Rave About: BrewDog

brewdogIf you read yesterday’s post where I ranted about Kickstarter you’d be forgiven for thinking I was against the whole crowdfunding idea. I’m not. I think there are great projects around that really embrace the concept of crowdfunding.

Sellaband was one such project although I did get stung there by investing in an unsigned UK-based, American fronted band that was great live. unfortunately the lead singer got deported back to the US for working illegally and I was left with 90 CD’s to try to sell to a public who would never be able to see them live in the UK.

I digress, as you’ll have noticed from the title it’s BrewDog I’m here to rave about, not Sellaband. If you are a beer drinker you’ll no doubt be familiar with the name of the Scottish brewery who kicked off, some would say, the mass production of craft/micro brewing in the UK.

If you’re a Daily Mail reader who took a wrong turning at the lights and stumbled across this post you’ll probably recognize the name as belonging to the company who make beer stronger than the gin you have before dinner that may or may not be responsible for Cancer.

BrewDog have embraced crowdfunding, not by offering backers a few bottles of beer in return for their money but rather they’ve taken inspiration from Victor Kiam (in a way) and have offered backers shares in the company. They call it Equity for Punks but you’ll often see it referred to as EFP.

EFP was first launched in 2010 and there have been 3 incarnations, referred to as EFP I, EFP II and EFP III. Having decided I really liked the beers they were making I bought a few shares and suddenly found I was part of the BrewDog family.

As well as owning my shares which I can sell in the future if I want, presumably for a profit, I get access to an online forum of fellow investors, a discount for life at their online store as well as a discount at any BrewDog bar when I show my EFP card. I’m waiting for my EFP card to arrive so in the meantime I just wave my share certificate at bar staff, looking exactly like the twat you’d expect to see waving a share certificate in order to get money off the round.

However it doesn’t stop there. As an investor I get notified ahead of the public on new brews before general release as well as the opportunity to partake in special EFP only events and that’s one of the things that inspired this Rave About post. A few months back I got an email offering me the opportunity to attend a Beer School session with 3 friends.

It was billed as an hour-long beer tasting tutorial and I chose to have mine at my local, the BrewDog at Shoreditch which also boasts a beer cocktail bar downstairs (it is Shoreditch after all!) There were only 3 of us as the 4th had managed to fracture his elbows falling over a suitcase being wheeled along by a slow tourist. He assures us he was sober at the time.

We arrived and met our tutor, the very personable and knowledgeable Tida (also a talented artist), who guided us through a varying selection of beers, some of which I know I wouldn’t have tried myself due to a pre-conceived notion of what they’d be like. We must have sampled at least 8 or 9 beers and not one of them was bad.

I blame the staff special, referred to as the RipCore (a mix of Riptide and Hardcore IPA), for the doubt as to how many we tried. My goodness it was delicious and made me reconsider working in bars again, it was that good!

Tida spent 2 hours with us giving us a potted history of the company before we started sampling, with each beer she explained the characteristics and ingredients as well as the techniques used for each one.

We discovered for instance that the sour beers, like Blitz! Cherry, are produced almost in quarantine, in a separate brewery so that the bacteria that makes the beer sour doesn’t sneak into any of the other beers. Fear not, the bacteria is Lactobacillus Acidophilus used to make yoghurt. See, beer is good for you!

One thing that was apparent, not only from Tida but from all the staff I’ve encountered in the various BrewDog bars I’ve been in is their love of beer, the beers they sell and their friendliness towards the people who drink them, EFP members or not.

Tida answered all our questions and we had some interesting chats on cask vs craft ale, if glass shape really made a difference to the taste of a beer (of course it does), whether canned beer was better than bottled beer (we decided canned beer only if served from a glass but I opted for bottled if the option was a plastic glass) and what beers could be used as shots in drinking games.

You may wonder why I’m telling you about this incredible tasting session when it’s only open to EFP members. Well, one of the things I was interested to know about was food matching and Tida revealed that they often run beer and cheese pairing sessions which could be booked via Groupon. I would certainly encourage anyone who likes beer and cheese to avail yourself of one of these sessions as you are almost certain to be guaranteed a great evening of good beer, good cheese and the company of a knowledgeable tutor who is keen to share what they know with you.

The deal isn’t always running but here is the Groupon link, there’s an option there to be notified when it next comes around. Failing that I’m sure if you contacted your local bar they’ll be able to advise you whether they have something similar available.

Have you been to a BrewDog bar? What did you think? How do you feel about the craft beer revolution? Are you a diehard CAMRA real ale drinker or are you more inclined to side with CAMRGB? As always, comment below if you so desire.

For me, I like what my taste buds tell me they like be it real ale or craft but hey, I’m not averse to mixing Punk IPA with cider and calling it a bite du snake so what do I know about tradition or taste?

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