BrewDog Hello My Name is Vladimir, 8.2% abv double IPA

With all the interest in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, attention has thankfully once again been drawn to Russia’s staggeringly backwards anti-gay propaganda law, a deliberately ambiguous piece of legislation routinely used to crush the freedom of speech and personal expression of Russia’s LGBT population. The recent protests against this law and the support of those victimised by it have been at times both heart warmingly moving and painfully funny. The Scottish beer punks at BrewDog reacted as only they could, with a new beer, some prize worthy piss taking, and the donation of fifty percent of the beers profits to charities that represent oppressed minorities. 

Hello My Name is Vladimir is a double IPA brewed with limonnik berries and a good splurge of irreverence, that shocking pink label depicting an eyeshadow and lipstick wearing Vladimir Putin is a thing of wonder, and even better, they got Russia’s chief Dobby the House-Elf impersonator himself to write the bottle blurb! Honest. It’s absolutely not a parody, no siree…

So, am I hetero enough to tackle this bare chested brew? I shred my vest with a flex of my swoon inducing pecs, pop the bottle cap with naught but a glare, and get ready to find out.

The pour is a beautiful dark amber, the head as white as snow. I inhale and I’m met with an assault of full frontal aromas, mixed citrus, gummy bears, tropical fruit juice, peach cobbler, and plenty of floral notes (but from manly flowers, like GRRR-aniums!)

I take a sip. It’s sweet, juicy and fruity, a tropical fruit punch (but a manly tropical fruit punch, an uppercut to the taste buds) full of grapefruit, lemon zest, mango, peach, pineapple, and dew laden grass on a bright spring morning. There’s a big caramel malty backbone running through this that brings a great balance, and the finish is long and bitter. The silky smooth texture together with the soft carbonation and full body deliver a delightful mouthfeel, like an oil massage for your mouth. 

Now I wouldn’t know a limonnik berry if one was dancing around on my laptop keyboard, but this beer seems to follow the trend of it’s fruit infused cousins in the “Hello My Name is… ” series in that the fruit isn’t meant to be the dominant flavour, but rather add an extra layer to the already complex profile of those gloriously aromatic hops. It’s a lovely beer, and very much a BrewDog style DIPA. If you like hopped up, malty, and bittersweet brews bursting with tropical fruit flavours give it a go if you can find it. And as long as you’re totally not gay or anythin’.

A beer may not change laws or attitudes, but it can help raise awareness of those living in a poisonous political climate. A place where homosexuality is something the state deems perverse and corrupting. A beer can also help fund organisations that aim to give hope and help to oppressed minorities, and to let them know that there are people out there who support them and wish them all the luck in the world in finding the happiness and acceptance they deserve. Cheers.

This is a real beer called “The End of History.” Each bottle is packaged inside a dead animal. The squirrel sells for $1000. It’s from the Scottish brewery, Brew Dog. All the animals used died of natural causes. #beer #brewdog #thendofhistory


BrewDog Russian Doll

The beautifully labelled creations you see before you (courtesy of the fantastic Esther McManus) form the most recent of BrewDog’s special releases. Four beers brewed with the same ingredients but with the hop and malt ratio altered to suite the specific styles, which increase in strength from a pale ale to an India pale ale to a double IPA to a barley wine. Pale, cara, and dark crystal malts do the malty thing while Cascade, Centennial, Citra, and Simcoe represent the green stuff.

Without further ado (I know, right?) it’s time to try ‘em. First up is the Russian Doll Pale Ale (4.0% abv), modestly hopped with tropical fruit fruit flavours, orange, and pine needles, it wasn’t ‘til it warmed in my hand towards cellar temp that it came alive with malty goodness, caramel drizzled chopped nuts getting a nod of appreciation. Light and eminently crushable, a good start.

Russian Doll IPA (6.0% abv) moves in exactly the direction you’d expect, hoppy with stripped back malts. Freshly squeezed orange juice leads the citrus hop charge, there’s a nice resinous quality and a hint of biscuity malt. A good hit of bitterness brings things to a close, the body’s more substantial and the mouthfeel more rounded than the pale. A better suit for me.

My love of DIPA’s meant that the Russian Doll Double IPA (8.0% abv) was the one I was most looking forward to. Sweet up front with bags of chewy, resinous, citrusy, tropical hops, a touch of caramel malt that kinda pretends to reign in the hop overload for a second or two then just says “fuck it” and stands back as the bitter wave of hop aggression charges past heading straight for your taste buds. A nice US style DIPA, not their best, but highly enjoyable.

Last up, after a hour or so recuperation, was Russian Doll Barley Wine (10.0% abv). By far the most gorgeous colour of the four, it and kinda tastes like blackberry jam, caramel sauce, and grapefruit juice all stirred together with a pine bough. Being an American style barley wine it’s certainly hoppy, but the hops never overshadow the malts and drag it into DIPA territory. It’s sweet and sticky, nicely boozy but not overpowering, a real tasty brew. 

And I’m done. Of the four the DIPA and barley wine were (rather predictably) my favourites, but I can’t honestly say that any of these beers come close to surpassing BrewDog’s other examples of their particular styles. For a mere tenner though, this new piece of playful experimentation from the Scottish craft brewers has been highly enjoyable. And that artwork almost makes the purchase worthwhile in itself. Cheers!

BrewDog Roppongi, Tokyo

The Scottish scoundrels behind BrewDog brewery continue their plans for worldwide craft beer domination by opening their first brew pub in Tokyo, right in the heart of Roppongi…


I popped in for a few brews on my last visit and snapped a few pics to share with you all. Here’s a quick look…







While the prices are a tad high, as you can see, the staff was super friendly and extremely knowledgeable about beer, both their own and the the other brewers’ selections; the vibe was chill and quite mellow, with low music and soft lighting; and while I didn’t eat, I hear from friends that the food is excellent! I’ll most likely be spending a little more time here on my next visit to Tokyo.

Also, I hear an exclusive Japan-only BrewDog beer is in the works!


Roppongi 5-3-2

Saito Bldg, 1F

Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032 




BrewDog Hello My Name is Päivi, 8.2% abv

Well, whadda we have here? Only the latest in the ongoing series of limited release fruit infused double IPA’s from the delightfully irreverent Scottish craft brewery, that’s what! Turns out this stuff features the fruity charms of the sea buckthorn from Finland. And once again this series of beers has got me stumped, whassa sea buckthorn, eh? After a little Googling it seems it’s actually a sacred seaside shrub that only grows on soil that has seen the shadow of a passing dragon. The carnivorous plant feeds on small mammals and nesting sea birds and flowers a decade later. Only the most fearsome warriors brave the nightmarish plant for the chance to harvest the berries, orangy yellow in colour and said to enable those who feast on them to breath fire! Don’t bother checking any of this, I absolutely didn’t make it up. Promise.

And so to pour, a glorious marmalade orange with a head of like marshmallow fluff. Aromas of orange,pineapple, faint pine and caramel waft upwards. A sip, juicy tangerine, passion fruit, peach, lemon zest, and pineapple flavours lead the hop charge. The malt is there lurking in the background, adding a caramel sweetness to balance the tart, and the finish is long with bitter evergreen and a sharp tartness that’s unusual in this series, the sea buckthorn finally rearing it’s horned head. The booze is all but absent, the body medium to full and oh-so smooth.

So yeah, good stuff once again. The tart sea buckthorn adds another layer to the typically fruity, juicy hops and subdued caramel malt base. As usual with this series the flavours aren’t as full on as with BrewDogs sublime core-range double IPA, Hardcore, not to say it’s a pushover though, this thing packs a serious flavour punch and is an entirely worthy addition to the series. Grab it while it’s hot!


bottle-o-rama! and All You Need Is Beer present…

BrewDog Dead Metaphor, 6.5% abv breakfast stout

Cast: Cameron, of All You Need Is Beer 

         Lee (ME!!!), of bottle-o-rama!

Cameron: “Writing. Long periods of frustration interspersed by all too-brief moments of inspiration.” The opening statement for this beer and a common quandary that rings true with all manner of creative enterprises. Sometimes that lightbulb moment is just too deep in the blackness to be activated by those exhausted brain electrons.

Fear not, for Scottish terriers BrewDog have hired a team of beer wordsmiths to create Dead Metaphor (6.4% abv) to “get the ideas flowing”. Infused with Brazilian Sertão Coffee, oatmeal, lactose and 100% Venezuelan Black Cacao this beer is deadly focussed on getting your mind back on track.

Lee: A noble quest indeed, but when the hilariously random muddle of wires, valves, slimy bits, gears, and cookie crumbs that make up my brain decide they wanna go on vacation, there’s nothin’ gonna lure ‘em back. Not coffee, not beer, not a great big bar of Venezuelan chocolate, not even a great big bar of Venezuelan chocolate dunked in coffee, or beer, or both. I am absolutely willing to give it a go however, all in the name of science of course. Would you like to do the honours good sir?

C: A frothy mocha head conquers the black pour, offering aromas of roasted liquorice, bitter chocolate-coated coffee beans and sweet lactose.

First gulp and my face resembles the Drew Millward designed parchment-skull that adorns the bottle…

Suddenly those loose connections in my brain have been re-wired with the roasted coffee beans that tingle and awaken my sleeping palate. As the espresso shoots across the taste-buds other sensations are brought to life; a hint of bitter spice, even wild berries come alive to create a complex and thoroughly enjoyable stout. How’s this working for you?

L: Well whaddaya know, this really does taste like a bar of high cocoa content chocolate dipped into a cup of freshly poured dark roast coffee! I’m also getting those wild berries and warming spicy notes you mentioned, and just a hint of black treacle. The medium body thins out somewhat towards a finish that has a more developed bitterness than the opening chapters.   

This is literally a figurative roast-monster of a stout, and the path of coffee fueled destruction it has wrought on my taste-buds has left a most delectable debris. And yes, many, many, metaphors were fatally harmed in the making of this review. Their sacrifice will be remembered. ‘Til like Thursday or somethin’. Cheers!

"A Scottish brewery has launched a ‘not for gays’ beer in protest at Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws, and have even sent a crate to the Russian leader himself.

The limited-edition ‘Hello, My Name is Vladimir’ beer features a Warhol-esque impression of Vladimir Putin wearing make-up on its label and the satirical *not for gays small print across the bottom.”