Going to BrewDog to brew a beer for your stag do is a pretty cool thing; for most mere mortals, it's just a pipedream, but Matt Gorecki (of North fame) managed to land such a day for his own celebration. The result? Alice Porter, which I managed to sample on Monday.
The idea could have gone so terribly, terribly wrong; but full credit to Matt, James and Martin for creating an undeniably lovely beer. At 6.2%, Alice Porter is no slouch - but you wouldn't guess the abv from the taste alone. Pitch black with a tan head, the beer is massively smooth, with a cream-vanilla note riding through it.
It's got a really well-rounded fruitiness (courtesy of the Brambling Cross hops - a much underrated hop in my opinion) to finish things off, and the aroma is sweet, with just a touch of smoke and wood. A really, really drinkable porter, and if there's any left at North now, I'll be surprised. Jump here to read Matt's account of the day - and what HopZine Rob thought of the beer here.
North had another treat for me on Monday - 5Am Saint on Keg. Since trying Saint a few months back, it's firmly leapfrogged up the list to (at the moment) my favourite BD beer. It's the nose - the tropical-fruit, lychee-led nose that lasts and lasts and lasts and lasts...whenever I crack one of these open at home I spend as much time with my nose in the glass as I do pouring the stuff down my throat. Once you get past the aroma, there's a well-balanced Amber ale there; a slight hint of smoke again, and plenty of chewy toffee, but not too sweet. Things finish off with a wonderful, rising, sappy bitterness. Awesome beer - one of the best of the year for me.