"These animals were road kill. We weren't killing the animals." That's the type of quote I never expected to write in the Beer Nut column when I started it nearly three years ago. But when it comes to James Watt of BrewDog, the quote makes sense. He was talking about the Scottish brewery's latest beer, the End of History.
"These animals were road kill. We weren't killing the animals."
That's the type of quote I never expected to write in the Beer Nut column when I started it nearly three years ago.
But when it comes to James Watt of BrewDog, the quote makes sense. He was talking about the Scottish brewery's latest beer, the End of History.
Each of the 12 bottles produced has a very special packaging -- real squirrels found dead on the road, brought to a taxidermist and made into the bottle covers for the newest beer.
"We only did 12 animals," said Watt. "We are huge animal fans. We spent so much time trying to explain what we wanted from the taxidermist, we had to send him a picture."
And you know what's funny? In the beer world, the fact that dead animals were used isn't the biggest controversy. That would be the alcohol by volume in the End of History. It's 55 percent alcohol by volume, or 110 proof.
To put that in perspective, a Budweiser is a little less than 5 percent ABV. A good tequila is around 40 to 45 percent ABV, or 80 to 90 proof.
On beer websites, the End of History is getting a lot of attention -- both positive and negative.
But Watt said he and his partner, Martin Dickie, are just having fun while trying to push the "boundaries of what a beer can be."
"We're a couple of young guys (both are 27) and we're having fun with what we like to do," said Watt, speaking by phone on Monday. "We want to challenge people's ideas on beers, and open their eyes in a market dominated by the monolithic beer companies. We do push the boundaries and take beers to where they've never been."
For the record, all of the End of History have already sold out. They cost slightly more than $1,000 U.S. each.
Watt said he did not expect the beer to get the attention it got -- with national television appearances and articles in many of the largest newspapers in the country.
"I didn't expect it (the reaction) to be quite as intense as it was," he said.
I haven't tasted the beer, but Watt said it is something worthy to be sipped, similar to a whiskey. It's brewed with nettles and juniper berries.
"It has hop flavors, berry flavors and the bitterness of the hops," said Watt. "You almost have to get into the mindset that you're drinking a nice whiskey."
This is the not the first time a BrewDog beer has gotten a lot of attention.
Last year, they brewed the then-strongest beer in the world, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, a 32 percent ABV imperial stout. It supplanted the Samuel Adams Utopias, which was 28 percent ABV.
However, BrewDog found itself in an ABV war with the Schorschbrau brewery from Germany, which released a 40 percent ABV beer late last year.
In February, BrewDog struck back with Sink The Bismarck! a 42 percent quadruple IPA.
"People think we brewed the beer in response to their beer, but the beer itself, we were working on it for six months," said Watt. "We thought we'd have a bit of fun with them with the name."
Earlier this year, Schorschbrau released the Schorschbock 43%, a 43 percent ABV eisbock.
Eisbocks are beers that are freeze distilled -- meaning the beer is frozen and the alcohol that is not frozen is removed, making the beer even more potent.
The End of History again topped Schorschbrau's efforts, but Watt said that's the end.
"This is our final high strength beer," he said.
BrewDog's goal, he said, is to push all extremes.
Last year, in response to controversy about an 18 percent ABV beer they brewed, they released a beer called Nanny State, which was .5 percent ABV, but had more hops than a double IPA. They're also working on a Belgian quad brewed with vanilla beans.
"For us, its important...to push the boundaries in all different ways," said Watt. "We don't want to just do it with high alcohol."
Norman Miller is a MetroWest Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, e-mail email@example.com or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut/ or follow the Beer Nut at his Twitter page at www.twitter.com/realbeernut.