Category Archives: Beer

Desperados Red, Tequila, Guarana & Cachaca Flavoured Beer, 6%

Talk about a cultural mish-mash!

Tequila from Mexico, Guarana & Cachaca from Brazil, licenced in the Netherlands, made in Poland & sold in Ireland – where it seems to have cornered the market as it’s everywhere!

Desperately red! c/othewhiskeynut

Sadly the drinking experience leaves a little to be desired.

More a chemical concoction than Cachaca cutey.

What’s in this? c/othewhiskeynut

Sweeter than the Original – & obviously redder – I’m not sure how many fresh natural ingredients graced this beer.

But as it’s the only Tequila, Guarana & Cachaca beer in town – I had to give it a go.

Sláinte

Galway Bay, Märzen To The Fire, 5.5%

Smoke isn’t exclusively either peat – nor restricted to whiskey.

The fuel used to dry the barley – or other grains – imparts a wide variety of flavours to the resultant beverage.

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Smokin’ c/othewhiskeynut

For this Galway Bay Märzen – a popular style of German lager – beechwood is the choice.

I was keen to sample the results.

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Beechwood smoked. c/othewhiskeynut

There’s an element of trompe l’oeil going on here.

You expect a dark, heavy ale – but get a light, refreshing lager overlaid with a soft, attractive wood fired smokiness.

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Ingredients c/othewhiskeynut

An excellent accompaniment to those lazy sunny afternoon BBQ’s.

Sláinte

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Desperado Original, Tequila Flavoured Beer, 5.9%

Well – I had to try it.

After exploring whiskey barrel aged beers I searched for tequila equivalents  – and ended up with this.

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Desperado? c/othewhiskeynut

A tequila flavoured beer by Heineken – of all people.

Now lawsuits were threatened over the use of the word ‘Tequila’ by the Mexican Tequila Regulation Board – CRT.

Tequila is a strictly defined category of alcoholic drinks made in Mexico from the blue agave plant – which Desperado clearly is not.

The brand is readily available in Ireland.

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Desperate! c/othewhiskeynut

Golden straw in colour, lively head.

Decidedly empty on the flavour front.  A hint of sweet oranges & a chemically aftertaste.

No depth, no body & definitely no agave.

At 5.9% it’s deceptively light.

Not a pleasant drinking experience.

Desperate.

Sláinte

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Wray & Nephew, Overproof Rum, 63%

My journey into Rum was signposted by a particular flavour – Jamaican funk.

Several rums had given me a burnt rubber note – not particularly enjoyable.

One rum kept being mentioned – Wray & Nephew Overproof – and here it was before me.

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Time to get funky? c/othewhiskeynut

Said to be the epitome of Jamaican funk.

Would it deliver?

Or was my palate just not amenable?

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Enjoy! c/othewhiskeynut

The clean, clear & fresh non aged rum possessed a vegetal earthiness combined with a richness – like a Jamaica Cake – that pulled me in.

Surprisingly easy on the palate. A sweet, smooth & ripe fruitiness together with that funkiness – reminiscent of the gorgeous Brett Saison from Wide St Brewing – but without the bubbles!

Brett Saison
Brett Saison c/oWideStreetBrewing

The 63% alcohol made it’s presence felt on the finish – and those fruity flavours danced merrily away for a long time.

Overproof isn’t over cooked,

It’s a fantastically balanced rum displaying complex flavours , richness & depth.

I think I just got funky!

Slàinte

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Seven Stills, Czar Whiskey, 47%

This was too good to miss.

A random whiskey photo on Twitter caught my eye.

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c/o@AyeWhisky

Just what was Czar?

After a bit of messaging & a whiskey swap – the Czar was mine!

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Czar sample! c/othewhiskeynut

I got stuck in.

Golden brown colour with very thick legs.

Odd beery nose. Almost a sweet fresh hoppiness coming through.

Very smooth on the palate.

The floral hoppiness continued mid palate before developing a heavier coffee element.

An agreeable growing prickly heat rounds up the experience leaving a touch of tingling on the tongue.

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Czar Whiskey c/o@AyeWhisky

Turns out it’s a whiskey made from a Russian Imperial Stout emanating from the combined Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery of San Francisco.

I’m loving the experimentation.

Extremely entertaining & very engaging.

Whiskey like I’ve never encountered before.

Sláinte

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Czar Whiskey sample plus credited photos courtesy @AyeWhisky

Hyde #8, 1640, Stout Cask Finished Irish Whiskey, 46%

There’s been an explosion of Irish Whiskeys finished in a growing variety of Irish Beer Casks.

I welcome the diversity & exploration of flavours emanating from these collaborations – especially when the beers in question tend to be locally produced craft beers such as the Cotton Ball Stout used in this new Hyde #8 release.

Now I usually like to taste the donor beer – but in this instance the closest I got was this lágar from Cotton Ball Brewing.

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Pride in locality c/othewhiskeynut

Rather than picking up the bitter or slightly burnt notes often found in a stout – Hyde #8 has a noticeable sweet caramel nose together with a smooth & rich honeyed palate rounded up with a darker & heavier biscuity malt feel.

I must admit to already being a fan of Hyde Whiskey.

Their offerings consistently score highly in my blind tasting sessions for the Irish Whiskey Awards.

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Hyde No 8 Heritage Cask c/othewhiskeynut

I put it down to the 46% non chill filtered presentation across the range which to my palate at least, seems to draw out a depth of character & stronger flavours in the whiskey.

I really enjoyed the balance between the sweet start & heavier malt mid palate combined with a pleasant peppery spice leading into a lovely prickly finish with hints of sweet stone fruitiness.

Great to see Hyde Whiskey expand their range with yet another tasty tipple!

Sláinte

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Many thanks to Conor Hyde for supplying the sample bottle for this blog.

Notorious Red IPA 5%

Bringing a whiskey to market is a long and arduous process fraught with setbacks & obstacles.

Getting planning permission for the distillery itself can be problematic – as the Sliabh Liag Distillery in Donegal have found out recently.

Sliabh Liag Distillery owner says Ardara move is necessary

Says Highland Radio here.

Hopefully they will have better luck in Ardara.

If you manage to build your distillery the next issue is warehouses to store the new make distillate for the required 3 years until it becomes whiskey. Great Northern Distillery are still on the hunt for storage after their plans were knocked back in County Louth.

Teeling looks outside Louth for €20m whiskey warehouse

Says Irish Times  here.

If you manage to overcome these hurdles – yet more await.

What are you going to call your whiskey?

A certain well known Dublin personality had hoped to call his whiskey ‘Notorious’ – but there happened to be a beer already on the market with that name.

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O’Hara’s Red IPA c/othewhiskeynut

What else could I do but pop down to my local O’Briens to purchase a few for tasting?

O’Hara’s are one of the original craft beer makers in Ireland. Founded in 1996 they were ahead of the pack and have grown with the times. Now a major player in the craft beer market they produce a varied range of porters, lagers, ales & IPA’s – as well as opening a bar in Kilkenny.

Their Notorious Red IPA is an amalgam of 2 popular styles of beer.

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Tasting Notorious c/othewhiskeynut

Red Ale is a relatively light ale usually showing a reddish hue. Notes of malt, soft caramel with a gentle smoke from the roasted malts often used coming through too.

IPA – or Indian Pale Ale to give the original definition – is the hot ticket in the craft beer world. The high hop content displays varying degrees of bitterness ranging from fresh citrussy summer notes to deeper almost woody pine flavours.

I must admit my palate is not a fan of IPA – the bitterness puts me off – but I do enjoy a Red Ale now and then.

So with that caveat in mind – how did I find the Notorious Red IPA?

A decent Red Ale ruined by the hoppy bitterness.

I did reach out to a self declared IPA fan – in the interests of balance – to get a view from the other side.

O’Hara’s Notorious, it’s a Knock Out!

Says Simon here.

Which I suppose it is.

Whiskey a no-go: McGregor suffers KO to brand plan

Says the Independent here.

Beer 1 – Whiskey 0.

Sláinte.

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O’Briens Summer Tasting, Athlone.

My local branch of O’Briens Wines in Athlone organised a Summer Tasting recently.

OBriens Tasting
O’Briens Summer Tasting promo

They invited a plethora of nearby craft beer producers – as well as a slightly more widespread coterie of spirits & whiskey distillers.

I simply had to go along!

Many familiar faces were encountered on the craft beer stalls.

Black Donkey were showcasing their latest limited edition release – Underworld. Savage Ale indeed.

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Savage Ale c/othewhiskeynut

12 Acres had their Single Malt lager. Dead Centre had some good news regarding planning permission for their town centre brewery/restaurant development. Boyne Brewhouse had some award winning beers. I even enjoyed a Miami J IPA from Rye River Brewing – despite not being an IPA fan – mainly as the hops were softer in the mix which accentuated the summer fruitiness.

Larkins from Wicklow were the only newcomers to me and I sampled some their interesting takes on the lager front.

On the spirits & whiskey front I had some brief chats with the Teeling & Connacht stands having tasted most of their excellent product before. I was tempted by Connacht’s Concullin Oak Aged Gin – mainly because of the whiskey like appearance – and did discern some oak influence in among the unfamiliar to me at least gin flavours.

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Oak Aged Gin c/othewhiskeynut

Galway Gin Co were also in attendance – but for me the main attractions were the stalls offering whiskey I’d never tried before – like Ha’Penny Whiskey on the Pearse Lyons Distillery stand.

Now it was made clear Ha’Penny Whiskey – along with it’s stablemate Ha’Penny Gin & Mil Gin too – are all sourced spirits for the Pearse Distillery who market them to a different audience than the Pearse Whiskey range which was also on display.

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Ha’Penny Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

The Ha’Penny Whiskey had that very attractive warmth I associate with charred casks maturaton. Only on closer inspection of the label was it revealed 4 different types of cask were used to mature this very flavousome blend; port pipes, sherry butts, bourbon barrels & double charred.

Very nice results too. Giving it a richness of depth & flavour not usually found in an attractively priced blend.

Midleton happened to be next door with their Method & Madness range – well 3 of them at least. How could I resist a vertical taste test?

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A trio of tasty Method & Madness c/othewhiskeynut

The Single Grain continues to excite me with the warm notes of virgin oak contrasting with the clearer, fresher grain influence. The Single Malt doesn’t pull me in as much – but what’s this? – the latest Hungarian Oak matured Single Pot Still?

My my my!

Rich, warm and inviting. A softly growing spice to tantalise & tease. Great depth of flavour with a lovely long lasting finish to remind you of the beauty you’ve just enjoyed.

Now I could easily take this one home with me!

Great stuff!

O’Briens offered a reduction on certain items on the evening so I – and many others – availed of this service and didn’t go away empty handed.

Much appreciation to all the stall holders on the night.

And a BIG UP to all the O’Briens staff in Athlone for putting together such a wonderful showcase of the fabulous beers, spirits & whiskey that abounds in Ireland today.

Sláinte.

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Innis & Gunn, Oak Aged Beer, Rum Finish, 6.8%

Suitably dark.

Suitably brown.

Suitably heavy.

The rich flavoursome nose promises delight.

The taste delivers.

A great heavy ale with a touch of sweetness from the rum casks.

What else do you expect from Innis & Gunn?

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Oak aged 57 days c/othewhiskeynut

Barrel aged for 57 days.

Unlike whiskey.

The maturation is short.

But the boosted flavour results are similar.

Slàinte.

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12 Acres Single Malt Lager, 4.2%

Now we all know what the term Single Malt means when it comes to whiskey – don’t we?

The Scottish Whisky Association rules of 2009 define it as;

2.3 Single Malt Scotch Whisky means a Scotch Whisky produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills.

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Single Malt Lager c/othewhiskeynut

So what does it mean when it comes to beer?

Well – it isn’t defined – but 12 Acres Brewing Co. in Laois have come up with their own interpretation.

A lager brewed with 100% malted barley grown on one farm. Namely their own.

So what does it taste like?

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Ground to glass lager c/othewhiskeynut

Well I must confess to not being a big lager fan – too much mass produced tasteless uniformity for my liking – but 12 Acres are offering something a bit bolder.

It’s heavier, maltier and more fuller bodied than what I expected.

The earthy notes of County Laois can be experienced with every drop.

Not one to be thrown down the hatch on a session – rather one to sip & savour on a warm summer’s evening – of which we’ve had a few lately.

A worthy addition to the craft beer canon.

Sláinte.

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