BrewDog recently announced Fanzine, a new fortnightly subscription service which sees three surprise beers delivered to your door. Subscribers get their hands on the beers first, although they’re also available in BrewDog bars post-release.
We signed up within minutes of the announcement as this idea is right up our street – we love sampling new beers, especially experimental, small batches. Our first box arrived on Thursday and we’ve polished them off already.
The packaging itself is great; a compact, sturdy, cardboard box with the typical BrewDog branding. The three cans are well packed in there along with a blue slip detailing tasting notes and more information about each beer. First impressions are great; it’s fun opening the box not knowing much about the beers you’re receiving and reading about them while you wait for them to chill.
All subscribers receive the same beers – the first three were Jet Trash (West Coast IPA), Zephyr (Citrus Tart Pale Ale) and Nebula (Imperial Stout).
Jet Trash pours a clear, amber colour. It doesn’t feel like a West Coast IPA, the nose is very much lager-esque (possibly from the Munich malts?) and there isn’t that high level of bitterness or hop bite you’d expect from a typical West Coast IPA. It’s important to note this is V1, so expect future iterations to be better. We’d call it a German style IPA (is that a thing?) rather than a West Coast IPA. Not a bad beer but not what we expected from the name or the tasting notes.
Zephyr is also V1, the Citrus Tart Edition. Again, it pours clear with a lighter haze than Jet Trash. The aroma is grapefruit for days, the taste is all citrus; mostly grapefruit and lemon. A really clean, crisp and super refreshing beer perfect for sunny days and beer gardens.
Nebula is a 10% Russian Imperial Stout. A real beast of a beer, brewed with honey and brown sugar. Dark fruits at the fore with chocolate and coffee undertones. It’s very sweet (that’ll be the honey and sugar) but there’s also a sharp bitterness on the back end and a harsh alcohol burn. In terms of big, bold stouts, it’s solid but unspectacular. It could be worth ageing this one to see if the harshness levels out as the flavours are all there.
So, is BrewDog’s Fanzine worth it? It depends. None of the beers blew us away but it’s important to remember they’re experimental, small batch brews which will evolve over time. You’re getting to be a part of the feedback loop, shaping BrewDog’s future output and sampling beers which are limited editions. To us, that’s exciting.
With that being said, if you live near a BrewDog bar, you’ll have access to all of the beers within a few days anyway so it might not be worth it for you. You can be selective, read reviews, grab the best beers and skip the weaker ones.
If you’re reading this though, you’re probably a hardcore beer fan and you’re going to want to try them all. Subscribing ensures you get to, with the bonus of having them delivered to your door. We also love the surprise aspect, not quite knowing what’s going to turn up each fortnight.
Another important note – if you’re based in Northern Ireland like us, it’s still just £11 – the same price as the rest of the UK (no additional delivery charges). We don’t have any BrewDog bars in Ireland yet, nevermind Northern Ireland, so if you’re a hardcore beer nerd like us and you’re based in Northern Ireland – signing up to Fanzine is a no-brainer.