Stronger Craft Beers with Mescan and Hope
Mescan Westport Extra, 8.5% ABV, 330 ml bottle
Mescan Westport Extra has an attractive golden colour with a white head and no shortage of bubbles rising. Spicy yeast notes and fruity esters are prominent.
The first impression from the palate is sweet malt but soon the promised hop bitterness is confirmed and becomes even more pronounced as the first sip flows fully and gently across the mouth on the way to a long lingering finish. A superbly balanced beer, the high alcohol is smoothly controlled.
Very Highly Recommended. Exceptional.
A Belgian-style beer from Westport and well up there with the best of the Trappists. One of the best of the style and consistently one of the best brews in this country.
A lot of work and time goes into the production of this beauty. It takes almost a year from when it is brewed before this strong, well-carbonated golden ale will be ready for punters to sip and savour.
Indeed, Mescan take their time with all their beers. Co-founder and brewer Cillian Ó Móráin: ”Our outstanding USP, which is genuinely unique to Mescan, is the long maturation process with a minimum of 3 months (up to 9 months with the stronger beers), between brewing and packaging. This unhurried process allows time for the flavours to develop, much like maturing a wine. These long conditioning times make the beers more expensive to produce but add greatly to the quality. The resulting depth and range of flavour make them particularly well suited to pairing with food."
“Enjoy with white meats or seafood, and fruity, nutty desserts.” This robust beer is a real treat, and its warming alcohol is the perfect antidote to a bad weather day! Just musing on it there and am beginning to think this strong, dry, well-carbonated golden ale would be perfect with rabbit. Serving temperature: 3-6 °C
Mescan Special Reserve Dark Beer, 8.4% ABV, 330 ml bottle
Colour of this Mescan Special Reserve is dark, not deep black, but a deep ruby with some flashes of red in its depths. The aromatics feature caramel, mostly. And the palate is a five-star show of fruitiness (dates, figs), the malt still in evidence as this Mayo star maintains its amazing experience right to the finalé.
The Mescan website says this is a robust beer and I’d be loath to disagree. For me, despite the high ABV, this is smooth and quite accessible and well worth seeking out. I took my own advice here, sip not gulp, and my "patience" was amply rewarded.
A complex beer yet the ingredients list is simple enough: Spring water, barley, wheat, hops, yeast. Very Highly Recommended.
This full-bodied beer pairs beautifully with stews and game. Surprisingly, it complements chillies and spicy dishes. Also delicious with chocolate desserts or cheese. Full Mescan food wheel here
Mescan Westport Red Tripel, 8.0% ABV, 330 ml bottle
During a recent visit to Mescan, outside of Westport, they told us their well-known “secret”: ”Our outstanding USP*, which is genuinely unique to Mescan, is the long maturation process with a minimum of 3 months (up to 9 months with the stronger beers), between brewing and packaging. This unhurried process allows time for the flavours to develop, much like maturing a wine. These long conditioning times make the beers more expensive to produce but add significantly to the quality. The resulting depth and range of flavour make them particularly well suited to pairing with food."
"During our long conditioning process, the yeast settles out naturally, with no need to use finings for clarifying, and making the beers suitable for vegans. Simple, natural ingredients are used to create Mescan beers: spring water, barley, wheat, hops, yeast, spices and nothing else. Our beers are almost exclusively brewed in Belgian styles."
Red is the colour, of course. There’s not that much of a head but it does hang about a bit. Aromas are malty, fruity, nutty. It is smooth and complex on the palate and you know, if you didn’t already, that this is one to sip and savour. To gulp would be greedy, barbaric, showing a lack of respect for the maestros of Mescan.
So, tóg go bog é (take it easy) and enjoy the remarkable nutty and caramel flavours, the warming beer, its malty and fruity qualities, its complex and full-bodied experience on the palate and let it slowly take you to a rewarding finalé.
Very Highly Recommended.
They detail the route to perfection on their website. “This is our take on the strong beers pioneered by the Belgian Trappist monastery breweries. Tripels are strong, complex beers and are traditionally golden in colour. We decided to make ours red and the malts used to achieve this add even more complexity to the flavours on the palate.”
And a few more tips.
Serve 7-10 degrees.
See food pairing here https://www.mescanbrewery.com/food-pairing-for-our-beers
Bottle conditioned in the Belgian style beer.
To enjoy the beer clear, store upright and pour into a glass, leaving the yeast sediment in bottle.
* USP - unique selling point.
Hope West Coast IPA 7.4% ABV, 440 ml can Carry Out Killarney
“A classic West Coast IPA, this beer is a nod to the iconic beer style that helped launch the craft beer revolution. It’s brewed with four of the classic “C” hops: Cascade (grapefruit. Floral, Pine), Columbus (Dank, Pepper, PungenT), Centennial (Blossom, Orange, Resionous) and Chinook (Grapefruit, Pine, Spice). The use of these US hops provides the style-defining flavours of citrus, pine, and resin.”
Hope are obviously happy that they’ve cracked it here!
Hops are used liberally in the kettle and in dry hop additions, giving the beer a robust bitterness and an intense hop aroma and finish. The malt bill is relatively simple. It is designed to balance the bitterness, while also allowing the hop flavours to shine through. This limited edition beer is no. 30 in the series.
The colour is golden/amber with hoppy aromas, citrus, pine and floral amongst them. And the all-American hop line-up, owns the palate, pungent with citrus and pine and a hint of dankness, on the way to a very fine lip-smacking finish. Quite intense, start to finish, yet the relatively simple malt bill has done the business here and the expected bitterness is well balanced, making this quite a beer with barely a hint of the high ABV.
Very Highly Recommended.
Hops: Cascade, Columbus, Centennial, Chinook
Food Pairing: Burger, Tacos, Pizza