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Oh deer

I just… I couldn’t avoid that pun in the title. I hope you’ll forgive me.

This is old news for those keeping up in the beer blog world (the blogosbeer? Okay, I’m done. That’s probably a lie.), but BrewDog is at it again, both in terms of “insanely high alcohol beer” and “non sequitur taxidermy.”

Say hello to Ghost Deer. A defiant and irreverent, devil may care, supersonic bitch of a beer. Ghost Deer is a 28% fermented beer, the strongest ever fermented beer which is only ever served from a single handcrafted and authentic deer’s head.

This idiosyncratic ale combines the 3 things that we are most passionate about: craft beer, art and taxidermy. This is a revolution in brewing and in beer dispense. The impact is at once beautiful and disturbing – it disrupts conventions and breaks taboos, just like the beer it pours.

I admit that this is a really cool image.

Now, I… yeah. Yeah. I had some initial thoughts, but I was going to have to put a disclaimer that said “these are only my opinions, and not those of the rest of CBW” on the post, which seemed a tad lame. So I asked the rest of the folks what they thought, and said “be sure to email me by tomorrow so I can make the post!” And then I waited a week to make the post, which seems a tad more lame. Sorry. Anyway, read the post, watch the video (embedded in the post) and then let’s get on with some excerpts from their opinions.

Rudy

First, BrewDog exists in a very different environment. There is lots of cool stuff going on in England, but there is certainly a more conservative brewing culture over there than in the US.

Second, BrewDog is consistently great at promoting themselves.

Third, I haven’t really cared for the 5 or 6 BrewDog beers that I’ve had, but I know that some people really enjoy their products.

None of these things really speak to this specific issue though.

I choose to address this topic by encouraging people to watch this.

Life is fun.

Ethan

I think it is cool, overall. I mean, the taxidermy aspect isn’t very far from the bottles-in-stoats the did for The End Of History; making a deer head into a draft dispenser is neat, but I think they already pretty much broke that ground with the bottles. Now, the idea that the deer head is the only means of getting the beer, and that it will just pop-up places–that is way cool, unless the distribution footprint of the deer head is only Scotland; in which case it is still cool but, since I am not traveling to Scotland in the hopes of catching it, it could be cooler.

Still, as usual they definitely know how to get people’s attention, which is probably as much an aspect of their real personality as it is necessary for a small, radical brewery in Scotland.

Oh: what about the beer? And there you go, that’s the downside: I understand the importance of the packaging and marketing around the contents, but it should not overshadow them. That I wrote all the previous and didn’t even consider the beer itself is, in my mind, a wee criticism. I guess, having never had a beer over 14 or so % ABV, I am curious (ok, I once had a sip of Utopias, but still). But a 28% ABV belgian blond ale is not an everyday drink, and neither is it fully obnoxiously high in ABV. As it does not require cold-distillation, I can at least still think of it as a beer. I won’t be ruthlessly trying to get any of it, but I try to keep my interest in really rare beers low so as not to contribute too highly to my experience of them if I should ever have the treat. But I sure wouldn’t pass it up.

Hey look, it's STANNIS BEERATHEON!

Matt

First of all, it was a hilarious read. Seems like an Onion article to me. Is it real? I like it better as parody, to be honest. I think that it illustrates some trends that are up and coming (creative aging in specific barrel types, boutique yeasts) and some that, much like chin beards, are ‘over.’ Specifically, the hugeness factor has been done and overdone. It makes the beer seem like a gimmick and the alcohol content means you can taste it, but if you really want to experience what the beer is all about you will be on the floor or too drunk to remember. As Ethan said – he had a sip of Utopias, not several glasses.

That being said, I like the way they market it. Here is beer X. It’s a little off beat. You can only get it under these circumstances. The promotional aspect is great. I like the idea of people showing up somewhere for an event just to try our beer out of a special dispenser or with one time glassware for the event – it’s like shooting the cherry liquor out of that bowling ball at a Bills game. I even like the idea of people showing up too late after it’s run out and missing out.

I think this kind of thing is a great idea of an anniversary or a grand opening.

Dan

I’ve only had two BrewDog beers: Punk IPA and Chaos Theory. They were… okay. I had been really interested in trying them after reading about the Tokyo* brou ha ha (see? I could have spelled it “brew” but I didn’t so there). Even by then I was a little wary of the amount of marketing they were doing: the watchdog group The Portman Group had only received one complaint about Tokyo*: from BrewDog themselves. The later one-upmanship battle with Schorschbräu over who could make the highest abv beer solidified in my mind that it was about the image and the publicity more than making good beer. Maybe the beer is good! I don’t know, as I can’t afford any of it.

One final note: BrewDog likes to project the image that they’re underground, antiestablisment, punk. This is the first sentence of their Ghost Deer article:

Fu*k the system.

Because nothing says “raw and edgy” like censoring the word “fuck.”

Okay, enough of us. What say you?