A Quart of Ale± #15. Moving on over to craft with Stout

A Quart of Ale± #15

Moving on over to craft with Stout


Brehon Brewhouse Ulster Black “Oatmeal Stout” 5.0%, 500ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

This small brewery is housed on the farm, just a short distance from the old homestead and set amongst the rolling drumlins of County Monaghan, just a few miles from the birthplace of Patrick Kavanagh, the inspiration for their India Pale Ale –  Stony Grey IPA.

Don’t know who inspired this Ulster Black but it is a star in this particular firmament. Black as a wet sod on a rainy day in the bog. The fleeting head has some of the colour of a well-dried sod. Aromas also from the dark side: coffee and dark chocolate. And that theme continues on the palate. But it is not exactly like other oatmeal stouts, not over-richly smooth. There is a balance, a harmony, that lifts this toasty stout well above the normal. All before a lip-smacking finish. Try it out for yourself! Best served around 8 to 10 degrees.

The brewers say it is “Ideal with game or strong red meat, smoked meats and hearty stews, desserts with chocolate, caramel or dark fruits.” I reckon they’ve tried them all! Me, I’d say it goes best with another one.

Our aim is to create distinct beers that are brewed with care and affection.  Our brewer has created a range of well balanced and flavoursome ales that reflect the changing face of the beer market in Ireland.” 

I’ve tried a few of their beers, including that Stoney Grey, in the last few weeks and Brehon is certainly on an impressive track.

Black Sheep “Milk Stout” 4.4%, 500ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

First of all let’s hear it for the Black Sheep himself.

In 1992, Paul Theakston took a daring leap into the unknown. As a fifth generation brewer of his family company, he chose to leave T&R Theakstons following its sale to a national brewery. Instead, he chose to champion independent brewing in Yorkshire and built his own brewery from reclaimed equipment in the very same town, Masham.

Black is the colour, of course, with a coffee coloured head (also tastes of coffee). And coffee too in the aromas, not so much the dark chocolate that the producers mention.No doubt though you get the chocolate and coffee on the velvety palate. Should be terrific with that chocolate brownie! Pretty good balance compared to some milk stouts and this one certainly has that second bottle appeal.

They say: A velvet, creamy stout packing notes of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Brewed with lactose and a robust malt blend, this milk stout offers a satisfying sweetness that cuts against a light bitterness, brought together through an irresistible velvet texture. Aroma:Rich dark chocolate with subtle notes of coffee and vanilla.Taste:Vanilla with notes of chocolate coffee.

Ingredients: Hops, Malted Barley, Lactose, Torrefied Wheat, Water, Yeast.

Founders “Breakfast Stout” 8.3%, 355ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

The coffee coloured head is on the shy side, barely existing for a few seconds above the black body. By the way, the label boasts that the head lasts forever, yet each of the three times I tried it, the head vanished quicker than a fancy dan winger ahead of a “bite yer legs” Norman Hunter tackle. 

Then I smell the coffee and the chocolate and soon I taste it, wrapped in the smoothness of the flaked oats, and I realise this is turning out somewhat better than anticipated from looking at the spoon-sucking infant on the label. 

It is indeed a “creamy and decadent sipper, perfect for everything from contemplative mornings to laid-back evenings”. Not too sure about that stretch but certainly a good pairing with extra time in the European Super Cup final. Quite impressed now from being a bit sceptical in advance. 

Now, what I do find hard to believe is the IBU of 50 on the website, even more incredible is the 60 on the label. Is there a tendency towards tall tales in Michigan? This little stubby - I think that’s what they’d call this bottle in Australia - proves for sure that there is certainly a tendency towards good beer there.

Galway Bay “Buried at Sea” Milk Stout 4.5%, 330ml can Bradley’s of Cork

It’s black - no big surprise. The head, coffee coloured, has  close to minimum longevity. Coffee and caramel in the aromas, though the impact is restrained. It is certainly refreshing on the palate, rich and chocolatey and with a smooth finish. Not bad at all, good stout and that sweet finish.

They say: Decadent and complex while remaining wholly refreshing and drinkable. This 4.5% stout is brewed with Milk Sugars and Chocolate to give rich flavours and body that goes down smooth.

Food pairings: Buried at Sea is great alongside glazed meats, steaks, yet finds its perfect partners in rich chocolate desserts.

  • Speciality Malts: Oats, Munich, Chocolate, Crystal, Roast Barley
  • Hops (32 IBU): Magnum, Cascade