Never Mind the Anabolics, the performance-enhancing beer from BrewDog, is reviewed by Gold Medal winner Chris Hall.
“So, what we have here is a 6.5% IPA made using creatine, guarana, ginseng, ginkgo, maca powder, matcha tea, kola nut and, allegedly, anabolic steroids.”
Never Mind the Anabolics
It’s easy to understand where BrewDog are coming from. The London 2012 Olympic Games has given the public a frequently chilling glimpse into corporate dominance of sport and culture, and the way that companies like Cadbury, Coca-Cola and McDonalds can be held up as having the Olympic Spirit is bizarre at best, sickening at worst. Not many brewers would go as far as to brew a beer using performance enhancing substances, but when one hears about a ‘steroid beer’ being released, one naturally assumes that Fraserburgh’s resident craft beer punks have something to do with it.
So, what we have here is a 6.5% IPA made using creatine, guarana, ginseng, ginkgo, maca powder, matcha tea, kola nut and, allegedly, anabolic steroids. As ever, BrewDog have made an amusing and informative video to explain (or should that be justify) their creation. The lurid pink and yellow packaging, cynical blurb (and, let’s face it, an excellent bit of wordplay for a name) immediately tell you this is a protest as much as it is a beer. I didn’t have high expectations of this beer. I thought what BrewDog had done was clever, and made a great point. I did not expect to be impressed.
Never Mind The Anabolics pours thick and coppery, with loads of foam bursting from its performance-enhanced depths. There’s a fierce, raspberry and blackberry tartness to the aroma, and a faint whiff of Blackjack sweets. There’s a little chocolate and caramel too, giving the impression of a bag of pick n mix.
The taste is just as sharp, with red berries and golden-syrupy-caramalt taking centre stage. There’s an artificial, sour-cola-bottles tang to the beer, which is actually quite pleasant, if a little bizarre. The finish is cloyingly sweet, with a big slap of bitterness that leaves your mouth sticky and feeling like you’ve just chewed down a whole Refreshers bar. I have absolutely no idea what effect all the extra ingredients have had, although I did manage to run and leap through the closing doors of the Tube train the next day. Until BrewDog put this through some clinical trials, we’ll just have to take this beer for what it is: a clever idea, a well-executed marketing gimmick, and a surprisingly pleasant beer. Not a medal-winner, but definitely a crowd-pleaser.