Craft IPA with Torc Brewing, White Hag, Brú and O Brother.
Torc Kerry Natterjack IPA 5% ABV, 500 ml bottle Carry Out Killarney
In Castlegregory, County Kerry, there is a bar/restaurant called Natterjacks. It is named after the toads in the county. Both the bar and the toad can be happily noisy occasionally. This IPA is named for the toad who has a very loud and distinctive mating call amplified by the single vocal sac found under the chin of the male.
The toad has a yellow line down the middle of the back. The Torc beer is more orange than yellow with a soft white head. It is fairly hazy but you can just about see the fountains of bubbles rising towards the top.
Aromas are fairly delicate, mostly floral and resinous with a touch of citrus also. Flavours are piney and fresh, with a refreshing punch to it, and an excellent balance between malts and hops (bitterness is mid-range). If you want an IPA with a difference, this is well worth trying.
Very Highly Recommended.
Torc says: Our IPA packs a flavour punch, brewed using Irish Pale Ale Malt, Irish Wheat, and speciality Caramunich Malt. This blend, combined with select hops, results in a well-balanced India Pale Ale…. Ideal food pairings include pork, steak, BBQ, and spicy dishes.
And about those natterjacks? Well, the label tells us they are an endangered species in Ireland. “Their natural range is restricted to the coastal zones around Castlemaine Harbour and Castlegregory in Co Kerry. In Spring, when the male is most active, the loud croaking call can be heard from as much as one kilometre away.”
SRM: 4.3 • IBU: 83 • ABV: 5%
Style: Indian Pale Ale • Released: 2023
Malts: Irish Pale Ale Malt, Irish Wheat, and speciality Caramunich Malt
White Hag Atlantean NEIPA 5.4% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys
This hazy pale orange ale comes with a white foamy crown that soon dissipates. It is, of course, meant to be cloudy as that is part and parcel of a New England IPA. Aromas are of the tropics, nothing too strong though.
“Drink the beer as fresh as possible, when all the Alpha & Beta oils from the hops are the most powerful.” And I did just that and got a creamy rush of refreshment, a velvet glove equipped with a big, juicy, fruit punch. I’ll take a count and go again.
The White Hag has expended “copious amounts’ of American hops in this one. But the bitterness you might have had expected has been subdued by the use of oats and lactose that add a rich creaminess. It is not that unusual for New England IPAs to exhibit a tropical, juicy sweetness rather than the classic bitter.
- The ABV is 5.4%, which is on the lower end for a NEIPA. This makes it a bit more sessionable.
- The beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized.
- The beer is best enjoyed fresh, as the hop flavours will fade over time.
Very Highly Recommended.
Breweries can come up with amazing yarns. This is the one on the Atlantean label: Atlantean is inspired by mythological sea journeys that took curious voyagers beyond the ninth wave in search of the magical Otherworlds and the secret treasures they held. For this IPA our inspiration has travelled back from the other lands of New England across the cloudy foam of the Atlantic.
Ingredients: water, lactose, barley, wheat, oats, yeast, hops
Brú Urban Jungle Citrus IPA 5.5% ABV,
“Amarillo, a pioneer of American hops, is blended with Ekuanot. This mix has created a vortex of fresh fruity flavours, above all the citrus side with a hint of pineapple sweetness.” That’s the intro to this IPA from Brú.
Colour is mid-gold, slightly hazy with a soft white head. The aromatics are moderate, mostly on the Citra side: lemon, orange and lime. The two hops combine well and give a complex mix on the palate, that “vortex of fresh fruit flavours” according to the brewery. Above all, it is refreshing, with a decent bittering at the finish.
Fruity and refreshing then and Highly Recommended.
Hops: Amarillo, Ekuanot
Malts: Carapils, Golden Promise, Oat Flakes, Pale
Brú is proud to champion local ingredients. “We’re engaged with our community, working alongside local producers to bring our customers the best examples of Irish food and drink.
As an Irish company, we’re committed to supporting local charities and the communities around us. In brewing, our Irish partners include:
Brú, established in 2013 in County Meath, nowadays offer two core ranges “driven by the same brewing spirit”: BRÚ core and Urban Jungle. “BRÚ Brewery brews beer for all tastes, whether you’re a seasoned craft beer drinker, or just looking for a familiar quality pint.” The beers are widely available and well worth checking out.
O Brother Ikigai Oat Cream IPA 6.1% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Coburg St
Some similarities between this and the Atlantean above. Colour is common, a hazy pale orange, though Ikigai has a larger head, soft and longer lasting. Aromas are subtle, citrus, grassy and grapefruit. These along with citrusy, spicy and herbal notes follow through just about to the palate, with hints of sweetness thanks to the lactose, and the expected creamy feel (from the oats) barely materialises as the beer seems to lose its way.
They say: “Ikigai is your true purpose in life or reason for being. We know what gets us up in the morning and keeps us going through the challenging times: Finding new and exciting ways to make delicious beer, meeting and working with like-minded independent souls who are pushing the boundaries of their fields and bringing it all together to create an elevated beer experience for all our thirsty beer drinkers. Beer is our Ikigai.”
Label: Citra, Comet
Ingredients - Water, Malted Barley, Oats, Lactose, Hops, Yeast