In a recent AGM announcement made in April, Brewdog outed their latest beer subscription package called Fanzine.
Fanzine is a fortnightly subscription that can be signed up to and cancelled at any time for the price of £11 including delivery for mainland UK.
The subscription includes 3 exclusive beers every fortnight that would break all the rules and offer up more experimental and cutting-edge beers that would develop and change over the course of the subscription.
The idea is that subscribers can offer up feedback which can help to develop the brews and make them something special.
It is also planned that occasionally there will be some small batch returns of old Brewdog favourites too.
I was interested in checking the package out and signed up instantly to see what it was all about.
There were a few issues in the beginning in that after paying for the subscription, there was no notification to say they had been shipped.
In fact, the first Fanzine arrived the day before my second £11 subscription payment was due.
A little communication goes a long way.
The three cans come packaged in a neat little box to keep them snug and comfortable along with a little slip that describes the beer and the ingredients used.
The cans themselves have a slightly different look to the traditional Brewdog Cans with their gunmetal grey colour.
A label affixed to the can finishes the look.
The first can that I tried from issue 1 is called Nebula – A Russian Imperial Stout that comes in at 10% ABV.
Described by Brewdog as containing Vietnamese coffee to add fruity espresso notes.
It has also been loaded to the nines with brown, chocolate, pale and crystal malts along with chocolate wheat & rolled oats.
Cascade hops are added to the kettle and brown Sugar & Honey finish things up.
I love me a good Imperial Stout so I was looking forward to this gem.
Russian Imperial Stout • 10 % ABV • Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
|Appearance||Nebula pours rich, umptious and black as you like.
Completely opaque, despite trying as I might to shine a light through it.
Produces a light brown head which lasts for around 30 or so seconds before settling to the edge of the glass on the surface.
|Aroma||All about the malts with the dark roast malts kicking things off with elements of coffee, moving swiftly to smooth and sweet cocoa and really subtle dark fruit esters tucked in at the back – Almost savoury.
With a little spinning of the glass I was able to make out some herbal and fruity notes that really reminded of that Vosene shampoo
This could well be the roast malts mixing with the citrus\floral notes of the cascade or the boozy and fruity esters.
|Flavour||a complex blend of the roasted malts gives coffee grounds along with a smooth chocolate flavour.
A fairly strong syrupy sweetness takes control and mellows out to a little licorice spiciness and subtle berry fruits right at the back.
Almost goes hand in hand with the aroma though I haven’t tasted Vosene yet – The jury is out on that one.
|Mouthfeel||Low carbonation but smooth and rich body which does offer some chewiness and a really pleasant warmth on the way down and around the lips.
There is plenty of bitterness, but this doesn’t overtake the other elements of the beer.
|Overall||Not the heaviest Russian Imperial Stout that I’ve had, but it ticks the boxes when it comes to big, complex flavours and aromas then comes at you with the rather unusual herbal\fruity elements at the end.
A good start to the new #fanzine collection but not one that I would say blows my mind or expectations.
The next can in the collection looks like an interesting one.
Brewdog mention that Zephyr – Citrus Tart Edition leads with an acidity up front along with juicy, tangy, fruity notes.
A light bready base from the pale malts and wheat adds biscuit and pie crust.
Fruity additions of lime, tangerine and blood orange work with the Perle hops to bring the whole thing together.
Zephyr • 4.6 % ABV • V1 – Citrus Tart Edition
|Appearance||Light golden in colour and perfectly clear producing a small white foamy head which had fairly good retention power|
|Aroma||At the forefront, you get the pithy citrus of lemon and white grapefruit along with a subtle sour\acidic note towards the back.
There also seems to be an overriding savory note that really reminds me of freshly sliced cucumber.
|Flavour||Things kicks off with the sharp citrus flavours of subtle grapefruit and lemon paired with the sharper acidic elements.
Things moves into a sweeter and more wholesome bread\caramel malts insinuate the crumb of a citrus tart.
No bitterness at all but a sourness that sits on the back of the tongue.
|Mouthfeel||Medium to light body with a medium level of carbonation which get the tongue buzzing whilst zesty notes zing the cheeks and the back of your tongue.
A fresh and uplifting beer.
|Overall||This is the reason for signing up to fanzine, to try things that are a little bit different. Not sure if it will be to everyone’s taste but it has promise as a 1st version.
This certainly sums up a form of Citrus tart starting with the fresh citrus fruit and ending with the sweeter and more bready malts.
Last up in the collection is a West Coast IPA which is loaded to high hell with hops.
All the C’s with Citra, Cascade, Chinook, Columbus and Centennial.
Also included are Mosaic and Simcoe.
A toasty malt based is introduced with the use of pale malts, Munich, dextrin and cara-red.
Jet Trash • 6.9 % ABV • V1 – West Coast IPA
|Appearance||Deep gold in colour with a little haze likely from the dry hopping and produces a foamy off white head which stays around for longer than the other two and is more prominent.|
|Aroma||Being an IPA, the aroma is full on hops of citrus, grapefruit and orange. Sticking mainly with the more citrus spectrum.
There is a very subtle graininess right at the back and a little caramel that comes through at the retronazal.
Overall, clean fresh and vibrant.
|Flavour||The flavour throws bags and bags of citrus and pine hops at you. Packed with orange, mango and lemon.
Moves onto caramel and toasted malts and leaves you with a punchy bitterness that lasts and lasts.
|Mouthfeel||Medium to light body high carbonation that creates lots of foam in mouth leading to a chewiness in the body.
The high bitterness sits on the tongue for ages after swallowing and leaves some astringency
|Overall||A powerful and punch West Coast IPA with the energy that comes from the hops and the more subtle malts.
Clean, crisp and powerful with a powerful bitterness at the end. It’s a lovely beer but like the Russian Imperial Stout, it doesn’t feel edgy or like it has anything new to offer.
All in all, they were really pleasant beers but only one of them showed any real edge and experimental ability.
The West Coast IPA was loaded with hops but was still at its heart an IPA whilst the Russian Imperial Stout wasn’t the most exciting example that I’ve tried.
My wife and I were in agreement that Zephyr summed up my expectations for this triplet of beers with the unusual blend malts, hops and actual fruits – It really did take you on a journey through the flavours of a citrus pie.
I’ve got one more issue coming pretty soon, but will likely give the rest of these a miss so that I can pick and choose the ones that I know will offer guaranteed excitement!
If you have had an opportunity to try a can from the Fanzine range then visit @hop_pilot and let me know what you thought.