Dead Pony Pale Ale, beer review

BrewDog’s Californian-style IPA is as relaxed and carefree as the provenance of its hops, writes Ray Philp

Published 8th Mar 2015
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

Brewery: BrewDog
Style: Californian Pale Ale
Abv: 3.8%

BrewDog is Scotland’s pre-eminent craft beer brewery. In the eight years that the firm has been brewing in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, it has expanded exponentially. James Watt and Martin Dickie, who founded the company in 2007, are about to open a second BrewDog bar in Glasgow’s Merchant City (other locations include, but are not limited to, Edinburgh, London, Stockholm, Helsinki, Barcelona, Sao Paolo, and Tokyo).

These new bars underscore the popularity of BrewDog’s range of beers, which are as likely to be bought in supermarkets as they are in specialist retailers. It is making steady gains towards the sort of success embodied by the companies that it has long pitched itself in opposition to, but BrewDog has never lost its irreverent streak, even with its increasingly global profile. (In February last year, they mockingly dedicated a beer to Vladimir Putin, which described itself, in the supposed voice of the Russian president, in this way: “I am a beer for uber hetero men who ride horses while topless and carrying knives. I am a beer to mark the 2014 Winter Olympics. But I am not for gays.”)

BrewDog’s internationalism has been, Putin-baiting apart, a reflection of a desire to expand its horizons—whether that happens to be in the shape of a new bar, or, as is the case with BrewDog’s Dead Pony Pale Ale, the creation of an American-style pale ale. Made from “an insane amount of west coast hops,” Dead Pony Pale Ale is, even for the non-craft beer drinker, an accessible proposition. Available in bottles and cans (the latter container better preserves the hops), Dead Pony Pale Ale is a beer that trades in BrewDog’s signature pugnaciousness for something smoother - a type that is far removed from something like, say, a wheat beer, but one that makes its punchy floral aroma easier to handle. At 3.8 per cent, Dead Pony Pale Ale is sippable for sustained periods (a good “session” ale, in other words) but its functionality underplays an impressive complexity.

Ray Philp has been at the Scotsman since 2011. Since then, he has written widely about music in magazines such as Red Bull Music Academy Magazine and Resident Advisor, and was a former editor and regular contributor at The Skinny magazine.
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