Fanzine. The Top Tenth

For what happened last time round – Fanzine, the ninth edition

Thinking about Fanzine to date, I’d probably assume that there had only been five or six boxes, but upon starting to write this box review, I realised Fanzine has officially hit double figures!

All 330mls, the third set of Fanzine beers are as follows:

  • Choco Libre
  • Coin-op Kaiser
  • Heist Monkey


Mandatory ‘Choco Libre’ Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.83 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • IBU: 25
  • Style: Stout
  • Tagline: Nitro Mexican Chocolate Stout
  • Descriptive Comment: The El Santo of Imperial Stouts

A pink nitro can, with a portion of the exterior dedicated to the Calavera: the skulls look the same from a distance, but closer inspection reveals several different designs! For those that haven’t had a nitro can before, there is a brief tutorial on the side of the can showing exactly how its contents should be poured. Be brave – give it a shot if you dare!

Here’s the can tutorial on how to Nitro Pour:


I, however wasn’t brave enough to test the nitro pour – as I only have one can! It poured a thick jet-black colour, hardly surprising, with a modest mocha foam head that looked rich and luxurious. Aromas were of bitter malts. Taste actually wasn’t the first thing I noticed, as the initial stand-out was the texture. It was beyond silky and the foam head was creamy, light and airy! Then the deep, rich flavours began to flood through, with coffee being the first flavour I could pick out. Following this, chocolate tastes subtly came through, which mixed with a mild sweetness, which I can only assume was from the vanilla additives. At the end of a big drink, the back of the throat was moderately warmed – this was not from an ABV, but from a habanero kick, which was awesome! Despite the intense darkness, this beer wasn’t overwhelmingly bitter and weighed in at a surprisingly mild 25 IBU.


Diagnosis: 4.0/5. “Choco Libre” makes me really pleased that my palate has grown to enjoy stouts. This has a great mix of texture, flavour and the added surprise of the chilli!


Mandatory ‘Coin-Op Kaiser’ Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.39 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • IBU: 40
  • Style: Pilsner
  • Tagline: Fry-Hopped Imperial Pils
  • Descriptive Comment: Always accept the side quest

From the darkest possible beer to quite possibly one of the lightest beers I’ve ever sampled. This beer is literally the polar opposite of “Choco Libre”. That’s what Fanzine beers are about – a wide variety in a little box! This purple can poured a transparent straw-yellow beer, with a huge amount of carbonation. A bright white foam head was formed, scattered with a few air bubbles. The beer gave off big floral aromas, very typical of a pilsner, with a slight funky note. Over the last year, my desire for lagers and pilsners has subsided, because I have found the lack of complexity boring. I’d only choose to drink them in a beer garden on a hot day. This beer changed things: the floral flavours came through without adding too much perfume. This flavour combined with the light and crisp notes typical of a pilsner and began to cleanse the palate. Just as I thought this wonderfully light beer was leaving my palate, a sweetness came over my taste buds as if to say “tasting complete”.


Diagnosis: 3.75/5. “Coin-Op Kaiser” may not hit the highs of some NEIPAs or other varieties I enjoy, but compared to other pilsners, this blows them out of the water. I’d grab a growler of this and take it home to drink alongside a board game in the back garden in the sun.


Mandatory ‘Heist Monkey’ Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.63 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 5.4%
  • IBU: 45
  • Style: APA
  • Tagline: American Pale Ale
  • Descriptive comment: Stick it to the man

“Heist Monkey”. What a bizarre name for a beer! This green can poured a semi-transparent straw coloured beer. A slim white foam head sat on top of a medium amount of carbonation. Aromas were quite light initially, with a sweet citrus element developing upon a larger inhale. The beer was dry-hopped to the max, incorporating Citra, Mandarina and Centennial hops, with the inclusion of the dry-hopping process really enhancing the scents coming from this beer. Upon tasting, the smooth and light beer had more of a savoury feel to it than I had expected. Combined with these savoury notes was a substantial floral taste, giving an overall dry flavour of pine.


Diagnosis: 3.25/5. “Monkey Heist” is undeniably the least impressive beer of this Fanzine box. Arguably though, it is very easy drinking, as the savouriness cleanses the palate and prevents subsequent mouthfuls becoming overwhelming.


Box Rating: 3.67/5

Fanzine Rating to Date: 3.41/5


Do you want to join the Fanzine experience AND want a £10 voucher for the BrewDog website? The sign up to Fanzine via the link below, select referred by a friend, and use “Dr Beer” in the referral section! The associated email is:

Subscribe to Fanzine


For more Fanzine stories, hit here to see the complete journey to date.


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