I still love BrewDog. I do. I know I shouldn't and there are so many opinions I'm supposed to support - I already wrote about all the reasons you hate BrewDog here - but I don't. There's lots to disagree with and lots to discuss, but at least they have you talking. Tomorrow I'm off to a Christmas dinner at BrewDog Manchester and I'm very much looking forward to it. I was so pleased and fortunate to get the chance to drink this Christmas beer before Wednesday (it's the luck of the calendar) in preparation for that event. This is a beer I've held onto since January, after spotting it on the Beers of Europe website. An Imperial Stout aged in Rum casks sounds perfect for the season. Yes, it comes in a presentation box and no I don't care if this makes the cynics sick because I love my stupid, little pointless box unashamedly.
I wish not to give any backstory on BrewDog's Paradox series, aside from my own. I've enjoyed the ones that I've tried thusfar - Smokehead, Arran and Grain - and Paradox Smokehead was obviously an ideal for me. But with their anti-Christmas thesis I'm not really sure what to expect here. The bottle label warns you to suggest a paradox to the commercialisation that Christmas is. That's fine, and almost expected from a company who have defined themselves on defying the norm, but you're preaching to a man who soaks up Christmas like a trainee Lapland elf. You have to impress me with Cheer.
"Why should they have all the fun?
It should belong to anyone.
Not anyone, in fact, but me!
Why I can make a Christmas tree!"
BrewDog Paradox Christmas 2012 15% pours very thin with low carbonation - the sign of a beer that is ageing well. A sign of a beer that is brewed well. To say that this beer is supposedly the paradox to Christmas, the first wave of scents hits like a warm Mince Pie; mincemeat, brandy and cloves in abundance. It then settles to give you the paradoxical familiarity of all BrewDogs huge Imperial Stouts. It's high cocoa dark chocolate, freshly ground smoky coffee beans and then... whiskey. Not rum, but whiskey. Oak Barrels. Peat bonfires. Tannins. Dignified honey. This is all before the taste. But then, this is the taste too. The richest of dark fruits soaked in barrels of finely aged scotch, melted dark chocolate, solidified and dipped into your morning espresso. The alcohol never lets you forget it's there but the taste is purest Christmas divinity that leaves you drinking a healthy Christmas toast, like a Yuletide morning Buck's Fizz. It may have poured thin, but there's enough body in this to make the loneliest feel whole this season. I adore this beer. It is, for all those that are still cynics, very, very good brewing. This may be Christmas as wished by Jack Skellington, but hey, all he wanted to do was celebrate Christmas too, despite his reputation. Maybe the BrewDog does too.
Purchased at Beers of Europe, January 2013
Eaten alongside a chocolate stocking and a chocolate angel, for when that first angel came to bring the Good News of a pregnant lady, everybody immediately thought of the outfit she was wearing the night of conception.