Elbow Lane Brewers Have the Wisdom
Didn’t quite expect it when I started this Irish session, didn’t expect that I’d end up proclaiming the Cork City ale as my favourite of the bunch.
I’ve been drinking it from time to time in the Market Lane restaurants, most recently in Goldie, their fish and ale spot across from the mothership and indeed just across from the micro brewery as well. And it always goes well with food. Enjoyed it without the food this time just as much and probably took a bit more notice of its quality without the grub.
All the beers here, with the exception of the Elbow Lane, came from Bradley’s. I bought the Wisdom via Neighbourfood but Bradley’s have the Elbow beers available as well. As you may know, they are all named after lanes in Cork City.
By the way the White Hag Lager is excellent as is the Black’s Mosaic. The other two, if you’re open to experiment, as I was, are worth a try. You just might just find a favourite there!
The White Hag Helles Style Lager, 4.5%, 440ml can
Light gold is the colour, a host of bubbles rising. Very pleasant in the mouth, easy drinking and well balanced to the finish. Light and refreshing they say. Light and refreshing it is.
The Helles style originated in Bavaria (Germany) apparently and this is one of the best Irish efforts that I’ve tasted.
Sligo based White Hag are a modern independent craft brewery from Sligo, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. “We brew innovative and ground breaking beers, inspired by ancient and classic styles.” They produce quite a range of beers, most of them in can.
This little bottle from Blacks showcases the Mosaic hops, giving the beer an American style (I suppose any beer with blueberry muffin aromas has to have US influences!). The hops, with its tropical aromas and juicy palate, is the main man here. This, in its small bottle, is well balanced though and another excellent and loveable brew from Kinsale.
They say: A West Coast Style IPA, packed full of tropical aromas, juicy big flavours and absolutely no nonsense. The malt character also shines through with freshly baked pastry and a whiff of blueberry muffin lingering in the background. On the palate, medium in body with a soft texture, mouthwatering acidity and a balance of bitter and sweet flavours.
Stone Barrel (brewed by their Third Barrel Brewing) Cabin Fever Enigma IPA, 7%, 44cl on can (but it’s a 33!).
“Long time friends and brewers, Stone Barrel Brewing and Third Circle Brewing, decided to combine their experience, resources, love for brewing and absolute passion for beer and create one of Ireland's most cutting edge breweries.”
Tropical fruits and white grapes (they say) in the aromas; I’m thinking there’s something "ferment-y" in the background too, like a sourdough starter. Maybe there is too much Enigma hops here as the brewers say. Not bad at all on the palate and a good hoppy finish as well. It is well balanced and the higher alcohol is hardly noticeable.
They say: Brewed with a lovely blend of Irish base malt, oats and wheat with a strong focus on the dry-hop hops. Big tropical and white grape aromas balanced with a slightly sweet finish.
Quadditch is the Larkins’ take on a classic Belgian quad. “With whole plums added to the mix, a deep, rich beer, with complex dark fruit notes, awaits you. A warming beer”. Hop varieties used are Hersbrucker and EKG.
A cloudy muddy brown. Aromas more or less anonymous. This hulk of a beer comes into its own on the palate, deep and rich with fruit flavours, pretty complex for sure. A touch of sweetness is present and the high alcohol is just about noticeable. Probably best with food and recommendations for the Belgian equivalent are Roasted Duck, Aged Gouda and Bread Pudding. Tried it with creamy Gubbeen cheese - needs must. The pairing's not too bad but not a must-do either (though I never refuse a chance to eat the iconic Gubbeen). Serve in a Tulip glass at about 12 degrees.
Elbow Lane Wisdom Ale 5.2%, 500ml bottle (and draught in their restaurants).
Dark, between amber and brown, nice frothy head. Caramel is perhaps the most prominent of the aromas. Good balance of hops and toasty malt on the smooth palate. The Elbow Lane team produce beers to match the food in the various Market Lane restaurants and they certainly succeed.
Goldie, the latest of five restaurants in the group, shows the words Fish and Ale under the main title. And the beers come from the Elbow Lane Micro Brewery, also across the street. Brewers Russell and Davide have specially formulated the ales to suit food and, as customers of the restaurants will tell you, they have been very successful in that regard. And excellent without the food too!
They say: This medium bodied amber ale is brewed with a selection of specialty malts that impact rich, toasty and caramel malt character, balanced by a firm yet pleasant hop flavor and aroma. This ale is excellent with many foods and uniquely satisfying as a stand alone pint.