The 2014 Winter Olympics are about to begin in the 'resort' town of Sochi on the Black Sea in Russia. As you may know, scandal after scandal has hit the administration of president Vladimir Putin, including the Olympic site not being finished and the numerous human rights issues aimed at the LGBT populations of the country.
Publicity-seeking Scottish brewers BrewDog have decided to jump into the fray with a beer that pokes fun at Putin and seeks to aid oppressed minorities. Yes, beer for a good cause! Enter Hello My Name Is Vladimir, a double IPA with the image of Putin 'made-up' with mascara and lipstick. Oh-la-la!
Hello My Name Is Vladimir is our tongue-in-cheek, limonnik berry infused double IPA. It is the latest in our Hello My Name Is... series, but rather than continue our Scandinavian journey, we've travelled east to Russia, to poke fun at uber-hetero Vladimir Putin.
This beer is our first foray into controversy with a cause greater than our own. An ironic beer, but one backed up with some serious flavours.
On the nose there's a huge explosion of audacious liberally-minded US hops, against a robust yet elegant malt backdrop.
Flavours of malt sweetness and a touch of acidic berry sharpness combine and give way to an avalanche of lightly toasted, fruity blueberry muffin malitiness, followed by a rush of piney resinous US hops to the sides of palate.
The piece de resistance; a mind-bogglingly bitter, yet tongue- twisting tart finish, with both flavour profiles fighting it out to see who will last the longest. The result; a finish as long as a cross-country topless ski journey through Siberia.
*50% of the profits raised through this beer will go directly to charities that represent oppressed minorities around the world.
The beer looks to be a pretty offering, jokes aside, as its brew sheet declares 8.2% abv, extra pale and carapils malts, and everyone's favorite hop, citra.
The addition of limmonik berries, or Chinese magnolia vine, makes this Russian-specific, as the plant grows in Russia and when used, has a bit of a lemon and spice flavor to them. It's also said that it regarded by some Russian hunters to enhance sexual performance in men, increasing cardiovascular and respiratory functions.
Though it may be difficult to find the UK products around here, at least we can watch them on television.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger that focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow me @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.