1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brewdog vs. Goose Island

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by haknort, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    First some background...

    I just joined the forums, waiting for my 30 days so I can start trading. I'm from Chicago, and was there at the launch for Goose Island Imperial IPA waaaaaay back in the day. I remember being the only hophead in attendance, and confronting the brewmaster and saying "Do you have any idea how amazing this is?"

    To this day it is one of the greatest double (triple? it was over 15% abv) IPAs of all time. I remember tasting back to back with DFH 120, and Imperial won by a hair.

    When Goose did the first BCS, I remember buying all I could. Amazing beer. Those two brews set the bar for every big Stout and IPA to follow.

    When Brewdog came on the scene, years ago, I followed with interest the battle of the highest abv. I'm a huge Utopias fan (have a few verticals including Millennium) and I love extreme beers (no one seems to dig DuClaw Colossus and Sonoran 200 like I do, which is as shame because if you like Utopias these are a must-try). So naturally I found bottles of Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismark.

    Penguin underwhelmed me in the taste department, though I respected the effort.

    Bismark I adored. It's like drinking hop oil.

    So I began seeking out more Brewdog beers, then discovered their website and started buying from them directly.

    Which brings me to the topic of this thread.

    I just tried two new Brewdog beers. Anarchist Alchemist (a 15% triple IPA) and a Paradox Grain (14% stout).

    They were wonderful.

    The AA was like a toned down version of Bismark. Same flavor profile, but drinkable (I can only handle an eyedropper sip of Bismark at a time). Truly one of the best IPAs I've every had. Incredible hop profile with surprisingly little cloy and heat. Where'd they hide the alcohol bite? It's amazing.

    The Paradox was everything a whiskey barrel aged stout should be. Woody, whiskey, dry, but no heat at all.

    So my buddy and I compared these against a '12 BCS and a '12 Dogfish 120, two of out faves. The Brewdog brews held their own.

    Kudos to those crazy Scottish punks at Brewdog for making beer as great as the best of the best.

    Also picked up Jackhammer, Paradox (various varieties), Tokyo, and Chaos Theory, all great beers.

    The shipping is insanely expensive. And it'll take a few weeks to arrive. But it's worth every penny.

    Has anyone else tried these? Thoughts?
  2. tewaris

    tewaris Advocate (595) Minnesota Jul 14, 2009

    This is a summary of the major points in this thread if it ever takes off:

    * AB-InBev = evil
    * I love BCBS; too bad if you don't, beer hippie
    * LOL gimmick
    * who cares about CAMRA anyway?
  3. alex_hart

    alex_hart Advocate (570) Oklahoma Feb 28, 2013

    I look forward to being able to afford all that you speak of. I look forward to this greatly.
    afrokaze, mfnmbvp, Pidzik12 and 3 others like this.
  4. I felt similarly about the TNP. I haven't had many of the Goose Island beers as it has only hit north TX about a month ago....I've tried some of their (brewdog) abstrak 12 and it was great...as well as some of Tokio*. I'm sitting on a STB and a San Diego Scotch Ale...looking forword to trying them. Had a paradox and it was a little underwhelming.....
  5. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    Love the San Diego Scotch, both Highland and Lowland. But I'm a Scotch guy, spoiled by 30 year old single malts. Some may find it a bit peaty.

    And I tasted a Tokio and a Tokyo back to back, and couldn't discern a difference. Why are they spelled differently?
  6. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    Live long enough. Money has a funny way of finding you as you get older.
    JxExM and YogiBeer like this.
  7. alex_hart

    alex_hart Advocate (570) Oklahoma Feb 28, 2013

    Ya, money and me have been playin marco polo for a while. I hear it callin back to me, but I cant seem to catch the bastard.
    sjverla and kojevergas like this.
  8. foobula

    foobula Savant (330) Illinois Dec 14, 2009

    So is this the Goose Island Imperial IPA you are referring to? Because it's listed at 9% on this site and untappd, rather than >15%. Or did the ABV change when it was bottled?

    Is brewdog only available via the mail? I've seen brewdog's collaboration bottles around but haven't tried any. Any of those worth picking up?
  9. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    That's the one. And no way was it 9%. I have a few left, kept in my cooler for years, and every now and then I crack one open. It's still a butt kicker, even if most of the hop profile has faded.

    If memory serves (and sometimes it doesn't) I talked to the brewer and he told me 15% and it was labeled 9% because of some tax or local law reason?

    But I may be wrong. I have been before. I was pretty tuned that night. They served the Imperial in wine glasses, and I had six. :)

    As for Brewdog, I think anything by them is worth trying. I really like Bitch Please (with FFF) and I Hardcore You (with Mikkeller).
  10. kojevergas

    kojevergas Champion (860) Texas Aug 15, 2010

    +1 to "LOL gimmick." Well predicted, sir.
  11. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    Inform a newbie. Meaning?
  12. foobula

    foobula Savant (330) Illinois Dec 14, 2009

    Basically that Brewdog is a gimmick brewery (with an attitude problem, perhaps) that does things like make the highest ABV beers possible, or sell their bottles in dead squirrels, without actually making good beer. I'm not agreeing with that assessment, but it seems to be a common opinion. Since your experience with them has been positive, you have an opportunity to maybe open a few minds.

    Sidenote: there was also this scandal last year where Brewdog was denied an award due to pressure from "big beer" and they made a big stink about it (rightfully, I should think.)
    kojevergas likes this.
  13. mjryan

    mjryan Savant (455) Minnesota Dec 22, 2007

    When was GI's Imperial IPA 15% abv?
  14. i didn't actually read the OP, but if this is really a question of which is better (brewdog or goose island) is this even a question????! Obviously goose island!
    Scalzo and mdvatab like this.
  15. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    You mean beer snobs?

    I'm old enough to know wine snobs, but that was mostly my parent's generation. "This cab has an ostentatious chewiness, but the tannin finish fails to compare to the '68."

    Yeah. Go bore someone else, sommelier wannabe.

    But beer snobbery is new to me. It really exists?

    A "gimmick brewery" is one of the silliest labels I've ever heard. Brewdog brews great tasting beer, and pushes the boundaries of what beer is. Being a purist is fine, but never confuse "I don't care for" with "it is bad for everyone and lacks quality because I don't like it". Hubris isn't a beer lover's buddy.

    There is bad beer out there. I was told Goose Island accidentally released a batch of Night Stalker with some problems (and having tried it, I agree something is off.) Beers can get infections, get skunky, get unwanted flavors and odors.

    But "gimmicks"? Seriously? Some beer drinkers have a problem with experimenting?

    The beer lovers I've met and hung out with are open-minded and appreciate of all styles. Even new styles. Even ones they don't enjoy. (It is possible to not like something and still recognize it as good.)

    I'm all for enjoying traditional styles, and tasting according to accepted criteria for those styles. But I also like to kick back with a good brew. Something I think tastes good.
    gjoker321, sjverla and Flashy like this.
  16. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    The true winner is the beer drinker.
    gjoker321 and BeerSocrates12 like this.
  17. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    As I said, I remember this from the launch party. I may be misremembering. But there was a buttload of malt in that brew, and 9% just doesn't seem right, even if that's what's on the bottle.
  18. kojevergas

    kojevergas Champion (860) Texas Aug 15, 2010

    I wouldn't go so far as to say they don't make good beer - judging by Tokyo, they definitely seem capable of it.

    But there's gimmicky, and there's putting your beer in a taxidermied fucking squirrel.

    Factor in the ridiculous price mark-ups, and you've got yourself a bunch of brewers that certainly equate to gimmicky, if not flat-out arrogant. It wouldn't be that much an issue if most of their beers weren't so often inferior.

    If they could somehow spin their gimmicky arrogant image into a positive marketing campaign, it would really work to their advantage. Like "hey, we acknowledge that we're arrogant, gimmicky, and [usually] of inferior quality, so it's okay."

    It certainly seems to work for Stone.

    Zing!
    Lare453 likes this.
  19. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    I love session beers...oh shit, I am in the wrong thread!!!
  20. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Difference is, Stone makes good beer.

    Sorry, but I have yet to enjoy ANYTHING from Brewdog, and it is hard to purchase anything at their pricing. However, if we are talking sours or BCBS, Goose Island is the bee's knees.

    Beer = Personal Preferance
    kojevergas likes this.
  21. kojevergas

    kojevergas Champion (860) Texas Aug 15, 2010

    Love Goose Island meself. Very weary of Brewdog, especially with their unreasonable pricing. I can't agree that Stone makes good beer *regularly*, but as you say yourself: tastes in beer are subject to personal preference.

    Beer on, everybody.
  22. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    My only problem with Stone is distribution, I bet their beers would be much better if it didn't have to. Go through a three tier system. Brewdog could be losing out big time when it comes to distribution as well, since that shit is shipped from Scotland. even with the Goose Island stuff (Midwest at least), I go after beers that can age, and will not make the mistake of paying $20 for a four pack of Imperial IPA again when Abrasive is brewed in my backyard. Beer should be local, period.

    Oh, AND I think 120 minute is still the worst beer I ever tasted...not that my assessment is worth anything.
  23. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    Beware equating personal preference with inherent quality. It's very easy to conflate the two.

    I'm not a fan of sours. Rodenbach is only tasty to me when poured on fried cod. By my opinion is subjective, and I certainly admire and applaud Rodenbach for their dedication to that beer style. I'd never say their beer is bad simply because I don't care for it. They no doubt make terrific beer that I simply don't appreciate.

    I'd also never tell anyone their palate is wrong for liking a certain beer, or brewery. Instead, I'd ask them what they like and dislike about a beer, and teach them certain tasting terms so they can defend their tongue.

    I certainly have favorites when it comes to breweries, and beer styles. But I applaud anyone who is able to make beer and get it into stores, especially considering the ridiculous distributor hurdles they must overcome.

    I've met a lot of brewers, even at the big boys like Miller and AB. They all share a passion for beer.

    To disregard that passion, and to blithely dismiss all who like those beers, is shortsighted.

    As you said, beer on. Great expression, BTW.
  24. C2H5

    C2H5 Savant (435) Illinois Jan 7, 2012

    Goose Island wins. I dig some of the Brewdog beers, but never went crazy over them or had them blow my mind like GI beers ie: King Henry/and all BCS. But I enjoy the gimicky stuff I even have a TNP that I am looking for the right opportunity to pop open!
  25. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    All opinions are valid.

    What didn't you like about it?

    I remember, back in 1989, my friend and I had some Bigfoot. We HATED it. Never had a barelywine before, never had a beer that strong, and we didn't appreciate the taste at all.

    Years later, I dig Bigfoot, and have enjoyed many a vertical. My taste, and opinion, changed, even though the beer didn't.
  26. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    I hope you understand that is exactly what I was trying to say.

    And for the distributor hurdles, I buy 90% local for a reason.
  27. foobula

    foobula Savant (330) Illinois Dec 14, 2009

    I don't know that it's snobbery. If a brewery says "send us $80 and we'll send you a 375 ml bottle of incredible beer" and that beer turns out to be a dud for many people, the brewery is going to get a reputation for being all talk (once bitten, twice shy.) Obviously you enjoyed Sink the Bismarck. A quick glance at the review page shows that it's a pretty polarizing beer, with some folks being into it like yourself and others hating it. I wouldn't say the people who hated it are snobs, but wouldn't be surprised if they'd think twice about paying that much to the brewery next time, and tell their friends to do the same. I would recommend reading a bunch of reviews of any of the beers you mentioned, just to get a sense of what others are saying. Not that it should inform your experience, but you can get a better idea of what others are experiencing when they're trying the same beers you are, and maybe understand how these beer geek biases originate.

    Then maybe compare Brewdog reviews to some Three Floyd's reviews (such as this one) for a beer that most people are happy spending $50+ a bomber for. That brewery has attitude too, but is really well respected as making consistently great beers. Personally Goose Island's BCS is my favorite, but I certainly get the love for Three Floyd's.

    Again, I'm not saying you're off-base in your love for Brewdog, at least until I try it for myself, just giving you a sense of the prevailing wisdom.
  28. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    To me, 120 was a muddled mess. Too much malt which killed the flavor and aroma hops.

    I love a good BIG beer, but I am a firm believer in the old school thought of sitting at a bar and having a few pints. I may be more critical when it comes to big beers, because there are too many of them out there. The thing I hate most is going to my favorite watering hole and finding a great tap list of nothing lower than 7%.
  29. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    We tasted a Bourbon Country Rare against a FFF Vanilla Bean Dark Lord, and the Dark Lord was the winner by a hair.

    But, as I said earlier, the real winner was me, for getting to try them side by side.

    Oddly enough, I've also done a blind BCS vertical with some friends, and they were really hard to distinguish from each another. Compared to a DL vertical, where the early years had gotten sort of foamy and thick. Side by side, I prefer the Goose.

    As for King Henry vs. Behemoth, that's a really tough one...
    Jamison85 likes this.
  30. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    Yeah, the 120 is huge malt.

    Different strokes. I've got hundreds of beers in my house, and I can't think of any that are under 7%. ;)
    ESeab likes this.
  31. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    So does my cellar, doesn't mean my bar needs to be :)
  32. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    Excellent point.
  33. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Also, I am a homebrewer, fresh beer is my life ;)
  34. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    Me too. All grain and kegged.

    But I've found, with bigger beers, fresh matters most with hoppy varieties. I don't mind a bit of age on my stouts.
  35. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Depends on the stout for me. Locally, Surly Darkness is much better fresh (or within six months) because it's best character is the hop profile, of course this is an opinion and there are many that love aged Darkness. Bigfoot is terrible when released but ages well, again my opinion ( and only to a point).
  36. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Also, I recently traded away my Darkness stash ('08 - '10) for a bunch of sours...which is the direction my cellar seems to be going.
  37. haknort

    haknort Savant (265) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    With my friends we did a Baller vertical, first drinking verts of all the beers in it (Surly, Albert, Beer Geek, Dark Lord) and Surly was one of the favorites. But we liked the older bottles more than the newest (I recall we had the first three years.)

    Also, by the end, we were so blitzed we didn't know what we were drinking. I looked at my tasting notes, and I just drew smiley faces all over the page, between stout stains.
    alucard6679 and mnstorm99 like this.
  38. sil1

    sil1 Aficionado (235) California May 19, 2012

    Brewdog and Goose island are not even comparable. Brewdog is banking on being gimmicky and has rarely delivered anything worth while.
  39. atomic

    atomic Savant (415) Illinois Sep 22, 2009

    I like your attitude Haknort, welcome to BA!

    For what its worth, I've had tokio* before (or was it tokyo* I had?) in Belgium, and while this was a couple years ago before my palate was up to the challenge, I knew that was an awesome beer. Shame I couldn't finish it, even with the help of my friend, back then. Today I'd probably down the whole thing! if for some reason you can't finish it, I probably don't live too far.... just saying!

    Oh and recently I've seen tokio for sale in the US at a place called The Argonaut in Denver. It was pretty expensive so I passed on it. Really regret that, I would have loved to return to that beer.
  40. Paradox, in its various forms is fine but its a but raw when young. It needs time for all of its elements to come together. Christmas Pardox 2012 is a real treat if you can find it.
    Tokyo is OK. Big and sappy with a fair bit of sweetness in the core and virtually carbless.

    In a nutshell BrewDog is a wildly inconsistent brewery but they do go the extra mile to get their 'special' beers right. Which can't be said for the recent output of Punk IPA and Trashy Blonde. Hope that changes because they were both really good beers.

Share This Page