Which brewery would launch their new beer in a tiny bar cum art gallery in Bethnal Green Road where the bottles of beer are served via a bin of ice from a dimly lit patio and then drunk in a small basement surrounded by freaky pictures of sheep/human clones ?
It could only be those friendly punks from Brewdog - Aberdeenshire's mega microbrewery who formally launched their dark lager, Zeitgeist, last night.
The beer is packaged in 330ml bottles, 30l disposable kegs or 9g plastic firkins.
The bottle labels are simple and concise allowing the artwork to be the main feature. The sheep/human clones feature prominently with the tagline "we do not merely aspire to the proclaimed heady heights of conformity through neutrality and blandness".
This is all good, edgy, fresh, modern stuff but what about the beer ? It is a 4.9% dark lager in the style of some of the greatest dark Czech beers. Light and easy drinking, it has a mellow roasted flavour with chocolate and coffee notes. The pleasant surprise is the fruity twist on the finish which comes from using Cascade hops rather than the more traditional Saaz.
The first couple of beers were chilled to death having been "in the bucket" all day but were necked down easily and were most enjoyable. This is the quaffing beer for the yoof. Once the frozen stuff was exhausted the next beers were served at cellar (well, garden) temperature and were just as nice with the roast flavours and the hop character more prominent. Opinions among the very eclectic crowd were mixed as to preferences between the chilled and slightly warmer styles but one view was common - beer is good.
The beer was interesting enough to seek out again. I would be particularly interested in the cask version as it has the potential to be excellent. A comparison between cask and keg of the same beer would also be a worthy afternoon.
On my way out, I slipped a bottle into my inside pocket to bring to the video blog. Somehow, I think those friendly punks would approve. I think Zeitgeist is actually the German word for stolen beer.