Brew Dog The Physics (660 ml bottle, 5.0%)--yes, decidedly tame and amber, carries hallmarks of Scottish beer, namely the emphasis on malt, a lovely sweet/caramel body without being cloying...... some nice noble hops lurking there, but a well-balanced beer....
Brew Dog Punk IPA (660 ml bottle, 6.0%)--light, almost pils color, better head retention than most, minimal nose.... rich straw flavor, rather dry and bitter--oh, hell, let me quote the bottle label:
This is not a lowest common denominator beer.
We don't care if you don't like it.
We do not merely aspire to the proclaimed heady heights of conformity through neutrality and blandness.
This beer is in no way mainstream or commercial, it is proud to be the alternative.
It goes on for three more paragraphs in such a vein, like Groundskeeper Willie on a bender and a rant. As for the beer: Proof that a golden beer can be nicely hoppy and chewy, even bitter, without being pedestrian. The "straw" character--grassy, almost a bit "cabbagey"--would turn some folks off, but I can see a place for this beer on a hot summer day, preferably at sundown. My friend characterizes the hops as "obviously American--Cascade, Amarillo....."
Brew Dog Paradox Islay (330ml bottle, 10%, split with friend in snifters): black, low head retention, nose as charred as a mesquite charcoal pit! Flavour (note the British spelling, thanks): cross an aggressive rauchbier with a rich imperial stout (I'm thinking Stone or Dogfish). Many folks would compare this to licking a cigar ashtray. Not that I would know. Impact-wise, you HAVE to be in the right frame of mind to drink these beers--it's not like a JW Lees Harvest, which will swiftly PUT you in the mood. This much smoke should not have survived in the wood, should it?
Brew Dog Paradox Speyside (330ml bottle, 10%, split in wine glass): equally black, low HR, in contrast a rich, sherried, barleywine nose. Now THIS is what folks should expect: HUGE all around. Rich, almost buttery, lots of toffee... rich as honey, considerably "over the top"..... order this when you want to recreate the infamous scene from "When Harry Met Sally"....... "I'll have what she's having...."
We passed around my order of the only (draft) beer I thought could stand up to these monsters: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy: Ka-boom, ka-boom...... yadda dadda dadda daddy ka-boom, ka-boom....... Enormous, huge.......
And finally (I PRAY)....... Harviestoun Ola Dubh 30-Year (8.0%): compzared to the other "features" of the night, considerably more subdued--but that probably works in its favour. Big character, well rounded, but just a bit less spectacular that the above beers...... all this really says is what a wretched embarrassment of riches I'm surrounded by, rather than any negatives about the beer itself.....
And my friend (who shall remain unnamed) quaffs the JW Lees Harvest on cask: He compares it (quite rightly, I think) to an over-the-top clover mead. "Though I never met a clover mead with a one-minute finish..."