A Moment of Silence for the Fallen
A Review of International Arms Race by BrewDog
Posted on 10/31/2012 by Chops
So the story goes like this... Flying Dog out of Frederick, MD and BrewDog out of Fraserburgh, Scotland decided to go head to head in an International Arms Race. The challenge: create a Zero-IBU IPA. I know, I know, that's like being tasked to create a Belgian beer without Belgian yeasts, or a Lite American Lager with taste. It was madness I tell you! But alas, the brewing titans went to battle and Flying Dog emerged victorious. You can read my review of Flying Dog's version below as well as BrewDog's write up of the result:

Flying Dog Review : Click Here

BrewDog Results : Click Here

So now, having sampled Flying Dog's version of this strange brew, I reenact that epic battle by sampling BrewDog's version. Will BrewDog emerge victorious on the taste bud battlefield of BrewChief? Let's find out...

In the glass, BrewDog's version has a semi-hazy charred orange coloration. It comes with a frothy off-white head that has decent retention. On the nose, I got a huge burst of warming spices, namely nutmeg and cinnamon. To be honest, this beer smells like an imperial pumpkin ale minus the alcohol burn. Very interesting. Nothing left to do but dive in for that first sip.

Right away I was able to latch onto a solid malty base. Infused in that base are some fruity notes, namely nondescript berries and a hint of banana. At times this beer leaned towards dunkelweizen territory, which was weird. The overall character is very interesting, but it just feels flat without any hops (kind of the point, but still). BrewDog's attempt to energize the new bitterness agents just doesn't really work well in this beer. That being said, this is still an easy drinking brew with pleasant flavors. It has a solid medium body that finishes dry with a malty spicy aftertaste.

Overall, BrewDog's version of a Zero-IBU IPA falls a little short. It's by no means a bad beer, so don't take this review as such. But when compared to Flying Dog's version, I can completely see why Flying Dog emerged victorious in the International Arms Race. They made better usage of the bitterness substitutes. I have greatly enjoyed this experience and can recommend both beers to any beer geek with an adventurous spirit. It's a fun exercise in flavor comparison and a great study in hop substitution. But alas, we have to acknowledge the fallen. A moment of silence please.

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International Arms Race by BrewDog
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