BrewDog … batty Scottish brewers that boil beer to buck trends in Britain. They have remained true to their approach with this ridiculous Amber Ale, if you could even call it that. It’s more like an Amber Ale that has been nuked by hops. It certainly lives up to its “iconoclast” nickname. This is a beer that BrewDog wants fans of Amber Ale to buy at the store or order at a restaurant. They want them to innocently, unknowingly attempt it, and die.

Thankfully, I was on to BrewDog before I bought 5 A.M. Saint. I’d seen the Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismarck videos. I knew what they were capable of.

I poured this rather expensive single bottle ($3.19, really?) into a regular pint glass. It was nice and red, with a foamy head, and a sucker punch of hops, right to the nose. They added a lot of finishing hops to this beer: Nelson Sauvin, Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial, and Ahtanum to be precise. Since finishing hops lend to the aroma of a beer, the nose on this one is particularly huge.

As for taste … it is surprisingly more balanced than expected. Without knowing the manner in which this beer was hopped, I would think that most people would expect it to be very hoppy based on the nose alone. But really, the taste is balanced and closer to the classic Amber/Red Ale style. It is malty and crisp, with a twang of hops in the finish that leaves you thirsty for more. I found this beer to be very unique, but also close enough to its style category to merit a higher grade despite the nuance.

At 5.0% ABV, here is a bright, unique Amber Ale that really does buck trends by means of the way it is hopped, but doesn’t sacrifice the style. It seems like BrewDog isn’t just throwing loads of hops into the mix just for the hell of it … perhaps they know a thing or two about the brewing process and are indeed trying to lead people towards a true expansion of the palate. I say, well done.