A Quart of Ale± #58. On the craft journey with a mixed session from Mescan, Brú, O'Hara's and Whiplash..
A Quart of Ale± #58
On the craft journey with a mixed session from Mescan, Brú, O'Hara's and Whiplash.
Mescan “Westport Blond” 4.8%, 330ml bottle O’Briens Wine
Not my first time enjoying a Westport Blond (without the “e”). And like the first time, it’s the golden colour that first impressed and there’s a lingering soft head as well. You know what they say about first impressions.
Hops are modest but have enough to perfectly balance with the malt flavours and it is harmony all the way (even if the fruitiness is slightly ahead of the bitterness) with this clean, crisp and flavoursome beer, so very well made.
Blonde or Golden Ales “are the ultimate European session beer and a great opening to the pale ale pathway” according to Craft Beer for the People. Yet many of these are more than easy-drinking and this is one of the outstanding ones. Recommended serving temperature is between four and six degrees.
This blond was the first beer from Cillian and Bart and has become a firm favourite with the public. Blond beer, with its accessible character, combines well with most dishes. Mescan recommends steaks, burgers, chicken, sausages, also noodles, pasta Bolognese, and Salade Niçoise.
So a superb beer from a couple of veterinarian friends who started off as amateurs on their beer journey in 2010. Then, Bart (a Belgian) welded together their first brewery - a 50 litre set up. "For three years, we brewed each week in Cillian's garage, creating recipes and learning from our mistakes. The real work started when we set about converting a farm shed on Bart's farm, building a 1000 litre brewhouse from scratch. All great until all the paperwork hit: warehousing legislation, VAT, Excise and setting up companies. Many expansions later, we’ve now lost most of our hair, but, on a good day, we wouldn't swap it for anything.”
Brú Cheep Flirt Session IPA 3.8%, 440 can Bradleys
Colour of this County Meath IPA is lemon, a hazy one with a good up-flow of bubbles and lots of hoppy aromas (it has been dry-hopped) even as you pull the tab. Nice frothy head that doesn’t vanish immediately. Citrus and floral notes in both the aromas and the palate. Refreshing and satisfying and well geared for a session in the sun. Sun or no sun, I reckon I’d get on very well with this well-built well-flavoured Cheep Flirt (vegan-friendly).
They say: A hazy session IPA that’s lower in alcohol but packs a flavour punch. Cheep Flirt showcases three star ingredients: Golden Promise malt, oats and Centennial hops, which come together for a nutty and biscuit backbone, a silky and full mouthfeel and an abundance of citrus and floral notes.
Brú, who have been popping up in my selections quite regularly, are using this Urban Jungle series to celebrate their “adventurous side” with bold, modern beers while their Core range showcases traditional and classic Irish styles with a contemporary twist. I was recently very impressed by their Red Ale.
O’Hara’s Double IPA, 7.5%, 500ml bottle via Radical Drinks
This is a complex piece of work from O’Hara’s. Colour is between amber (day) and copper (night). Intense aromas are a melange of fruit and floral. Generously hopped and dry hopped the complexity continues on the palate, rich of flavour, orange, floral, a caramel sweetness with the malt making its mark right to the finale. Lots of elements here, yet harmony has been achieved. And yet, I wouldn't want more than one of an evening. Perhaps too much has been packed in here for my taste yet I have little doubt that double IPA aficionados are more than happy with this O’Hara’s effort.
They say: A full-bodied, full on Double I.P.A. combining caramel and malt flavours with a well-balanced and substantial bitterness. Light carbonation allows the full flavour of this Double IPA to shine through. At 7.5% abv, the high alcohol content is balanced with a caramel sweetness and a full bodied malt character. Generously hopped and dry hopped, it is a true treat for fans of the style.
Bold Double IPA
Keg (carbonated), Bottle 50cl (Oct 2013) (occasional 41L cask)
Perfect with spicy foods such as Thai or Indian. Excellent with strong cheeses.
O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer conical glass.
Whiplash Midnight Dipper Pale Ale 5.2%, 440 can Bradleys
A soft fluffy head crowns the hazy lemony body of this Pale Ale, the brewery’s “latest love letter to Idaho 7”. Aromas are quite intense with exotic fruit such as mango and guava in the melange. The mouthfeel is quite plush. As you drink, and if you are taking note - you may well be chatting (and why not) - you’ll note those exotics again, all in beautiful harmony, no jarring extremes here. Get it. Quick.
They say: Our latest love letter to Idaho 7, a hop we prize for its versatility and how well it gels with other varieties.
Details: Vienna Malt, Melanoidin Malt, Wheat Malt, Oat Malt, Idaho 7 hops.
Here's a little more about the Whiplash brew crew:
We were lucky enough to celebrate five years since our first ever commercial release in March, five years since Scaldy Porter was let loose on the world. In that time we have released 68 more beers and grown from a team of 2 to a team of 12. We were also really proud to be awarded International Independent Brewery of the Year 2021 by HonestBrew members. This win coming a few years after we won Best Breakthrough Brewery really made it all the more special.
We wish we could have celebrated this big birthday with the sesh to end all seshes, maybe a tap takeover here and there so you could meet the team, but for obvious reasons that wasn’t a runner. Hopefully we can mark the occasion (maybe for our 6th birthday!), but in the meantime we snapped some portraits and interviewed the team for our social media channels.
More info and lots of pics here..