Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #41. Continuing the craft journey with Red Ale.

A Quart of Ale± #41

On the craft journey with Red Ale.

O’Hara’s Irish Red Traditional Ale, 4.3%, 500ml bottle via Radical Drink

This O’Hara’s has a very dark red robe but that “dense lasting white head” fails to materialise, though I have to admit subsequent top-ups did shape up with a coffee coloured crown. Roasted caramel stands out in the aromatics. And you get that caramel and toffee flavour on the palate as well, thanks to the addition of a “pinch of roast barley during the brewing process”. The sweetness of the malt is perfectly balanced through a touch of traditional hop flavour. A terrific example of the style gets a major thumbs up from this quarter.


They say: This Red stands out in this beer style category. The malt body is as impressive as a bock, albeit in a uniquely Irish way. With an incredibly smooth malt body complimented by caramel tones and perfectly balanced in bitterness, this Irish Red is much more complex than its mainstream rivals. Visually the Red colour is intensified by the finest roast barley, while subtle hop additions in the kettle give just the right bitterness and aroma to craft this distinctive Irish Red Ale.The traditional red ale style is sweet malt based, dominated by caramel malts which give a sweet malt base complimented by nutty flavours in complete contrast to the Belgian Red ale style which has a distinctly sour character attributed to lactic acid.

For the Geek

Style: Traditional Red Ale

ABV: 4.3%

Plato °: 10.75°

IBU: 34 

Fermentation: Top fermentation 

Availability: Keg (carbonated), Bottle 50cl and 33cl (occasional 41L cask)

Serving Temperature: 6-8°C

Food Pairing: Pairs well with baked and roasted main courses from the oven such as beef hotpot. Also excellent with winter soups. Delicious accompaniment to mature cheddar or soft goats cheeses.

Glass: O’Hara’s tulip glass or O’Hara’s conical glass. 

Hope Red IPA Winter Seasonal 2020, 5.2%, 440ml via

Hope’s winter seasonal is a red IPA, a dark red with an off white head that quickly reduces. A red with a twist they say and I must say I rather like the direction it takes from the first sip, lots of bright and light fruit melding well with caramel overtones, with a touch of toastiness, from the malts. Thumbs up there straightaway and I can see it would be just the job with the suggested wintery stew, weekend cheeseboard or chocolate.


Malts: Pale malt, crystal malt and wheat malt

Hops: Columbus, Simcoe and Enigma

Dry Hops: Cashmere, Enigma and Centennial

Yeast: English Ale Yeast

Roasted barley.

ABV 5.2%

EBU 55

Hope, in their own words:

Hope Beer started out in 2015 when the brewery was founded by four friends with a passion for beer and business. What began as a series of late-night kitchen table discussions is now a state-of-the-art brewery, producing an extensive range of award-winning premium craft beers.

Hope produces a core range of five distinct beer styles which are available all year round as well as two seasonals and a wide range of limited-edition beers.

All Hope beers are brewed, bottled, canned and kegged at Howth Junction on Dublin’s Northside and are crafted to be the perfect accompaniment to food. Each beer has its own distinct name, story and taste experience....

Crafty Bear “Bimbos” Imperial Red, 8.0%, 330ml via

A warm amber is the colour of this “Bimbos” Imperial Red from Crafty Bear. An off-white head doesn’t hang about (if you want a better head, give it a “robust” pour). Quite a charge of fruit from the hops in the aromas, the malt too getting a look-in.  There’s an initial (and lasting) element of sweetness on the palate. Quite a complex experience, big and malty, with notes of mango and strawberry as the hops too play a role right through to the finish. It has been dry-hopped (lightly) with Citra (a good bittering hop) and Cashmere (known for its smooth bitterness). 

They say: We started Crafty Bear January 2018.

With over 18 years in the hospitality industry the move towards opening our very own brewery was a long time dream come through.

Our love for good beer and the fun in making it is what makes our beers stand out.

Hand bottled, hand labeled and hand delivered. You got to love craft.

Not quite the traditional take but pretty good overall. I have no idea why it’s called Bimbos. Anyone? 

Wicklow Wolf “Wildfire” Hoppy Red Ale, 4.6%, 440ml via

This Wildfire from Wicklow has a dark colour and a short-lived head that looks as if it has been dusted with coffee. You smell coffee and caramel. And the two also feature on the palate, the coffee more prominent now, and it, rather than the weakish caramel, stay to the finish, one with the malts holding the upper hand. Almost a creamy feel to this very mild and pleasing enough example of the style. One for the home fire methinks rather than one in the wild.

Geeky Bits

Hops: Sorachi Ace, Sabro

Malt: Pale, Cara Ruby, Melano, Oats, Roasted Barley

IBU: 28

Serve at 8 degrees.

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