Craft Stout with 9 White Deer, Brewmaster, and Whitefield
Whitefield Traditional Series Irish Stout 7.5% ABV, 750ml bottle Bradleys
No nitro here, no need for it, just a beautiful smooth and creamy stout with the traditional black colour and tan head (one that hangs about). Aromas are toasty and smokey. And that smooth liquid flows creamily in and across the palate with marvellous toasted and roasted flavours (coffee included), mostly from the “special charring” of the oak barrel.
The alcohol, about 50% higher than usual, is just about noticeable, pleasurably so, nothing extreme in the overall experience.The stout is, as promised, a wonderfully complex, balanced, smokey and surprisingly light stout, superbly balanced. And you are immediately thinking steak. The Templemore brewery also suggests strong cheese.
This stout is part of their Traditional Series that also includes their Red Ale, and geared for food pairings. Both of these beers come in a 750ml bottle and are aimed at the restaurant business. A very good aim indeed but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one at home with your favourite steak! Easy to see why this is the winner of the 2016 Food Writers Guild of Ireland Drink Award.
And it is also a favourite at the brewery itself as Cuilan told me during our recent exchanges in advance of the blog post of Feb 21st last. “It represents everything we think here about traditional brewing from an Irish perspective.”
And there could well be more superb stout in the Templemore pipeline: “We want to take Irish Stout up a notch in alcohol but I’m a sucker for balance. Too many beers have wonderful first, second and third sip-ability but completely lose their balance after that and become hard to finish. I think we still have a lot to learn from the wine industry in terms of balance, so we’ll tread carefully while developing this recipe.“ Watch this space!
Very Highly Recommended.
9 White Deer Stag Stout 4.2% ABV, 500ml bottle
This gluten free Stag Stout, from Ballyvourney’s 9 White Deer, weights in at 4.2% ABV. It is a glossy black colour with a soft tan head. Aromas are rich and full of chocolate promise and that promise is fully delivered in the mouth. Here the chocolate and Madagascan vanilla play quite the most pleasing duet as the rich and smooth beer finds its way around. This is a must try chocolate “block” from the West Cork Gaeltacht; it is distinctive and delicious. Smooth and creamy, all without any nitro!
And Very Highly Recommended.
I first came across this black beauty in Blairs Inn (near Blarney) in the winter of 2017. Richard Blair, one of two brothers now running the pub, told me of a satisfied customer of a few days earlier. A coeliac, the man hadn’t drunk stout, his favourite tipple, for twenty years but, having sampled the Stag, left Blair's Inn with tears of gratitude.
Then Richard’s mother Anne guides us to our fireside table. We begin with some stout infused brown bread! Delicious stuff and, of course, the Stag is one of the ingredients. Then I get to enjoy a pint with my Venison Casserole and it proved a great match for the rich dish of Wicklow venison. That ritual would be repeated in some form or other almost every winter up and including the current one.
They say: Stag Stout is a medium bodied traditional dry Irish stout at 4.2 % ABV. It is designed to appeal primarily to traditional stout drinks, who remember how creamy the pints used to be. The complex recipe we developed brings back to life characteristics that are long forgotten. However this stout is like no other, Stag Stout also happens to be gluten free, the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
This is a double chocolate and Madagascan vanilla stout, with cocoa and vanilla in the ingredients list, also green barley and oats.
Recent features on micro-breweries Ballykilcavan, 9 White Deer, Whitefield
Brewmaster Nitro Stout, 4.2%, 440 ml can,
Dundalk Bay Brewery are confident, to say the least, about this one: Do you dream of Nitro Stout that is as good, if not better than what’s out on the market? Then look no further and join us in a toast to our very own Brewmaster Nitro Stout. … Our unique widget technology in-can gives the most superb cascade effect on pour and a creamy head with richness and body synonymous to draught.
It settles down well, after the recommended vigorous pour, with a smooth black body and a slightly tanned tight head that does hang about for a long while.
After that smooth pour, aromas speak of coffee and fresh bread. And those toasted warming malt flavours come through as you sip, full-bodied and smooth, full of flavour enhanced by notes of chocolate, honey and hops.
An excellent stout indeed, very elegant and smooth but lacks that little bit of depth, of devilment, that would propel it to the very top of the list.
As was the case with the Left Hand nitro, I like the theatre at the start and like the finish but the overall experience is all a bit moderate. Nitro is certainly an interesting angle, a comfortable drink, and well worth a try and I fully understand why quite a few drinkers rave about it.