A Quart of Ale± #85
On the craft journey with Whiplash, Lineman, Lough Gill and ToØl.
Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut Brown Ale 5.5%, 440ml can O’Briens Wine
The team at Lough Gill admit to having hand-toasted “trays upon trays of macadamia nuts” for this brown ale in its early days. No doubt about the colour here, a rich dark reddish brown (though you can spot the Christmas tree lights through it!) And a foamy tan head. Rather handsome overall from the introduction that deposits bags of flavours. It has an excellent body and a nice balance of hops and malt.
Macadamia nuts, by the way, are native to Australia and are full of healthy fats. Lough Gill, having roasted the nuts, soon found that thanks to top quality malts and hops they had a luxurious brown beer, with a rich nutty flavour, on their hands.
The current edition has a nose packed with nuts, cocoa, caramel milk, and a dusting of cocoa. More of the same on the smooth palate, fruit and chocolate too with enough of a contribution from the hops to enable balance.
I first came across this tempting easy-drinker back in 2017 and was very impressed. Glad to report that the lover affair is resumed.
Whiplash Das Model Vienna Lager 4.8%, 440ml can Whiplash Online
Vienna Lagers, according to the producers of Das Model, are wonderful for their allowance of generous malt aroma, flavour, full body and balance. Das Model is no exception. An amber/orange colour, like Tanora for the Cork readers, greets you in the glass, a soft foamy head slipping away.
And speaking of Cork… it is now to be the base of Jake, the man who made this beer for Dublin’s busy Whiplash. It is, they say, a fine addition to this year’s lager series. “We've been lucky to have him as part of team Whiplash for the last 10 months but he's now on to adventures anew... To Cork! We're already planning a Whiplash invasion down there to visit. Be warned. Sancho Forever.”
Let us know folks when you make that visit and we’ll join with Jake in the welcome!
Malts are key in Vienna lagers and here Jake and Co have used Melanoidin and Carapils and they help give that striking colour plus the aromas of honey sweetness and an expected light touch of bread and toast.
Whiplash were on guard against too much cloying and so more hops were enlisted to get the balance right. That secret weapon was the Bruce Blend, a combination hop blend of “our favourite New Zealand hops like Nelson, Motueka, Pacific Jade and Pacifica.” And Mr Bruce enlivens the malt base with lime zest, citrus and floral character, even notes of Sauvignon Blanc. So there you are. Generous malt aroma, flavour, full body and balance. What’s not to like?
And there’s more! Das Model gets their house lager yeast, WLP833, treatment during its “good cold lagering for a pleasantly crisp finish that rounds out this stylish modern lager, bringing it back to session-ability among all that heft”. Sounds more or less perfect. Tastes that way too!
Lineman Fluid Dynamic Extra Pale Ale 4.8%, 440ml can O’Briens Wine
Lineman has been getting some serious attention recently and they keep up the good work with this Extra Pale Ale. It is named Fluid Dynamic and the hops chosen were the all American trio of Citra (citrus, mango, melon), Idaho 7 (pineapple, pine, berry) and Chinook (grapefruit, pine, spice).
I’ve included their characteristics in the brackets above and the beer follows through and delivers across the range of aromas and flavours from citrus to mango to pine with a little spice thrown in for good measure. This unpasteurised and unfiltered beer is a soft and pleasant one on the palate, brewed deliberately using barley and wheat malts to make it light and clean and let the hops take centerstage but without taking over.
Colour is a bright yellow/gold, almost totally clear, with no shortage of bubbles. Besides, the pale ale (not quite certain why the extra is employed here) is both very satisfying and sessionable in a style that could well have wide appeal. Well done to the crew at Lineman.
ToØl Implosion Non Alcoholic 0.3%, 330ml can O’Briens Wine
Colour is a hazy yellow. Aromas hint of the yeast, a hint too of fresh pine. No explosion of flavours on the crisp palate but quite a pleasant balance and a good dry refreshing finish. Doesn’t seem that much has changed since a late 2020 tasting.
They then sympathised with drinkers stuck with lack-lustre non alcoholic beers. So, they threw out the rule book away to make Implosion beer. “We used a yeast that, when it ferments, doesn't create alcohol but still gives off amazing, ale esters. We then added hops to create a delicate, aromatic profile - and therefore didn't need to boil off the beer at the end of the process and risk losing all those amazing flavours.” Still some work to do, I’d say.
Irish non alcoholic beer versions - at least those that I’ve tried - are also falling that bit short while the German Weihenstephaner “Original Helles” <0,5% abv, is worth a try. If you fancy cider, the Stonewell (Zero) and Highbank (Driver’s) are very satisfactory indeed.