Tuesday, September 15, 2020

A Quart of Ale± #12. Moving on over to craft with IPAs by Thornbridge, White Hag, Heaney, and Brehon.

A Quart of Ale± #12
Moving on over to craft. 

India Pale Ale

Thornbridge “Jaipur” IPA 5.9%, 330ml can Bradley’s of Cork
Pale straw is the colour of this modern (2005) classic. Jaipur comes with over 100 worldwide awards. This iconic American style IPA has a complexity of flavour created by a six-dimensional hop experience.

Funnily enough, this is held up as an example of the English IPA in the Brewdog book Craft Beer for the People. Hard for us amateurs to determine the style of a beer if the likes of Thornbridge and Brew Dog can't agree. Anyhow, we'll have fun trying.

It wears this complexity lightly though and you’ll have no problem sipping your way through this beauty from the UK brewery. It has a fairly cloudy pale yellow colour and hoppy aromas (faint whiff of citrus, even fainter one of pine). Smooth on the palate, hoppy, citrus notes too, and a beautiful balance all the way to lip-smacking hoppy finish. Not too much more to say except that this is more or less the perfect IPA.

Match with Thai Curry, they say.

Hops: Chinook, Centennial, Ahtanum, Simcoe, Columbus, Cascade.
Malts: Low Colour Maris Otter.

The White Hag “Bran & Sceolan” 7.2%, 330ml can Bradley’s of Cork

A very pale amber, quite hazy. High levels of dry hopping in this one yield aromas of citrus. And that same citrus, now a juicy burst, makes for a delightful flavoursome palate, little if any sign of the high alcohol in the smooth mouthfeel. Terrific balance and an excellent drink overall. The IBU figure is 45 but, like the 7.2% abv, it is not a major factor for this drinker.
They say: Bran and Sceolan were the two wolfhounds of warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill, born to his aunt after she was magically transferred into an Irish Wolfhound by her husband’s ex lover. The story of these strong legends is as intense and complex as the flavours in this beer. An American-style IPA brewed with 100% Irish malt.

Heaney “Big Little IPA” 4.2%, 440ml can Bradley’s of Cork

Colour is yellow, a hazy yellow. The soft head is short-lived, not that it matters a while pile, unless you like the ice-cream look! Aromas are hoppy and fruity (exotic). Quite a hoppy fruity punch considering the abv, a big hitter for sure, and a bitter wash around the gums and lips with an edgy aftertaste. Wouldn’t recommend this if you were starting out on good quality ales but by all means go for it if you have been trying a few litres.

This is a farmhouse brewery and the water comes from the Heaney farm spring. Don’t think I’ve had a Heaney before. I can tell they’re in Bellaghy, Co. Derry. The Big Little is unfiltered, unpasteurised, and they recommend pairing it with spicy dishes. I don’t have an IBU for this but I’d imagine it is fairly high.

They say:  Big Little IPA. Only a little 4.2% but plenty of big hops to satisfy your hop desires. Soft bitterness, juicy citrus hops and a dry thirst quenching finish. Perfect for summer. Summer lol. It's summer right?

Brehon Brewhouse “Stony Grey” IPA 6.0%, 550ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

This has a close to amber colour. Nice mix in the aromas, floral notes and hints from the malt. And much the same elements combine on the palate giving a terrific balance, smooth all the way to the dry finish. A very pleasant beer indeed. A superb beer actually and probably closer to a real English IPA than the others. 

I should be paying more attention here and have some more notes for you but I’m trying to watch Analyse This on a movie channel and they aren’t talking IPA, more like KIA*. In any event, it looks like I have another brewery to add to my short list as the recently tried Brehon’s Ulster Black Oatmeal Stout is another star.

They say: Great on its own but just perfect with spicy foods like Indian, Mexican, chicken wings or mild blue cheese, lemon curd cake or key lime pie. Serve around 8 degrees. Our small brewery is housed on the farm, just a short distance from the old homestead.We are set amongst the rolling drumlins of County Monaghan, just a few miles from the birthplace of Patrick Kavanagh, the inspiration for our India Pale Ale –  Stony Grey IPA.

* KIA Killed In Action.

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