A Quart of Ale± #129. On the craft journey with Sullivan's, O'Brien Wines, Lineman, Blacks, Bradleys, Brewmaster, Aldi.

A Quart of Ale± #129

On the craft journey with Sullivan's, O'Brien Wines, Lineman, Blacks, Bradleys, Brewmaster, Aldi.


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Sullivan’s Maltings Irish Ale, 5%, 500ml bottle O’Brien Wines


Deauville, a long-time magnet for Europe’s rich and famous, was all abuzz for the horse racing in August 1918, even though the Great War was still being waged. 


One Irishman had set his sights on an aristocratic French fillé. He had opposition from a Venetian count. Sullivan, a gambler rather than a brewer, bet the family brewery on a horse to impress the Frenchwoman. He lost and, not fancying a duel with the count, had to settle his debts.


In Kilkenny, as a result of the wager, the Sullivan brewery (established 1702, eight years before Smithwick’s) was taken over by their rivals (“in a kind of a white knight rescue”) and the Sullivan name vanished from the enterprise. Another hundred years on and, in 2014, Diageo moved the production of Smithwick's to Dublin.


But the Sullivan story has been revived over the past few years or so with the emergence of a new Sullivan brewery, backed by the two intertwined families, the Sullivans and, yes, the Smithwicks, both keen to keep Kilkenny’s brewing tradition going. 


Colour of this award-winning red ale is quite a dark one, boasting an off-white head that has some staying power. The aroma hints of a balance between malt fruit and hop bitterness and that continues on the body before the excellent ale finishes dry. Quite a satisfactory bottle indeed and the drinker can see why this easy-drinking smooth ale is an award winner.


They say: Traditionally brewed with only Kilkenny-grown ale malt, including three special darker malts and three varieties of hop. Fermented and matured with cask ale yeast and coupled with our no-rush brewing produces a smooth balanced classic ale. .. the result is a classic ruby ale with deep malt combining rich biscuit and gentle caramel notes.

The beer we craft today is inspired by traditional Kilkenny recipes and brewed the way the family has always brewed – the way real Irish beer should be brewed – by local experts, by hand, in small batches, with enormous heart and the finest locally sourced ingredients.

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Lineman Group Therapy Session IPA, 4.6%, 440 ml can Bradleys



All southern hemisphere hopped session IPA with Galaxy, Motueka and Topaz. That’s the word from Lineman about this session IPA. Motueka comes from a small town on the South Island of New Zealand while the other two come from Australia.


Colour of the ale is a murky lemon with a head that doesn’t stay around too long.  The aromatics are on the meek side, just a hint of tropical notes peeping through. Quite a nice balance on the palate, light and zesty, tropical, citrus, a touch of pine all in the mix. Lineman regularly get it spot-on and this is another fine example from the brewery.


Lineman? “We’re often asked about our name; we’re called LINEMAN as a tribute to my late father who worked as a lineman for both the ESB and P&T in the 1940s and ‘50s. He stayed with the P&T (that eventually became Telecom Éireann and later Eircom) until he retired in 1996. There’s a nice lineage there as that same year Mark got his first job with Eircom until he left to start work on setting up LINEMAN in 2018.


The reason for the name LINEMAN runs a little deeper than that alone though. It’s also a tribute to the hard working heroes who worked in all kinds of conditions to bring about connection in the young Irish state, through electricity and telecommunications, taking Ireland out of the dark and into the modern state we know today." More here. 


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Blacks Pineapple & El Dorada IPA, 5.0% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys



The perfect fruity mix-up combining fantastic El Dorado hops with fresh Pineapple flavours for the ultimate summer IPA.


That’s the intro to this IPA from Blacks of Kinsale. It has a colour close to a mid-amber with a thin white head that doesn’t hang about. 


It is described as a summer IPA so I’m a little late coming to the party. Also a little apprehensive as I’m not a great lover of overly fruity beers. But I’m relaxing as the first sip flows across, enjoying the pineapple and the hoppy balance provided by El Dorado. Dry finish as well, quite bitter.


May be slightly out of season but it is a thumbs up for this one, a west coast IPA where the hops and the pineapple (one of the listed ingredients) get it together in a deep layered pineapple flavour that reminds me somewhat of the the brilliant Polly that I tasted in Limerick’s Crew last year. Summer may be gone but you can always turn up the heating (but not for lon€).


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Brewmaster Sailor Sam’s Hazy IPA, 5.5%, 440ml can Aldi

Brewmaster (Dundalk Bay Brewery Co) are the producers of this IPA, exclusively for Aldi, and they recently rushed to announce that it won a bronze award in the Irish Food and Drinks Quality Awards for 2022.


Sam’s IPA is certainly hazy, under a slow-sinking soft white head over a Mango Lassi coloured body. Mango takes charge on the palate but methinks it needs a bit more to move into gold medal contention.


Good yarn on the label though, where they disclose that dry-hopping was used. Sam brewed at sea, experimenting as he sailed. It was a serious hobby! And he loved to add as many hops as possible to make the beer last..at sea.


Brewmaster is the exclusive beer brand of Dundalk Bay Brewery and Distillery (their spirits are sold under the Ravenrock brand). “All our Irish Premium Craft Beers are brewed in a sustainable way using naturally sourced ingredients. Each alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer has its distinct flavour ensuring there’s one to satisfy every palette!”

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