A Quart of Ale± #80
Craft journey with a session of Dungarvan, O Brother, and Brehon Brewhouse
Dungarvan Coffee and Oatmeal Stout 4.7%, 440ml can, Bradleys
Coffee is promised and Dungarvan Brewing deliver with this latest edition (the first to be canned) of their always much-awaited seasonal Coffee and Oatmeal Stout. Coffee is in the short-lived tan coloured head. Smell it and also stick your finger in for an early sweetish taste!
If you were in the brewery during production, you might well have been thinking of taking a nose dive into the100 litre pot of the Coffee House Lane Ethiopian, the coffee used for the 2021 edition.
I’ve been a fan of this Christmas stout since its first appearance. And still very much a fan after my initial few sips of this one. It is as smooth as ever with citrus and berry notes from the coffee giving a lift and add a rich warmth.
Now that I've finished it, I'm delighted to say that this is one of the very best of the style. Lots of big bad stouts out there with alcohol muscle ripping into the double figures. But this one is the prize. Keep your senses on it, its sleek smooth elegance, the gorgeous aromas and flavours and the sheer pleasure of its easy-going company. Make a Christmas date with Dungarvan!
No pairing done here yet but they suggest it’s great with earthy casseroles and dessert. It is can conditioned - expect a harmless yeast sediment (I didn’t notice any).
Malts - Pale, Chocolate, Munich, Oats. Hop: Challenger; Adjunct: Coffee.
They say: Our head brewer, Cormac O’Dwyer believes that it takes quality ingredients, time, care and attention to detail to create the perfect brews and this is the methodology that he employs when brewing our Dungarvan beer.
All the beers are traditionally brewed and bottled, canned, kegged and casked on-site in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford made using only four ingredients – barley, hops, yeast and water. No chemicals are added to the beers, they are unfiltered, unpasteurised and vegan-friendly.
Over 330 years ago, in 1690, Coffee House Lane, adjacent to the then busy trading port of Waterford, had what is long believed to be Ireland’s first ever coffee house. Green Coffee was traded at the port, then roasted, brewed and sold at John Aikenhead's Coffee House on what became, Coffee House Lane of Waterford. Nowadays, the Bergin Family have a strong reputation in coffee roasting in the South East and carry on the Coffee House Lane tradition. More here.
O Brother “Sipping Soma” Single Hop El Dorado IPA, 5.6%, 440 can Bradleys
O Brother Brewing “is all about brewing full-flavour beers..”, they declare.
This single hop is El Dorado, quite a versatile one, excellent as a bittering hop and also brings bright tropical fruit flavours and aromas of pineapple, pear, watermelon, and stone fruit. No wonder El Dorado has become a fan favourite in hop-forward styles, according to growers Yakima Valley Hops.
Colour here is a hazy lemon with a frothy enough white head that hangs about a bit. Aromas are fresh and fruity. Fresh and fruity too on the palate, juicy tropical stuff. Oddly enough, after the build-up of El Dorado’s qualities, there is no pronounced bitterness. But there’s a decent enough finish.
The brewers are well into their glasses and they have an impressive set available on their website; must say I rather fancy the middle one below.
They say: “One glass to rule them all. For any beer lover, this versatile Teku stemmed glass replaces a tacklebox worth of niche glassware - and they look good doing it. Save cabinet space and provide the proper stage for any beer to shine. Designed to functionally concentrate aromatics with enough versatility to support an array of flavours. This is the way.”
Brehon Brewhouse Killanny Red 4.5%, 440 can Bradleys
This red ale from Brehon is a very dark red indeed, close to black. Aromas of the malt are evident. And it is malt that also dominates on the palate. Pretty well balanced too to be fair, as a tart touch plays a role towards the end. Not bad at all!
The label indicates that this “traditional Irish ale…. hopped with Magnum and Williamette….is great on its own and just perfect with BBQ red meats, lamb, stew, roast beef, black pudding or mature cheddar”.
Brehon Brewhouse Blonde 4.3%, 440 can Bradleys
This white-topped blonde has an attractive gold colour. Aromas are on the weak side, weak hints of citrus. More assertive on the palate, quite refreshing with a malty biscuity finish, dry on the lips.
This has been hopped with Magnum and Saaz, neither of which is noted for its bittering qualities. Brehon recommend their Blonde with white fish, shellfish, BBQ chicken or food from the Mediterranean, but equally as enjoyable on its own.
They say: Oh, to be an Irish clansman. From the sixth century, Brehon law decreed that every local kingdom have a brewery, and every brewer have “a never-dry cauldron, a dwelling on a public road and a welcome to every face”. They were to be open 24 hours a day, offering food, drink and song. At Brehon Brewhouse we’ll not turn you away. Come visit…