Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Drinking Tactical Nuclear Penguin

Looking at the picture to the right you'd think I'm sporting a shit eating grin. Well, I am.

After work today a couple of people met up at beerbistro to have a little pre-Christmas tasting that included three outstanding beers: Mikkeller It's Alive, Meantime London Porter, and the show stopper - Tactical Nuclear Penguin from Scotland's BrewDog brewery. The Roland and Russell import agency represent each brewery mentioned and they graciously shared some of their 'taster' bottles with a handful of some lucky people.

There has been a lot of hype and a lot of press around BrewDog's newest offering from beer writers and tickers around the world. It seems that everyone has chimed in after James Watt and Martin Dickie released their video, showing the world, via their website, how they came up with the 32% beer and there I was today, sitting in one of the best beer bars in the world sipping a generous sample of the beer.

Let me start off by saying that I've had the opportunity to taste the Sam Adams 2007 version of their Utopias. I did so last January at Cole's Rare Beer Fest, and quite enjoyed my small sample, so going into the tasting I had visions of that night in Buffalo. The Tactical Nuclear Penguin was much nicer, in my opinion, than the Utopias, and everyone at the table shared similar feelings.

The pour produced a rusty dark brown with some reddish hues shining through the bottom and didn't come with any head, appearing almost cask like. After reading the short story on the bottle the glass was lifted to my nose and a whirlwind of aroma's leaped from the glass and smacked me upside the head. Booze, peat smoked moss, soaked raisins, chocolate, roasted coffee beans, licorice, and a hint of smoky vanilla were all hanging out with each other. A long inhale led to a lingering burning sensation at the back of the nose and lasted up to the first sip. Whoa!

Oily/silky medium to full bodied, the Penguin numbed my gums on the first sip while offering notes of smoked bacon bits, burnt caramel, chocolate, burnt coffee, and earthy wooden touches from the barrels the beer was aged in before undergoing its freezing. It wasn't cloying, something I was afraid it would be, and the lingering aftertaste was fantastic while the heat it produced was nice and nowhere near overbearing.

The 32% was surprising well hidden (well, not really, but hidden well enough to throw off the high abv) and I found myself continuing to reach for the glass shortly after setting it down. It wouldn't be far off to say that I'd find myself finishing an entire bottle throughout the course of the night, but it'd be better to share.

Its availability in Ontario consisted of the three empty bottles sitting before us on our table, but there are talks of a dinner taking place this spring that might provide people in attendance with the chance to try it.

LCBO, if you're reading, contact Roland and Russell and inquire about this beer. Maybe a Vintage release? If you'll bring in a $450 bottle of scotch, you can bring in cases of this for beer lovers can't you?

*Please note that none of the above beers are currently available at beerbistro*


Jeremy said...

Nice to finally hear some feedback about what the beer actually tastes like!

Alan said...

And to think it all started with Blue.

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