perfect beer to wrap up the day; a ridiculously velvety Fucking Vegan Stout (using oats instead of lactose) with all the best flavours in the world, plus a little kick of bitterness right at the end. The BBG reports that at the bar in Camden, a punter who was offered a random taste of this beer reacted with "what is this? I want this RIGHT NOW." Understandable, really.


18th Oct 2019, 23:11   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 3b: BrewDog Dalston

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13. Cardiff & Beer Riff - Basil Crush (Strawberry & Basil Sour, 4.3%)
Definitely got the fruit, not so sure about the basil. Very nice, but suffers a bit in comparison with the Red Rosies Bairn we had immediately before (see previous post). Nice and refreshing for all that.

14. Aberdeen & Six°North - Blue Stack (Blueberry Saison, 6.6%)
Definitely a saison, comes as a shock after a couple of nominal sours. ("Basil Crush was a sour?" says The BBG in disbelief. "It didn't taste of basil, either.") She likes it, whereas it takes me quite a while to get used to it. Still not quite sure by the end of the glass.

15. Birmingham & Glasshouse - Li’l Sebastian (Tart Fruit Pale with Sour Cherry & Vanilla, 6.5%)
What with this and the Terry Needs His Nibs on sale at this year's BrewDog AGM, obscure references to Michael Schur sitcoms in beer names seem to be the in thing now. Someone should call an imperial stout Jeremy Bearimy while there's still time. As advertised, it's a big old collection of mad shit in a single glass - The BBG suggests it's what a beer would be like if you got a six-year-old to design it. As with the previous beer, I'm still not entirely certain if I like it, but coming down more on the positive side as time goes on.

16. Castlegate & Fierce Beer - May Contain Cherry (Imperial Cherry Sour, 10.0%)
Our first double digit beer of this fest. 'Now that's a sour," says The BBG, and it's certainly more obviously one than the earlier beers with that in the name. Definitely cherry too. It's an interesting change to have a sour beer brewed at that sort of strength.

18th Oct 2019, 22:07   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 3a: BrewDog Dalston

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9. Dalston & Hackney Brewery - Two Hops This Time (DDH Pale Ale, 5.0%)
One Of Those, but decent with it. Hoppy, murky, all the usual things. Not much else to say about it. Sorry, Dalston, I know it's your beer and everything, but still.

10. Helsinki & Fat Lizard - Stepdance Stout (Gluten-Friendly Dry Irish Stout, 4.6%)
Apparently you can't say gluten-free if it comes out of a tap, hence the name. I think it's a little lacking in body, though I may have been spoilt by some of the imperial monsters I've had in the past. Quite nice, though, and I have fond memories of Fat Lizard from our previous Helsinki visits. The BBG thinks it makes a nice change to have a dry stout.

11. Oxford & Double-Barrelled - Shark in My Roof (Imperial Caramel Porter, 7.5%)
During the previous beer as well as this one, we're indulging in the new menu at the Dalston bar, which serves exclusively what Michael Legge has taught us to think of as 'fucking vegan food' - jackfruit burgers loaded with 'cheeze' and 'bacun', that sort of thing. Spelling aside, they're lovely, but it may be impacting our appreciation of the beers. We can't remember what makes a stout different from a porter, but this is a nice one either way, with the caramel really coming through.

12. Perth & Top Out - Red Rosies Bairn (Fruited Hefeweizen, 4,4%)
Even after the triple whammy of a jackfruit burger, cajun fries and a seven per cent porter, this still cuts through on the first mouthful. It's not quite Wu Gang Chops The Tree (the hefeweizen from Pressure Drop that's the best beer currently being brewed in London), but it's rather fine, both as a palate cleanser and a lovely beer in its own right. It grows on you even more as you drink it, surprisingly.


18th Oct 2019, 22:05   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 2: BrewDog Camden

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5. Camden & Two Tribes - Rhubarb Remix (Rhubarb & Rosemary Sour, 4.6%)
Starting day 2 like day 1, with a lager, but a slightly more interesting one (i.e. less lager-tasting, so the traditional lager drinkers may not like it as much). The fruity and herby twists are subtle (I'd say very subtle, though The BBG wouldn't go that far), with the rosemary most obvious on the nose and the rhubarb giving it its sour edge. Again, a nice gentle beginning to the proceedings.

6. Peterhead & Brew Toon - Algae it a Gose (Blueberry Gose, 5.1%)
Ah, Scottish wordplay humour. Fruity from the word go, although not immediately obvious it's blueberry. The BBG says there's a high note in the flavour that reminds her of Earl Grey tea, though it's a little uncertain. I'm thinking of it more as Hard Vimto. Both approaches are valid, I guess. Possibly you'd expect a Gose to be a bit saltier than this is, though it comes through a bit more as time goes on.

7. Malmo & Rocket Brew Co - Laika Forever (Sour IPA, 6.2%)
BrewDog bars frequently tweet pictures of canine visitors with the caption Dog In Bar Klaxon: well, this is Dog In Space Klaxon. (I'm getting a 7 Seconds Of Love earworm as a result.) A bit more properly sour, but pretty good with it, and that's Mr BrewDog-Built-A-Whole-Brewery-With-My-Share-Money-To-Make-Beer-That-Tastes-Like-It's-Gone-Off-The-Bastards talking here (i.e. me). The BBG, who's much more of a fan of the style, is getting vegetal notes off the flavour thanks to the hops, this being an IPA and all.

8. Manchester & Wander Beyond - Manta Meringue (Nitro Lemon Meringue Imperial Milkshake IPA, 9.1%)
Wander Beyond were the stars of this year's Edinburgh Festival: or at least, the imperial stout of theirs that was better than most of the shows we saw. This is the first beer we've had this Collabfest that feels like a special treat - our high expectations of the brewery have been met. You wouldn't want to drink milkshake IPAs all the time, but in small bursts the texture and flavour of this makes it dangerously gluggable, which is always the best possible rating for a Collabfest beer. The BBG suggests that it only tastes like lemon meringue when someone says the words 'lemon meringue' to you: it's more a subtle lemon flavour, with the lactose giving you the meringue bit. It tastes very nice, anyway.

18th Oct 2019, 19:07   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 1: BrewDog Shepherds Bush

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1. Bologna & Birra di Fiemme - Hopriginal (Alpine Pilsner, 5.0%)
It's a lager. It's a decent one, crisp with a nice level of bitterness, but not really our thing - we just picked it because if the published tap lists are to believed, we won't get to see it anywhere else this weekend. It's a starter beer, and okay for that.

2. Reykjavik & ÆGIR Brugghús - Who Let the Jam Out (Fruited Sour, 6.5%)
More fruity than jammy - not puckeringly sour, but as the fruit fades the sourness comes through as a mild afterburn, which gets even milder as your palate gets used to it. Likeable, but as they used to say on a film board of our acquaintance, it's The Shawshank Redemption of sour beers, because it's frequently cited as a favourite film by people who don't like films very much. (You can kind of see why they had to shut the board down.)

3. Stirling & Fallen - Black is the New Orange (Belgian Chocolate Orange Stout, 7.1%)
Okay, that's a good name (a few years late, though). Not quite the Terry's Chocolate Orange In Booze Form we were hoping for: not much chocolate, and the orange is more of a floral note in the aftertaste. We think there may be a bit more chocolate as it warms up, so we nip to the next beer for a bit and then come back: there's a little more of a velvety mouthfeel that makes you think of chocolate rather than actually tasting of it. I think of it more as a tribute band to chocolate orange stouts than the real thing, but The BBG likes it despite it not being what she expected.

4. Shepherd’s Bush & Brick Brewery - Twice Shy (Coconut Double IPA, 8.1%)
Not much coconut in the mouth - more on the nose at the start and in the aftertaste at the end, though that might be the chocolate stout messing with our tastebuds. Very much One Of Those, as we tend to refer to all those non-see-through IPAs everyone does now. As we keep on drinking it goes more peach than coconut, though that's not such a bad thing.
17th Oct 2019, 22:15   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019: it's that time of year again...

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Yeah, this is the only thing I use Moblog for these days, so sue me. From those humble beginnings five years ago when we could visit all four London bars in one day and neck all 16 beers in the festival, this year there are 78 beers - each one a collaboration between a BrewDog bar and a local brewery. The Belated Birthday Girl and I know for a fact that we won't get to sample all 78 over the next four days. But let's see what we *can* do, shall we?
17th Oct 2019, 21:52   comments (0)