Craft with Wicklow Wolf, Galway Hooker, St Bernardus and Community Brew Project.
Wicklow Wolf Eden Session IPA, 3.8% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys
Deliciously juicy, easy-drinking dry-hopped ale
The colour is hazy orange with a soft white head. Aromas of resin and grapefruit. Citrus is also prominent in the juicy palate where there’s quite a tropical presence as well, and again there’s a hint of pine. Well-balanced though all through with the malts having their say and the freshness of the hops combining in a satisfactory finalé.
Deliciously juicy, this easy-drinking dry-hopped ale, carrying just 3.8% ABV, is a banker for a session, another winner from the Wicklow Wolf.
Very Highly Recommended.
They introduced it in 2019, saying: “An easy drinking Session IPA brewed with a shed load of the freshest El Dorado, Sabro & Chinook hops….We are obsessed with hops. Deliciously juicy, Eden is dry-hopped to give an abundance of tropical and stone fruits with a hint of piney bitterness. The malt bill provides a creamy & well-rounded balance. Malts: Pale, Oats, Cara Blond, Cara Clair
Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale, 4.3% ABV, 500 ml bottle Centra Victoria Cross
Established in 2006, Galway Hooker produced the original Irish Pale Ale – now the most popular style of craft beer in the country.
And this bottle is indeed marked “the Original”. Colour is a mid-gold, a bit on the hazy side but that doesn't prevent you from seeing the bubbles rising up to the soft white head. Aromas are a mix of citrus and floral. It is crisp and zingy and the flavours are deep on the palate with both malts (Caramel) and hops (Cascade) getting an influential look-in. Quite a refreshing beer with a dry finish.
Perfect, they say, with barbecued meats, seafood and mature farmhouse cheeses. Very Highly Recommended.
Hooker tells us it is created in small batches to make the perfect balance of slowly developed malt and Hops flavours. “The result is a tangy flavour to savour with a light citrus aroma. It combines European and American hops with Irish malt to produce a truly unique blend of old world subtlety and new world taste.”
“Our ethos is to brew natural, full-flavoured, high quality and preservative-free beers. The results are beers that have received numerous awards, including Gold Medals at the Irish Food Awards and the World Beer Awards”.
St Bernardus Wit, 5.0% ABV, 330 ml can Bradleys
St.Bernardus Wit is a traditional unfiltered Belgian wheat beer produced in Watou. It was developed in collaboration with Pierre Celis, the legendary master brewer who was the driver of the resurgence of white beer in the 1960s.
It has a pale orange colour, quite hazy with a dense white head. The aromatics are quite complex though clove stands out for me. There follows a masterclass in balance in the mouth. The herbal notes (coriander), the spice (clove), the fruit (orange, lemon), the sweet malt and the creamy texture (from the wheat) all combine marvellously well with a superb result.
It is a very refreshing beer but quite versatile at the table (which almost goes without saying when you have a Belgian beer at hand).
St Bernardus are enthusiastic: “This incredibly versatile beer can be paired with almost any recipe from anywhere in the world. Its most outstanding role is perhaps that of a refreshing contrast when served with creamy dishes - a risotto for example - or in combination with shellfish and white fish. Do you serve a slice of lemon with your fish? You can echo that or a lemon sauce or dressing with this beer with its strong hints of citrus.”
Community Brew Project Fragments Red IPA, 6.5% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys
How does the Brew Project* work?
“It's pretty simple... It's up to you to tell us what you'd like to see brewed by each of the breweries! We'll narrow the ideas down to a shortlist, and then vote. The beers with the most votes get brewed. We have four brilliant breweries taking part in the project: Ballykilcavan, Dead Centre, Hope and Dot Brew.”
This Red IPA is brewed by Hope. And, yes, it is reddish, pretty murky, with a cream head that slowly sinks. Hops used (“liberally”) are Citra and Amarillo and you do get a bit of citrus fruit in both aromas and flavours. Not a great balance though and we parted ways before the end.
* More details of the project on the Craic Beer Community platform here.