O.K – so I went there again; I purchased another beer brewed in partnership with Tesco. (A major UK Supermarket for the benefit of our American and Canadian friends).
Risky business? maybe – and after my last experience with the so-called “Metropolitan Brewing Company” you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d lost my marbles. Fortunately, though, Tesco’s Finest Double IPA is an altogether more honest and transparent affair.
This “Tesco’s Finest” beer, is, in fact, brewed by renowned boundary pushing Scottish brewers, Brew Dog, with their unmistakable and distinctive logo proudly displayed on the front label – no sly, sub-brand plastic micro outfits here!
Brew Dog require little or no introduction, as their alternative styling, general disregard for the brewing establishment, and boundary-pushing approach to beer has earned them a great deal of respect on both sides of the Atlantic.
They are widely known for brewing some of the strongest beers on the planet; the most recent experiment – aptly titled “The End of History” – held the number one spot for highest ABV (55%) until previous title holders, German based Schorschbräu reclaimed the throne (57%).
Insanely, the competition didn’t end there, with the new strongest beer currently weighing in at a whopping 67.5%! – the brewer is another Scottish outfit named Brewmeister, if you’re curious.
Other – arguably more productive – Brew Dog pursuits include an American documentary series named Brew Dogs, a range of Craft Beer bars now open across a number major UK cities, and my favorite – an impressively successful crowdfunding scheme (Equity for Punks), which enables fans to own a piece of the brewery, plus other benefits. All in all, they are both impressive in their entrepreneurial ambition and brewing prowess.
Now on to the beer…
Tesco Finest Double American IPA Reviewed
Aroma: Intense, intoxicating hop aroma, you can smell this beer from inches away as it oozes out of the glass. The bouquet is of resiny pine, citrus and grapefruit up close and more floral from a distance – like a forest in bloom at Spring.
Taste: Moving on to the tasting: a rich caramel sweetness upfront quickly turns to strong orange marmalade – providing the perfect balance of sweet malt and hop bitterness.
Carbonation is gentle with a medium mouthfeel and long, lingering bitter finish.
Surprisingly, despite the high imperial strength (9.2%) the alcohol is not overpowering – this is an intense, hop-forward beer, with impressive balance. The overall unified taste bears a slight resemblance to orange liquor – making this beer a real treat to be sipped slowly, or enjoyed with food – I’d suggest strong English cheddar.
Is this just Brew Dog’s Hardcore IPA re-badged?
Here’s a thought for you…
When I first picked this bottle up, I initially suspected it was merely a re-badged version of Brew Dog’s Hardcore IPA, but a little research revealed this may not be the case. Rumour has it the Tesco version uses a completely different set of hop varieties.
Then again, further Googling showed the exact opposite, with beer App producers, Perfect Pint listing the beer as “Hardcore IPA bottled for Tesco”. Personally, given that the two beers share the same ABV (9.2%) and style name, I can’t see this being the case – but perhaps some readers can shed more light on this?
Amazing, intoxicating aroma; I’m allured to drink more with every nose of the glass!
Clarity over the beers recipe would help clear up the Hardcore IPA re-badging suspicion.
Time of Year
Long summer evenings or dark winter night; the alcohol strength – combined with citrus fruit aroma makes the beer truly suitable for either occasion.