Tasty gifts for cool dads

This is the month to give dads the special recognition they deserve.

Dads are often derided for their dancing or indulged when they retreat to the boat or shed for a few hours of solitude. So time to forget these stereotypes and give him something modern and cool for Father’s Day, 21 June.

If he likes to relax with a beer in his hand and a real ale at that, the BrewDog brewery near Aberdeen, Scotland has come up with Punk IPA with a distinctive blue, black and white label on the bottle.

Punk IPA begins

The brewery started in 2007 as a real-ale dream by two men, James Watt and Martin Dickie, and a dog. Most of the new boutique breweries focus on being a ‘better’ real ale for a local market. In comparison, BrewDog has been a whirlwind of expansion spurred on by innovative marketing, constant product development and expanding distribution.

In 2007, the two men and the dog brewed 1,000 hectolitres per annum. In 2009 they moved to a new eco-friendly facility near Aberdeen, had 29 staff, had recruited 1,300 shareholders, real-ale enthusiasts, to fund the expansion and increased brewing to 9,500 hectolitres a year.

By 2014 there were 358 employees, 15,000 shareholders, 90,000 hectolitres brewed, they owned six bars extending from Edinburgh to trendy areas of London like Camden and Clapham and exported to 55 countries.

World’s strongest beer

Provocative marketing included competing to create the strongest beer in the world at over 38 per cent (compared with 37.5 per cent for UK standard spirits), which brought media coverage and attention from industry watchdogs.

The bar strategy is great tasting beers “at prices where you can indulge in everything that is great about craft beer and be introduced to a world of beer you never knew existed”. To support this they brewed over 30 different beers last year.

Punk IPA, their main brand, is a post-modern, 5.6 per cent real ale. It is made with new-world hops, mainly from the US, and tastes great.

My sailing club tasting panel said, “Nice light brown colour, clear and mildly sparkling, good head, citrusy, an unusual extra flavour (which turned out to be lychee), spikey bitter finish and real ale after taste.”

So they liked it – and so did I. Refreshing and noticeably lighter than other strong five to six per cent real ale brews, yet classic enough to be on the shelves in my local (Surrey) Waitrose at £1.65 per 330ml bottle.

For their full range and list of barscheck out www.brewdog.com

Winning gin

Gin is the latest spirit popular among the young, so if your dad appreciates a premium gin Adnams of Southwold (the only brewer in UK making spirits on the same premises) has just repackaged its Copper House Gin with a trendy, vibrant design screen-printed on to the bottle. The colour tones are predominantly sea or sky blue and the bottle is very good-looking and tactile.

The gin is 40 per cent and was judged the World’s Best Gin at the 2013 Wine & Spirit Competition. It’s made from East Anglian barley with juniper and only five other botanicals to create a fine London gin taste of juniper with sweet orange and sharp hibiscus.

It can be sourced from Adnams own Cellar & Kitchen stores, mainly in East Anglia, in London at 30 Store Street WC1E 7QE (near Goodge Street tube station) or online from www.adnams.co.uk. Expect to pay £27 per 70cl bottle.

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