Date Reviewed: 10 October 2013
Bottle size: 330ml
Alcohol content: 9.2%
Price: $8 (NZ dollars)

Solo’s UK distributor suggested we obtain some product from Scottish brand BrewDog for BOTW. And now, thanks to the good people at Wine Direct, we have. Looking at the label, it’s pretty easy to get a feel for the style of beer that BrewDog advocate: In-your-face, no-holds-barred, FULL-ON beer, complete with a heavily marketed ‘attitude’ to match. Described on the label as an ‘explicit imperial ale’ at 9.2% ABV it’s a baby compared to 2 other BrewDog beers which at the time were the strongest in the world – Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%) and Sink the Bismarck (41%). Yep, I shit you not – 32% and 41%. So, what’s it taste like? Stevo was reminded of ParrotDog’s BitterBitch (bit of a dog theme happening here) – massive floral hops on the nose and tons of citrus/grapefruit in the mouth. However this was waa-aay more extreme than BitterBitch – more hops, more citrus, moremoremore. There was an eye-watering visceral kick of a finish which reminded me a lot of Tuatara’s Double Trouble IAPA – another 9% ABV beer. Tuatara’s description of that beer as a ‘brutal monster’ could easily apply to the Hardcore. There was a strong alcoholic syrupyness that intensified as our palates recovered from the pummelling from the hops. It sounds sadistic – why put yourself through this? But there’s pleasure in the pain as the Hardcore reveals itself as an exceptionally well crafted beer once you adjust to the sheer massiveness of it. When would you drink this beer? You definitely wouldn’t want to have more than a couple as your night would likely be very short. I was reminded of the single can of Carlsberg Special Brew supped immediately before heading out for the night when I lived in London in the late 80’s. Could the Hardcore be today’s craft beer equivalent?

MURRAY (Dan’s understudy) SAYS: This beer would last as long as it takes to sail a clipper against the trade winds to Uranus.

STEVO SAYS: If this beer was someone who exhibited explicit behaviour it would be Cicciolina.