Fanzine the Fifthteenth

Happy Hallowe’en! Last year I was drinking an eclectic spooktacular selection; this year I’m drinking BrewDog.

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

BrewDog has changed up its Fanzine frequency – it’s going to be on a monthly basis from now on. Issue 15 arrived on 31/10/2018 and much to my delight, the box had a Hallowe’en twist to it.

All 330mls, the latest set of Fanzine beers were as follows:

  • Red & Dead
  • Vermont Vampire
  • Zombie Cake

Was this box going to be full of tricks or treats?

Mandatory “Red & Dead” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.76 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • IBU: 65
  • Style: IPA
  • Tagline: Imperial Red IPA
  • Descriptive Comment: Imperialism sees red

Following the success of the “red” beer in the last fanzine issue, I was eager to try this. On the label, the “A” featured a tombstone, showcasing the Hallowe’en theme. On a dark background this beer appeared incredibly deep red, almost losing the true colour. Against the light though, it poured a transparent ruby red, with a slight white foam head. It had a fruity, berry aroma with a hint of sweetness. The beer was silky smooth, with minimal carbonation. It was juicy, rich in berry flavours and mixed with caramelly malt biscuit notes. Despite it being 8% ABV, the bitterness dominated more than alcohol.

Red & Dead

Diagnosis: 4.25/5. “Red & Dead” is another great red brew. Juicy, rich with a complex flavour profile: certainly a treat for me this Hallowe’en!


Mandatory “Vermont Vampire” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.77 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 7.3%
  • IBU: 40
  • Style: NEIPA
  • Tagline: Black New England IPA
  • Descriptive Comment: Get your fangs round this

BrewDog have certainly made the most of this Hallowe’en themed box; on this pink can the “T” of its title is featured as a cross, portrayed in old-school horror movies as a weapon to kill vampires. I like the alliteration of the V’s and the incorporation of the location name Vermont, home of the NEIPA. This is my first black NEIPA, so I was intrigued! It was deep black, and I could just make out the hazy appearance that is characteristic of this style of beer. The head was creamy and luxuriously thick. Aromas were typical for a NEIPA, just less intense. Upon sampling I got a hint of the typical stone fruit, but this rapidly faded away. It was overly bitter, with no relieving sweetness or tartness, leaving me just a little underwhelmed.


Diagnosis: 2.75/5. “Vermont Vampire” was the one out of the whole box that I expected to be a big treat: it turned out to be a little trick!

I couldn’t resist this photo! Is he the Vermont Vampire?


Mandatory “Zombie Cake” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.72 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • IBU: 25
  • Style: Porter
  • Tagline: Praline Chocolate Porter
  • Descriptive Comment: A Bake Off for the living dead

I am eternal grateful to the Fanzine subscription for developing my taste buds with respect to darker beers. I remember my first box: I feared drinking a 10% stout, but now the thought of porters and similar varieties no longer fill me with dread! As with the other beers from this selection, the graphic had a spooky twist, with a hand of the “undead” featuring within the title. The neon green can produced a dark black brew, with a contrasting bright white medium-sized foam head. On the nose the main aroma was unsurprisingly chocolate. The beer was light in texture, with little carbonation. It predominantly tasted of chocolate initially, but this then faded into a bitter middle tasting, followed through by a praline finish. When sampling dark beers I typically expect a deep bitter finish; however, on this occasion the praline lifted this, sweetening the final notes and allowing the alcohol warmth to build upon each sip.


Diagnosis: 3.75/5. “Zombie Cake” is a classic ‘dessert’ beer due to the abundance of sweetness and chocolate that come through. It’s deep, slightly boozy notes are great and would round-off an evening delightfully. I can appreciate that this may be a bit too sweet for some and it could benefit from being a little thicker in texture.

Box Rating: 3.58/5

Fanzine Rating to Date: 3.45/5


Do you want to join the Fanzine experience AND want a £10 voucher for the BrewDog website? The sign up to 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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