Friday, February 23, 2024

Beer of the week. Sullivan’s Maltings Irish Ale

 Sullivan’s Maltings Irish Ale, 5% ABV, 

500 ml bottle, O’Donovan’s

Beer of the week!

Check our updated Beer of the Week Index here

“Traditionally brewed with only Kilkenny-grown ale malt, including three special darker malts and three varieties of hop.”

And those darker malts give it a much darker colour than your normal red ale. In a certain light, the deep red looks much like black. Darkness notwithstanding, the Maltings has an attractive lightness about it on the palate.

. The brewers continue: Fermented and matured with cask ale yeast and coupled with our no-rush brewing produces a smooth balanced classic ale. .. the result is a classic ruby ale with deep malt combining rich biscuit and gentle caramel notes.”

The aroma hints of a balance between malt fruit and hop bitterness and that continues on the body before the excellent well-balanced ale finishes dry. Quite a satisfactory bottle indeed and the drinker can see why this easy-drinking smooth ale is an award winner.

And it gets a major thumbs up here, not for the first time. Very Highly Recommended. Beer of the Week!

Sullivan’s were originally established in 1792 but lost their independence in 1918, thanks to a reckless wager. The story played out in Deauville, then a long-time magnet for Europe’s rich and famous. The exclusive seaside resort was all abuzz for the horseracing in August 1918, even though the Great War was still being waged. 

One Irishman had set his sights on an aristocratic French "fillé". He had opposition from a Venetian count. Sullivan, a gambler rather than a brewer, bet the family brewery on a horse to impress the Frenchwoman. He lost and, not fancying a duel with the count, had to settle his debts.

In Kilkenny, as a result of the wager, the Sullivan brewery (established eight years before Smithwick’s) was taken over by their rivals (“in a kind of a white knight rescue”) and the Sullivan name vanished from the enterprise. Another hundred years on and, in 2014, Diageo moved the production of Smithwick's to Dublin.

But the Sullivan story has been revived over the past few years or so with the emergence of a new Sullivan brewery, backed by the two intertwined families, the Sullivans and, yes, the Smithwicks, both keen to keep Kilkenny’s brewing tradition going. 

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