Wednesday, October 4, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #49. Craft with Hope, Western Herd and Dungarvan Brewing

CorkBillyBeers #49

Craft with Hope, Western Herd and Dungarvan Brewing


Hope Pass If You Can Pale Ale, 4.6% ABV, 440 ml can Dunnes Stores

A great all-rounder

A classic Pale Ale in the American style, synonymous with the current worldwide craft beer explosion since the 1980s. It is an easy-drinking beer, with a clear hop character, but not as hoppy or indeed as bitter as an IPA.

That’s the brewery’s summing up of their Pass Oif YouCan Pale Ale.

It has a lovely gold colour, a hazy one but not enough to hide the fountains of bubbles rising towards the big soft white head. The fruity character of the hops comes through in the aromas. And also on the palate. Not overly fruity mind you nor overly bitter either. The well-judged harmony between the fruity hop flavours and the medley of Irish and European malts defines the beer.

Hope is quite happy with it. “An easy drinking malty and slightly fruity pale ale with a subtle hop kick. A great all-rounder that combines well with most main dishes, such as chicken or prawns, BBQs and pizza.”

I’m also very happy with it. Very Highly Recommended.

The Ale is named after Michael Collier, a notorious 19th-century highwayman who was North County Dublin’s answer to Robin Hood. He was so successful that his townland was dubbed Passifyoucan. Finally arrested in 1807 in his favourite haunt The Cock, he was transported and returned home only to die of cholera! Still, the name remains.

Geek Bits

Hops: Magnum, Mosaic, Citra,

Yeast: US-05

Malts: Pale Ale, CaraHell, Munich, Acidulated.

Core Range: Yes

Bought 20.09.23.

BBD 27.10.23


Western Herd Islander Session IPA 4.2% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Midleton

“Inspired by the hazy, juicy beers made famous by Vermont brewers, this is Islander. Embrace the haze.”

That’s the intro to this session beer by Count Clare brewery Western Herd, which stands on a picturesque hilltop farm in a converted shed built over 80 years ago by “our great-grandfather”. The grandchildren, siblings Michael Eustace and Maeve Sheridan, founded the brewery and it was then “found” in 2018 by Montana-born Bridger Kelleher and he “kept turning up” and eventually took over as brewer.

The Islander has a hazy light orange colour with a fluffy white head that stays around for a spell. Aromas are mild, tropical and ripe. On the palate, the beer is soft with citrus and melon showing. The producers indicate that the intention is “to provide a hop burst of flavour that is easy to drink and won’t weigh you down”. Reckon they have succeeded here.

Highly Recommended. The Best Before date had not expired here but there were just a few days to go. 

Geek Bits

Session IPA

Golden, hazy, juicy

Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe

Pale, Stout Mix, Malted Oats, Flaked Oats, White Wheat, Torrified Wheat, CaraPils


Original Gravity



Hope Handsome Jack IPA, 6.6% ABV, 440 ml can Dunnes Stores

Citrusy - malty - bitter. A full-flavoured citrusy and double dry hopped IPA. Great with burgers and pizza.

That’s the brief intro to Handsome Jack by brewers Hope.

This golden beer, with a soft white head, is a little on the hazy side. There’s a supple hint of orange in the aromas but the sweet malt is also holding its own here. And that duel continues on the palate with juicy citrus coming to a duet that also involves the sweetness of the Irish Pale malt. In the end, it's all square between the bitterness of the hops and the mildness of the malt. No losers here of course and the punters are the winners with another excellent beer from Hope who indicates that it pairs well with burgers and roast meat, pizza, Indian dishes, strong, salty cheese and carrot cake.


And who was Handsome Jack? Jack Criss, the 17th-century Irish pirate, was tall and handsome with blonde hair and eyes as green as the sea. He set sail from Ireland, plundering his way to Spain and Italy. He didn’t die in battle but someone got cross with Criss and stabbed him to death in a Naples hotel. Probably one of his four wives. Some bachelor!

Highly Recommended. The beer that is, not the pirate!

Geek Bits

Hops: Magnum, Cascade, Sorachi Ace, Simcoe, Citra

Yeast: American Ale

Malts: Minch Hook Head Ale, Weyermann CaraMunich II, Weyermann CaraPils, Weyermann Acidulated

EBU 49

Bought 20.09.23.

BBD 25.04.24

Core Range: Yes


Dungarvan Mahon Falls Rye Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Midleton

Dungarvan is a family-run independent microbrewery in Dungarvan with over a decade of brewing experience and this is one of their regular seasonal beers, appearing annually in the springtime.

The colour is a murky orange/red with a soft white head that hangs about a bit. Aromas are a bit on the punchy side, with the rye leading the attack, the hops bringing the fruit posse onto the palate before a moderately bitter finish with the spicy rye always a player in the background though it is more hoppy bitter overall than malty sweet.

Highly Recommended. Not bad for a beer that was disappointingly almost six months past its Best Before date.

Food Pairings: This full-flavoured punchy fruity ale works great with lighter-flavoured foods like chicken, pork and fish or even with salad dishes. The brewery also says that the fruitiness of this Mahon Falls works really well with the tang of a Wensleydale or Caerphilly-style cheese. Try Knockdrinna‘s Laviston or The Little Milk Company‘s Brewer’s Gold.

Geek Bits

Style: Rye Pale Ale

ABV: 5.1%

Malts: Malted Rye (Pale, Cara)

Hops: Galaxy, Summit, Ella

IBUs: 50

Allergens: Contains barley.

Calories: 230 per 500ml

Serve: 8-12°C

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