Put up your hand if you’re a beer sommelier? Grand, stop reading now – this is not the article for you! If on the other hand you think a sommelier is a country in Africa then please read on…
Every week I’ll be reviewing three Irish craft beers without using the wank terminology adopted by our beard-stroking, plaid-wearing hipster friends, but instead give a rather frank opinion using my limited dictionary and as as few superlatives as possible.
So in the infamous words of the Fast Show’s Jesse – this week I have been mostly drinking…
1. Galway Bay Full Sail
“The simple malt bill gives an ABV of 5.8% which carries the flavour and really allows the hops to shine through. The hops used are of American origin, Colombus, El Dorado and Cascade (45 IBU). With multiple generous additions in the kettle and further dry hopped before it reaches you as fresh as it can be. The acidity and hop bitterness in this beer makes it great for standing up to most spicy dishes, such as Indian and Mexican dishes. The freshness of the beer makes for a great companion to grilled meats and barbecues.”
What I say:
Pow pow! This beer hits you in the mouth with one massive closed fist packed full of bitterness. If you’re new to the craft stuff, might be best to avoid this until you have climatised. 5.8% ABV means without careful supervision you’ll be hitting on the local munter in minutes. Some might say it smells of socks and the after taste must be akin to eating feshly pissed on grass – not me though – this is a beer that is full on taste, full on alcohol and full on delish – full sail ahead choo choo…
For more info: www.galwaybaybrewery.com
2. Blacks of Kinsale Pale Ale
“Tropical and citrus flavours are beautifully balanced with the malty sweetness. The taste dollops a smack of citrus onto the palate – grapefruit and lime – alongside more sweet pineapple and tangerine a decent little malt body fairly creamy, with definite biscuit and cake-dough sweetness and straw overall very well balanced. Clean and crisp citrus bite to finish on, which lingers for a while alongside the sweet tropical fruit notes.”
What I say:
This always makes it into my beer basket on a Friday night – like a reliable old friend this beer is a safe option, yet knows how to party hard when the mood takes it. A five percenter means this beaut is drinkable but will still slide it’s hand down your pants for a little rummage. As with most pale ales, it is definitely citrusy but lacks the bitterness of others which is refreshing – my girlfriend will even kiss me after a sup which shows a more delicate after-taste.
For more info: www.blacksbrewery.com
3. O’Hara’s Pale Ale
“A contemporary style IPA with an Irish twist. Combining the balance of European IPAs with the generous dry hopping of American pale ales (APAs), this beer is everything an IPA should be and more. Zesty and refreshingly bitter, the finish is long. With a copper toned body topped with a lightly carbonated head, the dry hopping brings an intense aroma and lasting array of fruit and floral notes.”
What I say:
Perfect! Another fruity beer, probably the most citrusy of all three. There’s no pungent, 5 day old washing basket aromas here, just that sweet smell of hops tickling my nostril hairs. That first gulp will widen eyes but just like the Kinsale above, has a lovely balanced aftertaste with not much bitterness compared to the Full Sail. I started drinking craft on this bad boy and it’s arguably one of the most widely available craft beers – and there’s one reason why – it’s the gateway beer into a whole world of hardcore hops!
For more info: www.carlowbrewing.com
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