Friday, February 16, 2024

Beer of the Week. Western Herd Forge IPA

Beer of the Week 

Western Herd Forge IPA, 6.5%, ABV, 440 ml can

Check our updated Beer of the Week Index here

Inspired by five generations of storytelling blacksmiths from Kilkee and using some of the heavy-hitting hops that were then coming from the USA, Clare’s Western Herd Brewery came up with this cracking IPA.

With their own know-how, the skill of brewer Bridger Kelleher and the little-known hops (Kohatu, Rakau, Olicano and Harlequin), and in the quiet of the Covid lockdown they produced a beer with unique aromas and flavour palate. The current quartet of hops though are much better known.

 The beer itself pours a hazy orange colour. The combination of hops creates an appealing aroma of apricot, pineapple and lime zest, along with a creep of dankness. The fruit, especially the tropical pineapple, plus resinous notes, carries through to the flavour culminating in a satisfactory finish to this full-bodied beer.

Generally, the New England style is a hazy fruit bomb and totally different from the West Coast which is more bitter. Here in the Forge, the fruity profile of the hops is emphasised as opposed to the more bitter flavours of the West Coast varieties.

The danger, of course, is that you can get too much fruit and the palate can end up soaked in sweetness. But here the balance is pretty much perfect.

The forge was quite a social spot in the Irish countryside when I was growing up in the 50s and early 60s. I spent many a happy hour hanging around McNamara's in Caherlag, both outside and inside. One of my memories is not so happy though. In the dark interior, they had a black-rimmed photograph of the Manchester United team decimated by the 1960 Munich disaster.

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