About a month and a half ago I bought the two International Arms Race beers by BrewDog and Flying Dog. The beers in question are “Zero IBU IPA’s”. No hops was used in the process, but instead berries, herbs and roots. Well, this is not entirely true as Flying Dog had to include a small amount of hops to be allowed to call it “beer”.
There have been events in the UK and the US where people got served these two beers, and if I’m not mistaken Flying Dog won both in the UK and the US. So, let’s see who wins the International Arms Race in BeerNorway HQ!
First up is Flying Dog’s version. The beer is brewed with malted barley, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper, spearmint, elderflower, orange peel and yeast and weighs in at 7.5% ABV.
Murky brown/dark orange with a fizzy head that disappears completely after a few seconds. As I’m writing this there is no sign at all that there ever was any head on the beer. There is also a bunch of stuff floating around in the beer. It looks pretty nasty actually…
As expected I’m getting some herbal notes on the nose. I’m also getting some honey, pine, mint and something that reminds me of the green Taveners Fruit Drops.
The flavor is unfortunately just like the aroma, herbal with some artificial fruity hints. The mouth feel is watery with a low carbonation level. Pretty horrid stuff.
Medium long finish with hints of herbs and pine. I’m stuck with a really uncomfortable taste in my mouth after tasting this beer.
Really unpleasant and artificial. Oh, and the stuff floating around in the glass did not add to the score. This is one of the worst beers I have ever had. Score: 1.3/5.
Time for the BrewDog version. Since Flying Dog won the events in the UK and the US I’m not exactly jumping with joy right now. The label does not say anything else than that the beer was brewed with berries, herbs and roots. This version also has an ABV of 7.5%.
Almost clear dark golden color with a fizzy head. The head on this one also disappears rather quickly, but there is a small sign of the head around the edge of the glass.
This has a more Christmas-like aroma to it. I’m getting ginger, sweet malts, molasses and some clove. This one smells somewhat good.
The flavor is quite fruity with hints of ginger and some juniper. This beer has some of the same flavor components as the Sahti porter I enjoyed yesterday. Too bad I’m not enjoying this beer. It’s almost as bad as the Flying Dog version. The mouth feel is thin and the carbonation level is soft.
Longer finish, but without the worst flavors. I’m left with a hint of ginger and some lemon, and a dry mouth.
Not as unpleasant as the Flying Dog version, but still, far far away from a good beer. Score: 1.6/5.
Well, BrewDog was the victor today, but both beers were terrible, so it’s not really a victory at all. Although it was probably a fun experiment for the guys who brewed these beers it was not much fun tasting them.