BrewDog Hello My Name is Vladimir, 8.2% abv double IPA
With all the interest in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, attention has thankfully once again been drawn to Russia’s staggeringly backwards anti-gay propaganda law, a deliberately ambiguous piece of legislation routinely used to crush the freedom of speech and personal expression of Russia’s LGBT population. The recent protests against this law and the support of those victimised by it have been at times both heart warmingly moving and painfully funny. The Scottish beer punks at BrewDog reacted as only they could, with a new beer, some prize worthy piss taking, and the donation of fifty percent of the beers profits to charities that represent oppressed minorities.
Hello My Name is Vladimir is a double IPA brewed with limonnik berries and a good splurge of irreverence, that shocking pink label depicting an eyeshadow and lipstick wearing Vladimir Putin is a thing of wonder, and even better, they got Russia’s chief Dobby the House-Elf impersonator himself to write the bottle blurb! Honest. It’s absolutely not a parody, no siree…
So, am I hetero enough to tackle this bare chested brew? I shred my vest with a flex of my swoon inducing pecs, pop the bottle cap with naught but a glare, and get ready to find out.
The pour is a beautiful dark amber, the head as white as snow. I inhale and I’m met with an assault of full frontal aromas, mixed citrus, gummy bears, tropical fruit juice, peach cobbler, and plenty of floral notes (but from manly flowers, like GRRR-aniums!)
I take a sip. It’s sweet, juicy and fruity, a tropical fruit punch (but a manly tropical fruit punch, an uppercut to the taste buds) full of grapefruit, lemon zest, mango, peach, pineapple, and dew laden grass on a bright spring morning. There’s a big caramel malty backbone running through this that brings a great balance, and the finish is long and bitter. The silky smooth texture together with the soft carbonation and full body deliver a delightful mouthfeel, like an oil massage for your mouth.
Now I wouldn’t know a limonnik berry if one was dancing around on my laptop keyboard, but this beer seems to follow the trend of it’s fruit infused cousins in the “Hello My Name is… ” series in that the fruit isn’t meant to be the dominant flavour, but rather add an extra layer to the already complex profile of those gloriously aromatic hops. It’s a lovely beer, and very much a BrewDog style DIPA. If you like hopped up, malty, and bittersweet brews bursting with tropical fruit flavours give it a go if you can find it. And as long as you’re totally not gay or anythin’.
A beer may not change laws or attitudes, but it can help raise awareness of those living in a poisonous political climate. A place where homosexuality is something the state deems perverse and corrupting. A beer can also help fund organisations that aim to give hope and help to oppressed minorities, and to let them know that there are people out there who support them and wish them all the luck in the world in finding the happiness and acceptance they deserve. Cheers.