Two days in a row around here is like getting a hurricane after a drought. But, as a drought is a dry state, that doesn’t fit the climate in my house right now. No, after the Happy Birthday spending spree at The Wooden Keg, my area (and my brain) are quite wet. It be rainin’ beers, is what I’m saying! Also, I drink. Um…what? Whatever. Stop hassling me.
So, in my unfaltering pursuit to bring you all the beer reviews and culinary abortions possible, I’ll be reviewing all of them. I’ll probably take a break in the middle of it and post about something else, so the whole front page of the site isn’t swamped with nothing but beer reviews. But, who knows? I might not show up again for a couple months, and anyone who doesn’t like it can gobble taint.
Today we’re being invaded by Scots. Both Brewdog’s Storm and Orkney’s SKULLSPLITTER (caps are mine, but c’mon, look at that fucking name. you have to cap that.) hail from the land of kilts and William Wallace.
I’ve tried some Scottish beers before, and for the most part was unimpressed, but that’s like someone from Ireland claiming they don’t like American beers when all they’ve ever tried is Budweiser and Coors. So, let’s give them a shot, shall we? And remember, they can take our beers, but…No. No, they can’t take our beers.
Brewdog is fucking crazy. Let’s just get that out of the way up front. If you don’t remember the name, let me remind you of this:
Yep, they’re responsible for that. That’s End Of The World, a %55 ABV more-than-beer that comes wrapped in taxidermied, optionally dressed animals. A six pack of that will run you about $700. I’ve been eyeballing bottles of their Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink The Bismark ($80 and $100, respectively), and have not yet been able to justify he purchase. So, when I saw a bottle of this for $6, I saw it as a good opportunity to try a Brewdog beer.
Storm is an IPA that is made with New Zealand hops and aged in a Scottish islet whiskey cask. Say what? Yeah, that’s how Brewdog does shit. They’re like your fucked up uncle that was always trying to get that old decommissioned jet engine running so he could duct tape it o the top of his Olds and blast down Main on a Sunday wearing no pants. Nuts, but you gotta respect him, he’s kind of dangerous.
Storm pours out with zero carbonation or head. That is to say, this beer comes flat right out of the bottle. I went online and checked to see if this was a fluke and I didn’t have a bad beer, but no, that’s how it’s supposed to be. So, I drank it, and…
Do you like Scotch? I do. Scotch is good. But, do you know what I’m not expecting when I drink a beer, even a beer that’s been aged in a scotch cask? Not scotch. This beer tasted like watered down Scotch. All woodsmoke and peat, right up front, dominating everything. No hint of the IPA was left.
Now, don’t get me wrong, once over the initial shock, I was fine. I finished the whole bottle. But, I was drinking beer to drink beer. When I want a Scotch, I’ll have that. So, ultimately, I’ll have to call this one a failure, despite how excited I was at the outset. Oh well, maybe they get better as you head up their product line. We’ll see.
Taste: I’m pretty sure this would be impossible to drink if you didn’t like Scotch.
Drinkablity: It’s weird that there’s no bubbles. Also, see above.
Cost: $6 a 12oz. bottle. That means it would cost me $30 to get drunk off of this.
Hangover rating: Just drank the one, so I can’t call it.
Orkney Brewery’s SKULLSPLITTER
Oh, quick history lesson for you, if you were wondering what a Viking is doing on a bottle of Scottish beer, it’s because that’s Thorfinn Turf-Einersson, Earl Of Orkney. His nickname was SKULLSPLITTER. No shit. The Vikings ran shit in northern Scotland until the mid 12th century, and the SKULLSPLITTER was a Jarl up there. You know, like in Skyrim.
The beer pours reddish brown and smells quite pleasant. Dark, but fruity. The taste is phenomenal. I was expecting an overly malty mess, but this is a balanced blend of plums and smoke and toffee. Drinking this is like smoking a cigar while draped over the ass of a plus-size model. Fuck what it looks like, man, it feels good.
Buy this beer. Because, it didn’t wind up being a case of either naming trope being true. SKULLSPLITTER isn’t an empty threat or a complete berserker. He’s your Viking homeboy. And if you get a four pack, we’ll all go and ride unicorns. TOGETHER.
Taste: A wonderful surprise. Very complex and enjoyable.
Drinkability: Easy. despite how dark this is, there’s no trouble whatsoever.
Cost: $10 for four
Hangover Rating: I have to buy more of these to know, I’ll update this later.