Friday, 27 November 2009

Tactical Nuclear Penguin

Imperially Stout emperor penguins, waiting for the pub to open - image by Josh Landis, US National Science Foundation - public domain Move over, little Sir John Barleycorn - there's a new spirit of beer in town! (Hat tip: Brad Taylor.)

I have had my eye on BrewDog ever since they managed to get themselves panned by the do-gooders for launching a low alcohol beer - and calling it Nanny State. I haven't seen a corporate style I liked so well since the heyday of Death cigarettes. Now they excel themselves again with the magnificently named Tactical Nuclear Penguin. Scottish health campaigners have searching questions about this product:

Jack Law, of Alcohol Focus Scotland, described it as a "cynical marketing ploy" and said: "We want to know why a brewer would produce a beer almost as strong as whisky."

Seek and ye shall find. It's to annoy the likes of you, laddie! I have conducted a serious ethical analysis of this ploy on my own account, and come to a sober and justly-reasoned conclusion, and present it as follows: w00t w00t!

My own concern is that 32% alcoholic drinks, whilst capable of almost every human and social virtue, can surely not include 'being beer' among them. This sounds to me like a bit of a stretcher. I will believe that Penguin is to beer as brandy is to wine, but I don't call the medicinal supplies in my cupboard 'brandy wine', either. BrewDog's offering is supposed to remain an Imperial Stout even after being freeze-distilled by the eisbock method (i.e. repeatedly throwing away the stuff that turns to ice). Are we not in need of a new generic term here?

'Hopka' won't fly, since eisbocking beer apparently loses the hop component of the flavour even as it concentrates several others. 'Frisky' is frankly gimmicky, though 'brisky' has a certain je-ne-sais-wooaaargh in my opinion. 'Muh... uh... BRAIIIINS!' may well win out in terms of actual usage on the street, but the good folk of Brains Brewery got there first. Even calling it right good stingo has one or two things against it.

Can anybody help me out with this puzzler? Failing that, my blogly duty is clear. If anybody will procure me a sample for analysis, I hereby undertake to investigate its beer-nature pro bono publico.

Call me rash, call me selfless, but don't bother calling me that evening...

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