As with everything else, it was Warren Ellis’s fault. Back in 2009, he blogged about Punk IPA. He then went on to write up several other delicious-sounding beers, culminating with a discount code. The OTT marketing tickled me, so I ordered up a few bits and was soon a confirmed fan. I didn’t order as regularly from the website as I would have liked to, though, as their shipping prices added just a little too much of a premium to each order. So when they advertised their second round of Equity for Punks in 2011, one of the perks of which is a 20% discount on the online shop, I decided to cash in my work share options for a (tiny) stake in Brewdog. The second Equity for Punks round coincided with the recent Craft Beer boom, and has provided the company with enough capital to build a new brewery and open a bunch of new bars up and down the country but, most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to purchase and drink the fine booze that Brewdog make and sell slightly earlier than you peasants.
All of which is to say that I have a minuscule financial interest in this beer, and therefore you should treat with suspicion everything I have to say about it.
5am Saint is not my favourite Brewdog ale. That is Dead Pony Club, which is a wonderfully herby, hoppy Pale Ale in the Californian style, at a reasonably conversational 3.8% ABV. But Pony is a recent addition to the Brewdog stable, and before her arrival my loyalties were pretty evenly divided between Punk and Saint. I enjoy the refreshing bite of Punk, but at 5.6% it’s not really a session beer. The maltier 5am Saint is closer to the ales I grew up with, and the half a percent lower ABV makes a surprising difference. I find Saint more comforting, Punk more challenging, and there’s a time and a place for both.
While we’re on the subject it’s probably worth giving a shout out to Nanny State, Brewdog’s remarkably tasty low-alcohol offering. As you’d expect, it’s heavily hopped and has a dry bitterness, but admittedly does lack body. That said, it’s vastly better than any other low ABV beer I’ve tasted, and I always try to have a few in the shed now I live somewhere that most civilised folk have to drive to.