One Salty (brew)Dog

Apologies for the phone photo. My camera is packed away.

Apologies for the phone photo. My camera is packed away.

I’m cracking open another from my precious stash.  This time it’s one I’ve been saving for a good long while.  This beer has the most beautiful label I have ever seen. The illustration, devoid of text save “Atlantic Pale Ale: Product of Scotland” is by Johanna Basford.  It seems she has already done a tattoo project but this label would make the perfect sleeve!

label by Johanna Basford

label by Johanna Basford

I’ve been on the Atlantic a few times. My hair whipping about me while riding the wild swells: those were times in my life when I was perfectly happy.  That sea, the “pond” I cross between two homes*, has taken on a poetic solidity in my imagination.

And just so with this beer. This baby has a dense, velvety head.  The deep orange colour is alive with sea-monkey effervescence.  This is one pretty beer. The nose is full of roasted malt and kelp.  The first sip you get that tickling from the head which is staying put, crowning the beer to the last and tracing the sides of the glass like maps of archipelagos yet to be discovered.  There’s an upfront earthy malt which quickly sours as the hops take over.  I don’t sense any fragrance from the hops, just an intense, side-of-the-mouth bitterness with a hint of white pepper. As I keep drinking the fruits come out, but they are dried, salted- apricot and umeboshi. The whole thing finishes with ghost-toast rounding it out.

BrewDog have done it again– in the dazzle camoflage of their stunt-mindedness there’s joyful lyricism, or maybe that’s just me, waxing in the buzz.  No matter, these guys make beer that feels like a gift.

You’ve got to feel for that little barrel strapped to the bow of the ship– a beery figurehead!

*By plane of course.

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16 Responses

  1. I loved this beer when I was lucky enough to try it. It was unlabelled at the time, which is almost a shame, as it’s a beautiful piece of work.

    • Thanks for the link, Barry. I love how James will just squirrel away a bottle of something amazing in a shipment! Your tasting notes are spot on, especially with the mouth feel. Such a complex yet easy-to-drink beer. As I was nearing the end I got sad…I only had the one!

      • Ehh, that looks like I was trying to pimp my blog now, soz 😀

        But I’m glad to see you had a similar experience (Mmmm, toast)! White pepper and salt? I gotta get another bottle!

        • Your blog is awesome, Barry. Everyone should know about it if they don’t already. Are there still bottles available on the Brew Dog site? I have to check…but can’t order anything until I move!

          • Oh stop now… 🙂

            Seems to be still available on the site! Didn’t realise they were 10 quid. How many bottles were produced? There can’t have been that many I guess…

            • Ok, I might have to get more of the stuff. If there were only 8? barrels I don’t know how many bottles that makes. Not many I would imagine!

  2. Now *that’s* how you describe beer 🙂 when a beer is more than just a beer it takes a description that is more than just a description. Wonderful (even if I didn’t like the beer… sssh…!).

    • Thanks, Mark– did you review the beer? I must have missed it? Or did you keep your dislike secret?

      • I gave it a couple of lines, hidden away in another post! hehe! I should try it again though and I’d like to; I shared mine in a pub garden with a few others so it was outside of my normal tasting arena so the other factors have have played an important part.

        I love the label too. I want a sleeve tattoo and when I can afford it I will be emailing Johanna!

        • Sometimes tasting beer it’s all about context. I’ve had some beers I really disliked in another setting and they’ve been great. So mysterious! If you find a good tattooist around these parts, let me know. I wonder if Johanna does tattoo design commissions?

          • She does do them, she’s written a few posts on her blog. You should check them out. She doesn’t charge for designs but you have to let her have photos when it’s done!

  3. I looked for this beer all over town…unfortunately, it appears I’ll have to trade for some.

    I have to say…I think that label is utterly amazing. I am a sucker for label art.

  4. Are you all right, Impy? You’ve gone very quiet.

    • Hi Rednev…thanks for checking in! I’m just at the tail end of a very intensive course which should be finished in a few weeks…I will have time to post and read blogs again very soon. I have been missing you all!

  5. Get off the pecker and write some beer reviews, lady.

    • nag nag nag

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