Monday 4 May 2009

Ode to Zephyr

I’ve been waiting for months. Desperate to try it. The idea put me in a whirl. An IPA, 12.5%. Whisky casks from 1965. Fresh strawberries, tart and sweet. Time. I wanted it. I needed it.

I finally got it.

Sentences are redundant with this beer. Unnecessary. Frivolously time consuming. It promises a zephyr and you get the cool breeze of elegance. Have I ever had a beer with so much going on? Will I ever again? Complexity is too weak a term. Complex squared. Each sip is a cotton candy minefield, a padded spike, a punch and a kiss. It defies language. It twists your mind. A dirty secret. A dichotomy.

A zephyr. A hurricane. A beautiful dance between the two.

Golden pink. Strawberries. So many strawberries. Biscuits. The finest champagne you’ve tasted. But better. There’s more going on. A lot more. It’s an IPA. It’s got hops, but only just. They linger in earthy, oaky dryness. A whisky barrel. The strength hides until the end. A warm afterburn. How many other things? It’s a challenge. More with each sip. A rollercoaster. A rare moment when beer is more than beer. Tart strawberries. Sweet strawberries. Vanilla. Smoke. Coconut. Oak. An unmissable creaminess. Electric carbonation. Wood. Fresh fruit. Will it get better? What will happen to this masterpiece in a few years? Will it grow bigger, better? Will it mellow and sweeten? Could it develop more complexity? Complex to the power of three? I must have another. Dare I open it? Maybe I should save it. Can I wait? The big bottles come soon. I’ve been waiting for it.

Once is not enough.

It’s a work of organic art; so many variables placed together at their own mercy and given time. What if…? Is it magic? Is it fate? Free will verses determinism. Layers of life, of history, left in the end to create itself and rise into something new. Something even more complete than its glorious parts. A work of art packaged inside another work of art. Something incredible.

This post was in part inspired by this wonderful piece at Impy Malting. The beer kind of does this to you. It has a magic all of its own. And look closely at the picture. My tattoo says it all.


  1. Interesting Liam. Where exactly does this beer fit in? After dinner with dessert? Obviously not something you want to drink loads of during a bbq.

  2. I'd say it's an after dinner beer. Or one to celebrate a special occasion. It has a champagne quality about it, spritzy, sharp and lively, but it's got some much warming complexity too. It's certainly not one to have with a BBQ - the rarity alone (only 240ish 750ml bottles have been made) makes it special.

  3. Enjoyed it then? I need to give this another whirl. I've been slack with my bottled purchasing of late. Shame Garrett couldn't get hold of a cask of this for the showcase - then again, maybe it was for the best!

  4. Wow! That sounds amazing. Where did you find it??

  5. Hey SarahKate. I got it from the BrewDog website - This was a limited release of just 35 330ml bottles but they are releasing 750ml champagne bottles of this soon. Not exactly sure when but it'll be soon so keep checking on their blog (it's a fun read too)!

  6. Oh my God i NEED this! I NEED IT NOW! I'm such a massive brew dog whore as it is, this is only going to make things worse. I love fruity beer. Did they send it to you? I'm off to look at the website. I wonder if they have it in Borough Market...

  7. Helen if you like BrewDog you'll LOVE this!

    The 330ml bottles are gone I think but the bigger ones aren't far away. I don't know if Utobeer or the Rake will get any? I would guess not. It'll be mostly online and they'll send some to the US. The 750ml bottles have their own specially printed labels and they come in presentation boxes. It's a special beer.

  8. I think I need to get my hands on some of this. I have emailed James at BrewDog to see when/where I can get hold of some.

    Alas, all the Punk IPA I bought a couple of weeks ago has now all been drunk, so other than a few bottles in the 'special beer' box I'm pretty much out of beer!

    Homebrewing starts soon though!

  9. I'm drinking mine on Friday with a mate, but not sure if I can wait???

    The question is should I share, don't know if he will even care?

    Can't think of anything that rhymes with Zephyr!

  10. Even though I'm a fan of brewdog I'm not excited about this one. I'm not that keen on oak aged beers and hoppy oak aged beers I like even less. Not sure what the fruits meant to add either, except maybe a touch of colour. I'd have prefered just a 12.5% IPA! Now that would get me excited.

  11. Hmm, sounds like I should get some of this. Just to see what they can do with fruit, you know? :)

    Psst, Beer Adventurer, try heifer.

    Ed, I recently had one of their hoppy, oak-aged, ocean-matured IPAs and it was subtly delicious :)

  12. Pete, homebrew you say?! I'm still planning this and looking into it. I've pretty much designed my first three beers in my head already!!

    BA, I was going to suggest heifer but Adeptus beat me to it!! I don't know if it fits in though?! And this is a beer to share and enjoy with someone else.

    Ed, I think the label actually now just says imperial ale rather than IPA. Does this change things for you?! The oak and the fruit add amazing layers of flavour, I think it has to be tried to be believed.

    Adeptus, there's some major jealousy coming your way as you've tried the Atlantic IPA!

  13. Oh. my. I HAVE TO HAVE IT! I feel faint after reading this...

    Great post!


  14. I can't wait for the larger bottles--it's so gorgeous. Your descriptions make me feel less fanatically alone. It really is that good!