I miss all of the fun or at least most of it. Sitting here in my virtual isle of banishment from all good things in the beer world I miss the Philly Beer Weeks. I miss weekend flips to Brussels to hobnob at Cantillon. And I missed last month's London launch of BrewDog's new beer Zeitgeist. I do go on. And I wallow. I know. But, still, I do get wee gifites in the mail, sometimes in a bargain for the occasional ad placement... if I like the beer.
So, I swept away all self-doubt about my situation, turned my frown upside-down and found myself very happy to see that in their last couple of boxes, I snagged both the new bottle of Zeitgeist and also, a few months earlier, received a prototype for the same beer which has spending the winter in hibernation in the stash. What a giggle to compare and contrast to see if I can glean anything about the brains and decision making powers that went into making this brew. For example, Stonch mentioned after attending the launch that it is smooth and malty. Maybe this prototype is jagged and acrid. Maybe it's like HP sauce. Let's find out.
[More in a bit.]
Here we are. So, they both pour rich reddish chestnut with a beige rim and foam. Through the power of sniffery, I think I find a bit of difference. The prototype has cocoa and a little roastiness while the final version has a little bit of a sour tang, a nod more yogurt than cream. It continues in the mouth. It may be a different yeast strain or might just be bottle variation. Both are softly grainy textured, full of roasted notes as well as dry fruit like date, prune and fig. The prototype has a fresh easy finish but if it was labeled a brown ale rather than the intended German-style dark lager, I would not think twice about it. The final version, however, has that tang that in the wrong proportion can annoy me in a craft lager. In this case, however, it if a good fit with a bit of smoked ham that just came in the door with the Saturday groceries.