I’ve heard it all before on Brewdog — “They say they’re punk, but actually, they’re a multi-million quid company”, “They say they’re punk, but what about this dodgy thing I heard about their gold cans”, and so on.
Yes, they get a lot of shtick and at this point they’re more comparable with a fancy Wetherspoons than Anarchy in the UK , but I honestly believe they’re still one of Scotland’s best breweries going.
Without Punk IPA and the impact it had on Scottish beer, I simply don’t believe we’d have the huge variety of fantastic breweries making incredible brewskies like we have nowadays.
But is Punk IPA still the reigning champion of Scottish IPAs?
I put a tin of the blue stuff up against three other IPAs from breweries across Scotland, in this case Moray, the Highlands and Dundee, to see if they were top of the hops.
For my test, I had a tin of Punk IPA first, and then sampled each of these three beers.
I hadn’t had a punk in quite some time actually, so I was really happy to find that it’s still a very, very good IPA, even in a can and not on draft.
For comparison’s sake, I’d rate my punk a solid 4/5.
AKA IPA, Cromarty Brewing Co
- £3.80 from the brewery’s website for a 440ml can
- Cromarty Brewing Company, Cromarty
- Style: West Coast IPA
First up to test was a big can of AKA IPA from Cromarty.
This beautiful brew won the World Beer Awards UK IPA category in 2016, and it most certainly deserved it.
It wears its colours on its sleeve, or rather its can artwork, as you get hit in the face immediately by pleasantly green-flavoured, resinous bitterness from the hops.
(Side note, I’m not going to ever get into types of hops in these reviews if I can help it, as that’s really just a bit too nerdy even for me).
At 6.7% it’s quite a lot stronger than a good old-fashioned Punk IPA, and it’s a lot more of it too in the 440ml can that I had.
But it was just absolutely brilliant, and I’m sorry to say James Watt if you’re reading this, but Cromarty has you beat here.
Flight Path, 71 Brewing
- £3.50 from the brewery’s website for a 440ml can
- 71 Brewing co, Dundee
- Style: IPA
Compared to Punk and AKA IPA from Cromarty, this IPA from 71 Brewing in Dundee is much more dry.
It’s a darker colour, and quite a bit more cloudy too.
At 6.1% it’s got a pleasant booziness to it, and tasted to me more like your traditional IPAs of yesteryear like Deuchars than the American-influenced Punk (and its imitators).
Really enjoyed this, but in sad news for 71 Brewing I honestly preferred my can of punk to this one.
Typhoon, Windswept Brewing co
- £2.80 for a 330ml bottle on the website
- Windswept Brewing Co, Lossiemouth
- Style: Single Hopped IPA
This IPA from Windswept, which is fast becoming a new favourite brewery of mine, tasted very much along the same lines as Punk IPA.
It’s also scored a couple of awards, including a Great Taste two-star sticker.
I found it tasted a bit stronger in terms of bitterness than Punk IPA, and a little bit more dry, which I don’t think will be genuinely that widely appealing to a lot of people, but for me it just cinched it.
Sorry Brewdog, but it’s another IPA I can honestly say I prefer to Punk.