Friday, September 15, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #44. Craft with an excellent quartet from Galway Hooker, Ballykilcavan, Kinnegar and Vedett

CorkBillyBeers #44

Craft with IPA and Pilsner from Galway Hooker, Ballykilcavan, Kinnegar and Vedett


Galway Hooker Sixty Knots IPA, 5.5% ABV, 500 ml bottle Centra Victoria Cross

Amber is the colour of this IPA from Galway Hooker. The earthy malts come through more in the aromatics than the hops and continue to contribute, now adding a touch of spice, on the full-flavoured palate while the hops get their turn with citrus and tropical flavopurs. The finish is certainly bitter but no more so than you'd expect from the style and, overall, Sixty Knots is well-balanced.

Highly Recommended.

A pioneer of the modern craft beer movement, famous for its innovation and quality. Galway Hooker, whose early production was actually in Roscommon, has developed a reputation as one of Ireland’s leading breweries. “Our ethos is to brew natural, full-flavoured, high quality and preservative-free beers. We like to think our beer helps to share the culture in all of us.” 

This IPA with an ABV of 5.5% and an IBU number of 60 certainly fits well in their portfolio. The brewers say it is well suited to seafood, cured meats or dessert dishes and, on Instagram, declare that “Galway Hooker IPA & Oysters are a perfect combination” and a Galway company would certainly know that! It is widely available in cans and bottles and also in kegs and draught.


Ballykilcavan Long Meadow IPA, 5.00% ABV, 440 ml can, Pettitt’s Athy

This IPA from Laois, named after a 300-year-old field on the farm, has a gold colour, with quite a wash of red onboard as well, all under a slightly off-white soft head. 

Aromas are mild, with the malt doing its own sweet thing and the hops, Azacca and Amarillo, contributing tropical and citrus plus a touch of herbal. The flavours are strong and hoppy (tropical and a touch of pine). Smooth with a terrific balance and one to savour.

Very Highly Recommended.

The water and barley also come from the farm and the IBU is 60. Local beer guru Susan Boyle reviewed this in its early days and declared: Ballykilcavan Brewery is a pioneer in Irish farm-to-glass brewing, and Long Meadow IPA is a beer to return to again and again.


Kinnegar Black Bucket Black Rye IPA 6.5% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

This is one of the impressive line-up of core beers at Kinnegar. They call this Brussels Beer Challenge gold medal winner “The bigger, darker brother to our Rustbucket Rye”.

I made my first acquaintance with this in 2018. It is indeed rather special. Looks black in the glass but a closer inspection reveals brown as well; the head is coffee-coloured. Aromas are mostly of the roasted malt (big and rich);  the spice of the rye makes quite an impression on the palate and there’s fruity flavours (tropical mostly) from the hops.

Quite a complex beer, a lot going on in this bucket, but the balance is excellent. an outstanding drop and Very Highly Recommended. The Rustbucket, by the way, is an “old reliable”, and is well into its second decade now. 


Vedett Extra Pilsner, 5.2% ABV, 330 ml bottle Bradleys

A pretty damn good blond premium lager.

Vedett doesn't pull punches: “Got a thirst that can’t be beat? We’ll see about that! Because Vedett Extra Pilsner is brewed to quench even the most stubborn of thirsts. Offering full-bodied refreshment from start to finish.”

Colour is a pretty ordinary straw with a clean white head. There’s a pleasing hoppiness and a slight malty aroma. All fairly modest, so far. And then, its big character, its complexity, its depth of flavour and refreshment emerge on the palate. A superb balance of malts and hops, the lengthy finish and a refreshment touched with a little bitterness spell satisfaction in capital letters. Ready to go again. Yes, please.

Here’s the official version: “After all, who can resist her seductive straw colour and pearly-white head? Her smooth, malty character with subtly balanced hops? Or her lingering fruitiness with subtle notes of vanilla?

Whatever your weakness, this premium Pilsner offers full-bodied, thirst-quenching refreshment from start to finish. With a slightly bitter aftertaste to keep you on your toes.”

Geek Bits

Malt: Pale Barley Malt & rice

Hops & Spices: Saaz-Saaz, Styrian Golding, Hallertau Magnum

Serve: 3 degrees

IBU 26. 


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