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#CollabFest2015 part 1: live from @BrewDogClaphamJ

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For this year's Halloween pub crawl, we're going in our Craft Beer Wanker costumes. Yes, it's the awkwardly-scheduled BrewDog Collabfest 2015, in which 21 of their bars have teamed up with 21 local breweries to produce 21 limited edition beers, on sale today. The Belated Birthday Girl and I, for the sake of mathematics and liver health, are only going to be sampling 16 of them today, and reviewing them as we go, with all the implied hilarity that should arise once we start hitting double figures. To start, we grabbed a flight of four of the weaker (i.e. approx 5%) ones at Clapham Junction BrewDog.

1. Laika (Clapham/Orbit, 5.0%)
Dry-hopped dunkelweisse. Okay as a start, but a little characterless, possibly due to its straight-from-the-tap low temperature. A bit of weiss on the nose, and a bit of hops at the tail end, but that's about it.

2. Ghost Writer (Aberdeen/Cromarty, 5.1%)
Baltic porter with cocoa, mulatto chillies. "That's more like it," says The BBG, though the combination of cocoa and chilli will always push her buttons. The chilli has the effect of making you think it's got more body, rather than actually contributing measurable heat. It's a subtle overtone, coming through more strongly as you drink more, unless it's some sort of reaction to the Scotch eggs we were eating alongside it. BrewDog are currently talking about 'streamlining' the food offerings across the bars: keep yer hands off Clapham's Scotch eggs, James, or there'll be trouble.

3. Perfect Storm (Nottingham/Black Iris, 4.9%)
Black California Common. It's a steam beer, but that shouldn't really explain why it initially came out of the tap looking like water. It's quite bland for the first few mouthfuls, with a little bitterness but not much else of note. Initially I think it's just battling against the aftertaste of the Ghost Writer, but Perfect Storm's a bit too one-dimensional in this company.

4. Not Another Eurovision Beer (Bristol/Moor Beer, 5.3%)
Rye IPA. Lovely: on the first taste, there's an almost floral sweetness in the nose and fruitiness on the palate. A bit more bitterness on subsequent mouthfuls, but nicely balanced throughout. A surprisingly large amount of stuff going on in this one: after the disappointment of the previous beer, it's like my tastebuds have been turned back on again. Good to not be leaving the bar on a note of disappointment.
31st Oct 2015, 15:03  

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