Okay, I know I’m going to shoot myself in the foot. I caved and got a beer subscription. The email advertising this new subscription from BrewDog, called “Fanzine”, came through and I toyed with the idea. By “toyed” I mean, I tried to convince myself NOT to subscribe. Beer subscriptions can be a ‘hit or a miss’ for 3 reasons:
- Beers are from different breweries, so the quality can vary hugely
- Subscriptions can be costly, with prices up to being £30 a month once shipping is added
- The variety of beers might not suit the consumers palate since it isn’t possible to specify which kind of brews you dislike
Here’s how Dr Beer’s mind answered these conundrums:
- They’re all from BrewDog! (Yeah – quite bluntly put there, but it immediately means the quality is guaranteed)
- Three beers every two weeks for £11? I’d normally have to find time to drive to the nearest bar and then pay for parking… this could be cost effective. Especially since the beers are delivered straight to my door – win!
- Well Dr Beer is trying to diversify his palate, so being occasionally being exposed to saisons and stouts wouldn’t do me any harm!
- (… because I need to have more positives than negatives). The beer world and my followers need to know about these fantastic beers and the ‘Fanzine’ experience!
All cans are 330mls and the first set of Fanzine beers are as follows:
- Jet Trash
Mandatory “Zephyr” Beer Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.57 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 4.6%
- IBU: 10
- Style: Pale Ale/Sour
- Tagline: V1 – Citrus tart edition
- Descriptive Comment: Breeze in, breeze out
So the first beer was about to be cracked open. BrewDog’s can design have been revamped recently, with a deep, speckled, almost tungsten look on these aluminium cans of joy. In addition to this, BrewDog have made the entire packaging plastic free – a great environmentally-friendly bonus. With ‘citrus tart’ being promoted on the bright yellow can, the first thing that comes to mind is lemon! On pouring, a bright golden lager-light beer was dispensed from the chilled can. A large, bright white foam head was produced, though this quickly dissipated once it got to the lounge table. Lemon scents arose from the glass and this was certainly the first thing I tasted. It was really tart for a pale ale! The beers starts with a lemon, grapefruit and tangerine clash. This then builds and peaks with a salty note, creating a very gose-like experience. Following this, the soft wheat malts come crashing through, cleansing the palate prior to the next sip! With an IBU of 10, this one has little-to-no bitterness.
Rating: 4.0/5. ‘Citrus Tart’ was an absolutely brilliant start. This beer really brings a collision of styles; Pale ale, Gose and Lager.
Mandatory “Jet Trash” Beer Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.75 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 6.9%
- IBU: 65
- Style: IPA
- Tagline: V1 – West Coast IPA
- Descriptive Comment: Pre-boarding now
Next up after Zephyr is ‘Jet Trash’. I had high hopes with this, having sampled lots of great New England, East and West Coast IPAs. I took another glass and looked closely at this can. It was coloured a deep green, closely resembling the colours of other great IPAs, namely ‘Jack Hammer’, which I am a huge fan of. Not only is this can colour similar, these sister beers share a variety of hops such as Citra and Simcoe, so I was sure that this was going to be great. This beer poured a darker golden, amber colour from the can. A less impressive white foam head was formed, though it persisted for a bit longer, leaving lacing on the glass whilst you drink it. Citrus aromas again came from the beer, hardly surprising given the hops used. On sampling I’m taken to beer heaven again – twice in one sitting, brilliant! The beer starts off with the citrus aromas, but these change to bright zingy flavours on your palate. The amber nectar then develops into a sweet fresh pine taste, before turning into big resin flavours. The resin gives a great bitterness and if this is what you strive for in a beer then you need to get your hands on this. A gentle warmth, reminding you that this beer nearly hits 7% ABV, washes through at the end.
‘Jet Trash’ reminds me of ‘Sixpoint Resin’, which again has those hard-hitting resin notes. It is also similar to ‘Gandolf’, one of the draught beers that I frequently enjoy from The Sub.
Rating: 4.0/5. ‘Jet Trash’ was another winner. I’m in utter joy – two standout cans that I would be happy to fill a growler with. That’s the true sign of a good beer to me.
Mandatory “Nebula” Beer Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.75 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 10%
- IBU: 70
- Style: Imperial Stout
- Tagline: Russian Imperial Stout
- Descriptive comment: A wonder of the craft beer universe
As many of you may know, stouts aren’t my typical beer. All you need to do is look at my reviewed beer list, which is stacked heavily in favour of IPAs and pale ales. Nonetheless, it was time to give this beer a chance. Due to my hesitance regarding sampling this stout (well more my eagerness of the other two beers!) it was my last of the three beers within my first Fanzine box.
If nothing else, the purple design on the can looked gorgeous. I whipped the top open and poured the beer into a 2/3 sized pint glass (which happily is the right size for a 330ml can!). Firstly, I couldn’t believe how dark this beer was. It also appeared to have quite a thick consistency upon pouring this jet-black liquid. On top of this beer was a medium deep brown head, which settled over the space of a minute, leaving hardly any trace on the glass. Okay, procrastination aside, it was time to finally sample the beer. It smelt bittersweet – like dark chocolate. On drinking it was velvety smooth, far silkier than an IPA. Not only this, but it had a surprising sweetness to it – chocolate galore and very syrupy. Alongside this came an aftertaste of bitterness and a touch of coffee (which usually is not to my taste). Whilst drinking, the strength really came through, which made me have to take my time whilst sampling. I could only drink it sips at a time, though by the time I reached halfway, I was really starting to enjoy each mouthful! This is a very big beer.
Rating: 2.75/5. ‘Nebula’ has space connotations and I could imagine a stout-lover saying “this is out of this world”. I don’t think that this is the case for me, but personally it has CHANGED my world, in terms of the way I look at stouts – and I would have to say, that’s even more impressive
Overall, issue one of Fanzine has been a success. A feature that I really like about this subscription is the fact that “old hits” that are no longer in production will be limited showcases again, new experimental beers will be tried and tested, and polls will be undertaken to determine if some of these beers should be continued as regulars on BrewDog’s menu. Consider it like a year-round prototype challenge! Not only this, but the beers are also readily available at time of release in your local BrewDog venue. This means:
- You don’t necessarily need to commit to the subscription and you can have the beers your palate desires on an ad-hoc basis (though it is cheaper to buy via subscription)
- For those truly kick-ass beers, there is time to get it in a growler to enjoy it for longer. I’m sure I’m going to be doing this every so often.
Box Rating: 3.58/5
PS already looking forward to the next delivery
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