Wednesday, November 9, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #131. On the craft journey with Lough Gill, Bradleys, Kinnegar, Whiplash.

A Quart of Ale± #131

Session anyone?

On the craft journey with Lough Gill, Bradleys, Kinnegar, Whiplash.


Lough Gill If I was in LA Californian IPA, 6.8%, 440 ml can Bradleys

Probably safe to say that hoppy West Coast IPA, with its amazing aromatics, not to mention flavours, is the regions’s flagship beer. But before that, American hops were being rejected by brewers in Europe and the US.

And then, according to National Geographic Atlas of Beer, along came Bert Grant of the Yakima Brewing and Malting Company and he developed the Northwest’s first version of the IPA. Soon that developed into the West Coast IPA that so many love today.

Lough Gill do quite a bit of business in the US and this pale and hazy IPA is not their first with a hoppy nod to the states. You’ve got two US hops deployed here, Citra and Mosaic. And you’re expecting a lot of citrus and tropical. 

What you do get is a more or less perfect balance between bitter and fruit notes. Malted barley with oats and rye are included in the ingredients and brewer Francesco Sottomano has managed to get them all in harmony. Hop forward yes, yet the flavours, attractively rounded, are long lasting and this is one for my shortlist! Hope Lough Gill put it on their core list!

From what I can glean, this IPA is like those of the southern part of the West Coast of the USA, “the San Diego version” according to Jeff Alworth’s Beer Bible, with “stiff hopping”. From a northwest IPA, expect more malt, less bitterness, and more aromatics and fruity hops.


Kinnegar Leaf Kicker 2022 Marzen, 5.9% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

Most of us who have hosted and or attended weddings will no doubt have enjoyed a beer or two. Very few weddings have started a beer trend. But that’s what happened when a royal wedding between Ludwig (the future king) and Therese took place in Bavaria in October 1810. That party was so good and the couple so popular that another party was held the following year and so Octoberfest was established.

By 1819, the festival had become a 2-week event (beer was just one strand), now organised by the city of Munich, and kicked off, as it does now, in mid-September. Marzen was the main style of beer for the festival and its name came from the fact that it was brewed in March to be at its best in Autumn.

Märzen later became - still is - popular in Austria though their version is lighter in colour and maltiness than the Bavarian beer.  In both regions, it was, before refrigeration, brewed in the Spring for consumption in the Autumn and, according to the National Geographic Atlas of Beer in 2017, held 60 to 70 per cent of Austria’s beer market.

And here we have the right royal brewers of Kinnegar with their Märzen which they did bring out in September (its colour close to the leaves of its name). So I’m a little behind, not for the first time, hard to keep up with all the new beers out there.

“…here’s our new autumn special,” they said. ”Each year we’ll make a different classic beer style, beginning in 2022 with this German Märzen. A lager, Märzen, was originally served at Oktoberfest in Munich. Enjoy this 5.9% ABV rendition as life returns to a slightly slower pace for the autumn months.”

This is for sure more the Bavarian style. Its ABV is in the Märzen range of 5-6.5% as against 4.5% to 5.5% for Vienna Lager. Amber is the colour (fountains of bubbles rise up) and it has an almost creamy mouthfeel.  This supple beer leads with its rich malts, along with a sweetish bagel* flavour and a touch of caramel. It finishes clean and a little hoppy.

It is deeply refreshing and also well suited to food including BBQ, pizzas and tacos plus a chicken from the rotisserie. Octoberfest may be finito for 2022 but this Donegal beer can be enjoyed for another month or two. 

* I’m thinking of the bagel I regularly get from Cork’s Bread & Roses..


Whiplash The Wake Export Stout, 7.0%, Whiplash online

Here's an excellent Export Stout from Whiplash. Black, like newly laid tarmac, with a soft tan head that’s slow enough to shift. Aromas of lightly roasted coffee and chocolate may be mild but they are persistent. And what follows on the impressive palate is not a million miles away, flavours of lightly toasted bread, plus a lick of cherry across those lips, coffee is never that far away as this quite hefty stout waltzes smoothly on its way to a merry, dry and rather marvellous finalé. May I have the next dance also, please!

That’s my immediate reaction to The Wake, (hardly a dancing occasion, getting my metaphors mixed up). The Whiplash crew, rarely slow to offer advice, are a tad shy here: “… while we don’t want to tell you how to drink your beer, we’d highly recommend this one on a cold evening in front of an open fire.” That could be arranged as could a case of this black beauty.

Thanks you Whiplash. Enjoy The Wake and Happy Christmas.


Whiplash Rollover Session IPA 3.8% ABV, 330 can 

Looking for a decent session beer. No shortage but my go-to is this Whiplash Rollover. Murky orange is the colour - no way you’re going to see through this haze! This was our session beer of 2020 and this most recent tasting confirmed it’s as likeable as ever.

Pale yellow colour with a  short-lived white head over a hazy body. Citrus fronts the aromatics. And the quartet of hops dominate the palate. Amazing that this has so much hops and still weighs in at less than 4.00% ABV. Quite a concentration of hops then, before a lip-smacking finalé.

They say: Same hop rate as our DIPA’s, less than half the alcohol. A very heavily hopped Session IPA: this comes at you with buckets of Simcoe, Ekuanot, Citra and Mosaic hops with a light touch of malts and an easy crushable body. Unfiltered, hazy, hoppy and juicy – Rollover is a New England inspired IPA without the heavy alcohol in tow.

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