Guest Post: Tasting Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink The Bismark Back-to-Back

Katie from Gonzo Gastronomy had the good fortune to taste BrewDog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink The Bismark back-to-back earlier this week and has lived to tell about it.  And (unlike me) she appreciates these beers for what they are – a raw, visceral head-pounding good time.  Her account is below in the way only she can tell it – Enjoy!  – Jim

When you woke up from the piss-water slumber you were living in since the time you were a teenager armed with a fake ID, and realized there are quality beers being made out there that taste nothing like the swill you were funneling, it required a certain amount of “letting go” of what you thought beer was supposed to taste like. Then, at some point, if you continued your rites of passage into the world of craft brews, you encountered things like lambics and Flemish reds that, once again, challenged what beer was “supposed” to taste like, and threw everything you thought you knew about beer squarely out the window. In fact, I can bet that your first sips of those types of beers were probably accompanied by something along the lines of, “What the HELL is that? Is the bottle skunked or something? Jesus that’s sour!”

No one had ever programmed “sour” into the list of beer flavor profiles in that cobweb-filled brain of yours, and damned if that didn’t screw your whole mojo up. I got over that by actually forgetting the label of “beer” and just letting go of all preconceived notions. Truth be told, I pretended I was drinking a funky wine, and that fixed everything.

The same holds true for drinking über-high-octane beers. Trying your first one usually singes a few nose hairs and you stand there wondering why you’re not getting any head (not a far stretch for many of you). But when you taste it, it’s tough to put aside the heat of the alcohol in order to concentrate on the flavors, simply because your brain isn’t used to “heat” and “beer” at the same time. I had the chance to try BrewDog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismarck earlier this week thanks to a good friend who owns a bar in Brooklyn that hosted BrewDog.

Sink! with the cork popped and the bag on (that sounds kinda bad, eh?)

When Jim reviewed Penguin, he called it unbalanced and crude compared to Utopias. And while I’ve apparently got carte blanche to call him an idiot for that, I won’t, no matter how much fun it might be to do so. HOWEVER, though I agree that a few months in a port cask would probably do wonders for this beer, I actually enjoyed it, and perhaps the fact that I’ve never had Utopias was a plus, cuz I had no comparison to make.

Its nose was that of a spirit, no doubt, but it tasted like the imperial stout it was born from. And while I realize that comparisons are inevitable when you spend a lifetime tasting craft brews, it’s a disservice to the beer you are tasting to make them. I happen to love White Castle sliders. They’re a pale comparison to a well-made angus burger, but when I have one, I’m not thinking about that angus burger…I’m just groovin’ on the White Castle. It’s tiny, steamed, cooked through and probably doesn’t contain much actual beef, but I don’t really give a shit—it’s good. So although Penguin may not hold up to Utopias, that’s not necessarily a fault, just a personality trait.

A rare sight - TNP and STB ready and waiting to blow your mind!

I can’t say I enjoyed Bismarck quite as much, though. I’m a big fan of super-hoppy IPAs, but the fact is, when you throw all those hops on a high-alcohol beer, it nearly knocked me over. It felt as if I had just stuck my head in a kettle of IPA wort and come up with hop cones stuck in my nasal passages—too much of a good thing. But others around me seemed to dig it. In the end, Jim may prefer a Bugatti, but I guess I’m a rocket-powered grocery cart dragster kinda chick, despite the fact that it’s probably not the most satisfying vehicle to drive, because satisfaction is a relative term—when you’re racing down a tar-paved road in one of those dragsters, with the wind in your hair and the threat of a skin-tearing wipe out at every curve, that’s a shitload of fun in my book.

Check out Katie’s blog for her authentic, unvarnished and always entertaining take on the world of food, wine, beer and other earthly delights.  We’re big fans and think you’ll be, too.

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Beer, Guest Post, Lifestyle


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

Join the Madness

Like beer? Like whiskey? Like goofing off? Follow Us!

18 Comments on “Guest Post: Tasting Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink The Bismark Back-to-Back”

  1. Don
    March 19, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Wow! Great job Katie, and despite what you say I still think Jim is an Idiot! I even capitalized it because I think he takes it to that level! I would love to get a taste, better yet a bottle, of each of these brews. Question on the Bismark, does it need refrigeration? and does it come in a resealable bottle? I can’t imagine drinking a whole one in one sitting, unless I wanted to get drunk off my ass from one bottle of beer.

    • March 19, 2010 at 10:38 am #

      Thanks for the caps, Bro. It really means a lot to me.

      I know TNP comes in a metal-capped 12oz bottle, and I think it’s the same for Bismark. There’s all sorts of cool packaging around them, but they’re bottled just like Tokyo or Paradox. I bet you wish you could get your hands on a Tokyo as well…

      • Don
        March 19, 2010 at 11:04 am #

        Ooooo. No You Di’n’t!

      • Don
        March 19, 2010 at 11:04 am #

        Seriously dude don’t tease me!

      • March 19, 2010 at 11:14 am #

        You’re right, it’s not cool to build up expectations like that. Imagine how disappointed you’d be when you open the box. Or not. Or maybe.

        • Don
          March 19, 2010 at 11:18 am #

          Seriously! I’m trying to concentrate, and you are making me all woogy (another word I invented like Bagoon). I just have to put it out of my mind and let go and focus on my work…OK I suppose I should stop checking the blog…just a thought.

        • March 19, 2010 at 11:29 am #

          Good Idea. What would the Founders of your company think! They’d probably call you a heretic or chalk it up to Insanity. I’m gonna stop dropping Nuggets about what nectars are in the box. Good thing I didn’t send it to Kyoto (or another Japanese city), cause the waiting would turn you into a curmudgeon!

        • Don
          March 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

          Yeah…Good thing!

    • Katie
      March 19, 2010 at 10:43 am #

      1. Yes, it was served cooled but not COLD. 2. Yup, it comes with a resealable top. I’m an idiot cuz i took some photos (crappy cuz they were with the iphone). I’ll send to jim so he can post!

    • March 19, 2010 at 10:54 am #

      Got the pics and put them up. You’re like a real journalist and stuff, taking pics and everything!

  2. March 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    I’m still waiting on my to ship. They were supposed to come a while back but they had a lower yield than expected. The consolation prize was adding a bottle of Tokyo for free. The new order date was supposed to ship on the 16th, so I’m wondering what’ happening now. I don’t know how long I’ll hold them before tasting and in which company I’ll do so. However, I have my own stuff cooking right now that will be uber. Plenty to drink in the meantime but I want my crap.

    • March 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

      I guess patience is required with uber beers. Speaking of which, how’s yours coming Mike? Last I heard it was icing.

    • Don
      March 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

      How is your Eisbock coming? Will it be high ABV?

      • March 19, 2010 at 9:35 pm #


        It’s going very well. I just posted about it on the site. I’ve got 4 more to follow, so I’m going to unveil the whole thing yet…partly because it’s eisbocking still. However, it’s going well and it is very high on the ABV. I think I’m going to cut it off within the next few days and have some results to share. I’ve written all but the last post and am spacing them out.

  3. Don
    March 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    So Katie, now that you have been so good as to do a guest post here on Beer and Whiskey Brothers, I guess to follow precedent we should attack you viciously on your next blog post on Gonzo Gastronomy…no?

    • March 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

      More than normal, or like we usually do?

      • Don
        March 19, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

        No Jim, not embarrass ourselves. Attack her…verbally of course…in writing…you know in the comments … of her blog…just leave it to me.

    • Katie
      March 20, 2010 at 8:08 am #

      I wouldn’t call this an attack, per se, just a nuggy or something. And i was invited to do so, i might add 🙂 But sure, feel free…jim already claims to hate the Duchesse I love, LOL!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: