Beer Profile: Punk IPA by BrewDog

Profiled by Ken Carman

This is a simple beer so it will be a simple review. Yes, it’s an IPA. Just a regular IPA. No real hop flavor. Typical grapefruit nose and pale malt way behind that. NOTHING else. To the taste bitter dominant and, again, pale malt way behind that. Nothing else.

Mouthfeel is tad thin and bitter aftertaste fades fast. Medium carbonation. Nothing else.

Appearance: medium yellow, white frothy head. Nothing else except decent clarity.

I think this is exactly what it’s supposed to be and nothing more. I see nothing “punk” about it. It’s boring, it takes no risks. In a competition I would praise it for it’s simplicity but want the brewer to seek at least a hint more complexity just to provide something here worth latching onto. I simply could not go with a 4. 3.8 on BA and untappd.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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GrowlerWerks: The PouroMancer at Home

What I’m setting out to write here is a big damned subject, with tangents and tributaries and tentacles. This could, very easily, go on for the same length as a novelette. And I – not exactly someone who is known for brevity – has to try to keep it some length that you can read without taking a nap in the middle.

Wish me luck…

About five years ago, I started to get inquiries – a lot of inquiries! – from folks who were intrigued/confused by the new and booming subject of steel thermal growlers. There were not many of them available, at the time, and I finally got enough emails, asking for my recommendation, that I began to read up on them. Curiously, about that same moment, makers of these started sending queries, asking if I would be willing to try theirs and maybe review it. The coincidence was hard to ignore, so I started replying and saying yes. Three arrived right away. The first of them was just a flat-out Fail: hard to close, harder to open, imperfect seal, didn’t keep beer effervescent for more than a day, broke easily. The third was better but still tricky to use and dented if you looked at it. Fail, Part Deux.

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Popular Beer and Wine Brands Contaminated With Monsanto’s Weedkiller, Tests Reveal

The past few years have revealed some disturbing news for the alcohol industry. In 2015, CBS news broke the announcement of a lawsuit against 31 brands of wines for high levels of inorganic arsenic. In 2016, beer testing in Germany also revealed residues of glyphosate in every single sampletested, even independent beers. Moms Across America released test results of 12 California wines that were all found to be positive for glyphosate in 2016. We tested further and released new findings last week of glyphosate in all of the most popular brands of wines in the world, the majority of which are from the U.S., and in batch test results in American beer.

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IPA Without Hops

Beer wouldn’t be possible without the fabulous fungus that is yeast, which converts sugars into alcohol through fermentation. Scientists from the University of California-Berkeley have figured out how to make the microbe do double duty and add hoppy flavors to a lab-made pale ale that didn’t include any actual hops in the recipe.

Two (presumably beer-loving) scientists first isolated the various oils naturally produced by hops, the flowers of the Humulus lupulus plant, which gives hoppy beer its bitter flavor. Then, they sought out other plants that naturally produce these same oils, and isolated the genes responsible. Once those genes were isolated, the scientists used them to genetically modify the DNA of brewer’s yeast so that the fungi would produce the same bitter oils. After a number of trial brews, they found that genes from a mint and basil worked best when spliced into a strain of brewer’s yeast.

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‘Juicy or Hazy’ Ales Debut in BA Beer Style Guide, Representing New England IPAs

Hazy New England IPAThe Brewers Association, publishers of and the trade organization to protect and promote small brewers, has released its 2018 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines. The release includes a trio of beer styles identified in the guidelines and Brewers Association competitions as “Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale,” “Juicy or Hazy IPA” and “Juicy or Hazy Double IPA.” These styles represent what some beer geeks and brewers popularly refer to as New England IPAs or Hazy IPAs.

The addition of “Juicy or Hazy” ales are among several other updates to the 2018 Brewers Association’s Beer Style Guidelines. The annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) 2018 competition in September will be the first national competition which will include the new style guidelines.

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Judging Advice from Kristen England

Firstly, this is a personal message, not from the BJCP in the least. I’ve a few morning thoughts back from a weekend of judging and things I’m noticing more and more over the last few competitions that I’ve been stewing on…over…whatever.

Secondly, this got long…

– The first thing you should do when you sit at a table is introduce yourself. It should not be trying to see who is the highest rank nor to say how important you are. Continue reading “Judging Advice from Kristen England”

Beer, Wine, & Spirits: The Dominance of The Middle Class


Recently, when students walked out and protested, I’ve been seeing a lot of memes and commentary comparing them to sheep and claiming they are simply being encouraged by teachers or parents. Anyone even remotely familiar with teens knows if parents or teens encourage often teens reactions are the opposite.

Did some follow a trend, or the crowd? Yup. What’s new there, huh?

I studied to be a teacher and was a sub for a while so I have mixed feelings here. No teacher should ever encourage any student to skip school, no matter what the cause. If I were principal, yes, I would give them ISS or detention, but not because they expressed their opinion. It’s a matter of consistency. However if it was an attitude problem: a student walking out out of disrespect, the penalty would be more severe.

There’s a balance here: respecting and encouraging them to have opinions, think through opinions which is why in classroom discussions are important.

I think those who simply want to let it go are wrong, but those who think ALL these students are mindless have forgotten the nature of teens. Teens don’t think through as well as they should sometimes, but thinking and expressing are the best avenue to adulthood. So just calling them names and insulting their intelligence is no more than demanding they DON’T think.

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Brew in a Bag: To Squeeze or Not to Squeeze

This homebrew experiment was originally published as “Brew in a Bag: The Impact Squeezing the Bag has on Beer Character” on

I recently switched from the batch sparge brewing method where I used a converted cooler MLT with a stainless braided hose to an electric Brew In A Bag (eBIAB) setup, which caused me for the first time to consider a curiously oft debated issue– whether or not squeezing the grain bag following the mash impacted the quality of the finished beer. Initially, the thought of squeezing a full bag of sopping grains suspended over my kettle wasn’t very appealing to me, largely because I prefer cleanliness and precision when brewing, and bag squeezing seemed like a good way to make a mess while simultaneously being less than predictable.

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Belfries and Beers in Bruges

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Ethereal cobblestone lanes, canals, medieval Flemish architecture, magnificent squares that recall the wealth and power of the merchant class, secluded parks, and even a few windmills make for an enchanting ambience you won’t find in many other cities. Bruges’ urban landscape and narrow alleys also conceal many a beer café gem where you can relax from the hard work of sightseeing and eating all that Belgian chocolate. Add to that the stately belfry, the Groeninge Museum with its Flemish art collection, and the Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde in the shadow of De Halve Maan Brewery and you have more than a few reasons to unpack your luggage. An even longer stay opens up the possibility of day trips to some of the smaller beer towns in West Flanders to offset the sobriety of the First World War battlefields you might also visit. If time is tight, fear not: Bruges is a mere hour away from Brussels by train.

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A Beer Judge’s Diary- Peach State Brew Off

By Ken Carman
 This edition will be short. Stay tuned: I will explain why.
 I have never judged at this competition before for various reasons. I used to tour through Atlanta with my kid shows and educational activities. I stopped touring because of Atlanta traffic is wild and crazy, rush hour traffic amounting to parking lots and many of the places hiring me kept shifting ownership almost weekly. I’d book a program and three weeks later I’d walk in to new owners and, “Who are you?”
 Atlanta is a crazy busy, exploding outward town. The closer you get to Atlanta the harder it is to find reasonable motels more than questionable quality. There are plenty of great places, but very pricey. Why? Demand is high.
 The resorts I used to stay at were far out of town. There used to be free camping on Allatoona Lake to the north, but to save money the state shut them down. The short but simple face was, business-wise, it started to make less and less sense. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary- Peach State Brew Off”