|Carlow Brewing Co, Curim Gold (Ireland) |
(RP) An Irish interpretation of a wheat beer, it is pale bronze in colour with a creamy, nutty, peppery and spicy aroma. Creamy and nutty malt dominate the palate with a pronounced cobnuts taste. The finish continues the nutty and creamy malt theme but is balanced by a late burst of hops. Malt: high. Fruit: high. Hops: low. 4.3% ABV, 50cl, O'Neill's Pubs, Sainsbury's (NI).
|Carlow Brewing Co, Moling's Celtic Beer (Ireland) |
(RP) A copper-red, traditional Irish ale. It has a rich caramel and 'fruit and nuts' chocolate aroma. Hops break through powerfully in the mouth and give surprising bitterness to balance the sweet malt and tangy fruit. The finish is dry, with bitter hops, juicy malt and orange/citrus fruit. Malt: high. Fruit: moderate. Hops: moderate to high. 4.3% ABV, 50cl, O'Neill's Pubs, Sainsbury's (NI).
|Carlow Brewing Co, O'Hara's Celtic Stout (Ireland) |
(RP) This beer won both a gold medal and a championship trophy in the Brewing Industry International Awards in 2000. It has a rich cappuccino coffee nose with notes of roasted grain, liquorice and berry fruits. Rich grain and tart, bitter hops dominate the palate with powerful hints of blackcurrant fruit. The finish is bitter and hoppy, with tart fruit and coffee notes. Malt: high. Fruit high. Hops: moderate to high. 4.3% ABV, 50cl, O'Neill's Pubs, Sainsbury's (NI).
|Dublin Brewing, (for Marks & Spencer) Irish Stout (Ireland) |
Brewed for M&S by the Dublin Brewing Company, this is a midnight-black beer that pours with a dense, cappuccino-coloured head. The nose is classic Irish stout, with burnt toast, notes of roasted coffee and malt, an ede of liquorice and suggestion of plump, dark raisins. In the mouth it is full-bodied, smooth and rich with a very nice bitter hop character giving a real edge to dark, sumptuous roasted, nutty flavours and chocolaty depth. A fine stout by any standards. 4.5% ABV, 50cl, £1.99, Marks & Spencer.
|Finbarr's, Irish Draught Stout (Ireland) |
This is a widget-enabled "draught" stout in cans, made exclusively for the Aldi supermarket chain. On popping the ringpull the widget does its thing and this pours in a chocolaty stream that settles over the next minute into an opaque black body and thick, creamy head. I chilled this quite well, and on the nose it was rather neutral, with a hint of sweet mollasses. On the palate the thick dense texture is smooth, but the flavour remains rather subdued. A little bittersweet tang does develop, but it is rather unexciting, if cheap and palatable. 4.1% ABV, 44cl, £2.99 X 4, Aldi.
|Guinness, Foreign Extra Stout (Ireland) |
This version of Guinness may be called “export” but it’s often difficult to find in Britain. It’s currently available in Sainsbury’s so my advice would be to buy several bottles and lay some down for future enjoyment.
Foreign Extra Stout (FES) is a palpable link with brewing practice in the 19th century. One beer destined for blending is matured in the Dublin brewery for up to three months. During that period it picks up a slightly sour and lactic character. It’s then blended with fresh young stout and the bottles are held in the brewery for a further month to allow the flavours to meld.
FES is brewed with pale malt, 25% flaked barley and 10% roasted barley. Galena, Nugget and Target hop varieties create a mighty 60 units of bitterness. The finished beer has the slightly sour and musty aroma that brewers call “horse blanket” and is the result of action by the yeast during the long maturation of the older beer. The aroma is complex, with bitter roasted grain, a woody and vinous note and spicy hop resins. The palate is bitter from roasted grain and hops, balanced by dark fruit, with a long, dry and bitter finish with hints of liquorice and dark mysterious fruits, including something akin to sour bananas.
FES is the base for the strong versions of Guinness brewed for the Belgian market and for Africa. For Africa, a dehydrated hopped wort is sent from Dublin and is blended with a pale beer made from barley malt and sorghum.
2009 marks the 250th anniversary of Guinness brewery in Dublin and there is no better way to salute Arthur Guinness than raising a glass of FES.
Malt: high. Hops: high. Fruit:high.
7.5% ABV, 33cl, £1.49, Sainsbury's.
|Guinness, Original Stout (Ireland) |
This is an Irish-brewed version of Guiness, said to be superior to the "draught" version available in cans. It pours a very dark amber which is almost black, with a coffee-coloured head. The nose is biscuity rather than very dark and malty, with a nice hoppy edge. On the palate it is smooth and creamy-textured, though not as dense as draught Guinness, with a big raft of bitter, burnt, dark-roasted flavours. There's a suggestion of something figgy and rich, but this is quite a clean, with a hop bitterness and good acidity in the finish. This doesn't have the depth of the best bottled stouts, but is very good. It is also available in cans. 4.3% ABV, 50cl, £1.19 - £1.49, Majestic, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, quite widely available.
|Strangford Lough, Barelegs (Ireland) |
(RP) This has a gold colour with a light bronze touch and is brewed with pale and lager malts. The hops are First Gold, Northern Brewer and Perle. The nose has citrus fruits - oranges and tangerines - on the aroma
balanced by biscuity malt. Hops break through in the mouth with bitter and resiny notes, balanced by juicy malt. The rich and complex finish has sappy malt, bitter hops and tangy fruit. Malt: moderate. Fruit: high. Hops: moderate to high. 4.5% ABV, 50cl, O'Neill's Pubs, Sainsbury's (NI).
|Strangford Lough, Legbiter (Ireland) |
(RP) Legbiter is gold/bronze in colour and is brewed with pale and lager malts and hopped with First Gold, Goldings, Northern Brewer and Styrian Goldings hops. The nose has a rich lemon zest aroma with spicy hop
resins and biscuity malt. There is a powerful punch of bitter, peppery Goldings in the mouth balanced by tart citrus fruit and juicy malt. The long finish is dry and intensely bitter but the hops are balanced by citrus fruit and juicy malt. Refreshing and delicious.
Malt: moderate. Fruit: high. Hops: intense. 4.8% ABV, 50cl, O'Neill's Pubs, Sainsbury's (NI).
|Strangford Lough, St Patrick's Best (Ireland) |
(RP) St Patrick's Best is brewed with the addition of shamrocks (a nice Irish touch!) to pale, crystal and black malts, with Challenger, First Gold and Goldings hops. It has a pale amber colour and has a herbal, grassy and
floral aroma with spicy hop notes. Tangy fruit, juicy malt and spicy hops join forces on the tongue while the long finish has herbs, tart fruit, juicy malt and bitter, peppery hops.
Malt: high. Fruit: high. Hops: moderate to high. 3.8% ABV, 50cl, O'Neill's Pubs, Sainsbury's (NI).