Evidently, the minds behind Scotland’s BrewDog have rattled more than a few cages with their new beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin. (I still love that name.) Roger has taken them to task, then tried to address his critics; Alan has added his two cents, mostly addressing Roger’s response; Jay and I chatted about it all at length over the phone, and then he waded into the morass; and a fellow named Dave made the keen observation that Linux may just get a new and very boozy mascot out of the whole deal.
I seldom write about beers I have not tasted, and never write twice about such a brew, but rules are made for breaking and the Penguin craves ink, even if it is only the virtual stuff. Besides, it raises more questions than it does answers, to wit:
- Given that the concentration of alcohol through freezing is a form of distillation, is this even a beer?
- Given that eisbock is a recognized style of beer, does taking that freezing process to the nth degree disqualify the Penguin from such a style?
- Does anyone care, as Roger seems to, whether the beer is fermented with a beer yeast or a wine yeast or both? (BTW, the BrewDog website suggests that the original, pre-freezing Imperial stout was but 10% alcohol, the attainment of which would certainly not require a non-brewers yeast.)
- Should we even worry about such distinctions between beer and spirits, or even wine, for that matter? I have, after all, an open bottle of Sam Adams Utopias on my desk that has to my palate been steadily improving since I uncapped it a few months ago, which is most definitely not a beer-ish trait.
- Since in nothing I’ve seen posted thus far has anyone said anything about what the Penguin tastes like, has anyone actually sampled the damn thing?
That’s it. I have no answers, only questions. Mr. Watt, if you’re reading, please do get in touch!