Showing posts with label Bacchus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bacchus. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #26. Craft Beer Fruit and Nut. And Honey. With Galway Hooker, Clancy's Cans, Lough Gill and Bacchus

CorkBillyBeers #26

Craft Beer Fruit and Nut. And Honey. With Galway Hooker, Clancy's Cans, Lough Gill and Bacchus


Galway Hooker Honey Beer, 5.3% ABV, 500ml bottle

This Galway Hooker Honey Beer comes in an amber colour with a slightly off-white head, a soft one. The aromas are more like those of a lager, grassy and floral and just a little hint of honey. The honey does come in a wee bit stronger on the palate, adding a little sweetness but nothing over the top. Well balanced overall and quite a crisp refreshing finish.

This unique beer is a collaboration between the brewery and locally based Leahy Beekeeping “to bring you a special taste of the West of Ireland.” And it certainly does.

By the way, the ABV is given as 4.1% on the website but it is 5.3% on the bottle. IBU is 25.

No matter the figures, this is an excellent beer and is Very Highly Recommended. Indeed, I think you may like it whether you like honey or not! And a big thank you to Dermott of the Pantry and Corkscrew Restaurant in Westport for introducing me to this one!


"Both lagers and ales can be brewed with honey. Some brewers will choose to experiment with ingredients, while others will add honey to traditional styles. Overall the character of honey should be evident but not totally overwhelming. A wide variety of honey beers are available. U.S. brewers may add honey to the boil kettle (as a sugar source) or post-boil (to preserve more volatile aromatics)."


Clancy's Cans #11 Maple & Pecan Brown Ale, 7.5% ABV, 440ml can CraftCentral

Surprise, surprise. This brown ale pours into the glass and it is brown, though you might see the odd “flash” of ruby. The head is a bubbly one with a tan shade. A mild chocolate, mild caramel too and a toasty touch feature in the initial aromatics and get stronger on the palate along with a fleeting in and out sweet input from the roasted pecans (not so much from the syrup). Quite complex and long-lasting on the finish. That fresh sweet-sour taste is, the producers say, typical for this type of beer.

And you come across that too in Ballykilcavan's highly regarded Bambrick's Brown Ale. This is, after all, the Export strength version of Bambrick’s. 

Highly Recommended.

Oddly enough, I’ve scoured the Ballykilcavan site for a mention of Clancy’s Cans but nary a sign. Why? I wonder. The label comes to the rescue with some info: “a limited edition series of cans.  We’ve called them Clancy’s Cans, in recognition of the five generations of the Clancy family who have worked and continue to work on the farm."

The label sums it up: “Dark chocolate and burnt toffee meets sweet nutty sweetness.” And advises to enjoy it between 7 and 11 degrees.

Yes, Maple essence and Pecans are included in the ingredients list.

It has much the same ABV as Old Brown, a dark beer from Mayo’s Mescan with a mild sourness, of the type that has been brewed in West Flanders since the 17th century. Enjoyed one of those a month or so back in that superb Westport restaurant The Pantry and Corkscrew. The Mescan, which is matured in oak barrels for more than two years, is somewhat ahead of this one.


Lough Gill Macadamia Nut Brown Ale, 5.5%, 440ml can Bradleys

Lough Gill emphasise that “This Brown Ale is brewed with real Macadamia nuts, roasted in our own kitchen, along with top quality malts and hops for a rich nutty flavour and luxurious dark brown colour.”

It has been around for a while and is definitely a favourite here. Colour is a rich dark brown with hints of red leaking through occasionally. Aromas are from the roasted nuts, mostly. And lead to a decadent sweet and roasty flavour on the luxurious palate and note that outstandingly smooth texture. No need to change my opinion on this one, a winner every single time.

Very Highly Recommended.

Attention to detail has paid off for Lough Gill. “Things were getting a bit squirrely over here; it must be the trays upon trays of macadamia nuts we hand-roasted for this beer. Some would say we’ve gone nuts – but taking our time over each and every step is part of what makes every one of our craft brews unique.”


Bacchus Kriekenbier (Cherry Beer), 5.8% ABV, 330 ml can Bradleys

Looking for a refreshing fruit beer? This is one.

Cheery cherry beers are quite the thing in Belgium. This one comes in a dark robe but there’s a red glow off it. The off-white head doesn’t stay around for long. No mistaking the cherries in the aromas or on the palate either. In the mouth though there is quite a bit of tart acidity which results in a sweet and sour taste. Quite a thirst quencher! Serve at about 5 degrees.

The name tells you this is a beer with cherries. And the ingredients list names cherry juice, cherries, and cherry flavour.

They say: The basis for this surprising cherry beer is Bacchus Vlaams Oud Bruin (Bacchus Flemish Old Brown). During the brewing process, the brewer adds roasted malts to this Flemish red-brown beer. By the way, we enjoyed a bottle of that Old Brown recently 

Some Other Belgian Krieks:




Kriek De Ranke;

Cantillon Kriek;

Mort Subite Kriek;

Floris Kriek;

Boon Kriek

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #10. Craft journey with Brown Ales from Ireland and Belgium: Ballykilcavan, Whiplash, Bacchus, and Chimay

CorkBillyBeers #10

Craft journey with Brown Ales from Ireland and Belgium: Ballykilcavan, Whiplash, Bacchus, and Chimay


Bacchus Flemish Old Brown, 4.5% ABV, 375 ml bottle The Cru

Bacchus introduce Old Brown (Oud Bruin) as “A typical Flemish beer with a pleasant taste of wine...and a rich past. Partially matured in oak barrels, this dark brown beer has moderately fruity aromas and a slightly acidic aftertaste.” This type of beer has been brewed in West Flanders since the 17th century.

Colour is brown as you’d expect with a slight tan head that barely says hello before its fades, leaving just a trace on top. It is indeed a mild one and the first taste indicates a tart wine-like acidity (somewhat similar to what you’ll find in the Basque wine Txakoli) but that moderates soon enough. That fresh sweet-sour taste is, the producers say, typical for this type of beer. The sweetness, nothing mega, comes from the touch of caramel from the roasted malt while the sourness is “is less pronounced than the sourness of other Flemish red-brown beers”.

And another odd thing is that there is no label,  no info at all on the bare bottle, but it comes on the unusual paper wrap! It informs us it is a mixed fermentation beer with sugar and sweetener and that the ingredients are water, barley malt, sugar, wheat, hop, spices, aromas, sweetener. That sweetener is steviol glycosides, aneis around 150-300 times sweeter than sugar! Check it out here,  if you are inclined!

Bacchus Oud Bruin was launched in 1955, making it their oldest beer. The Bacchus Kriek (in my queue) and Bacchus Raspberry are brewed on base of Bacchus Oud Bruin. Once I settled in to it, I found it quite a lively and refreshing beer with a pleasant finish, perhaps more suited to the garden in summer.

This beer was not designed to be a culinary or gastronomic beer, unlike some other beers within the extensive Van Honsebrouck range. When Oud Bruin was developed in the 50s as a beer style, no thought was given to gastronomy when brewing beer.

More about the brewery here.


Chimay Red “Brown Ale”, 7.0 % ABV, 330 ml bottle Bradleys

The Chimay Red is the oldest of the Chimays. It gets its name from the the colour of the label. The colour of the beer is a multi-hued copper tinted brown (from copper to deep ruby) with a tan head that sinks down to a thin disc without too much delay.

Malty aromas, fruity and toasted, invite you on to the palette where you meet them again in the flavours. Fruits such as orange, peach and apricot now meld with sweet honey, nougat and baguette from the malt. And yet, there’s a delightful balance from first to last, minerality, aromas and flavours all combining in bringing a super conclusion as the aftertaste lingers

The Authentic Trappist Product label certifies that this ale is brewed in a Trappist abbey and that the majority of sales income is intended for social aid. Chimay Red was brewed for the first time in 1862.  

The perfect pairing for the Chimay Red is with Chimay cheeses but particularly with the Grand Chimay.

Trappist beers are among those that age gracefully. Brew Dog's Great Beer for the People list three requirements: high ABV, low hops, and bottle conditioned. Trappist beers tick those boxes and “they get softer, sweeter and fruitier.  …… They age beautifully.”

Ingredients: water, barley malt, sugar, wheat starch, hop, spices, yeast, 


Ballykilcavan Bambrick’s Brown Ale, 5.8%, 440 ml can, The Cru

"Possibly the beer we're best known for! A beer to savour all year round, but it does really suit these shorter, cooler Autumn evenings. Enjoyed all the way from Laois to Lombardy," says David Walsh-Kemmis of Ballykilcavan.

This Bambrick’s Brown Ale is brewed with barley and water sourced from the family farm in County Laois. It is named after Joe Bambrick who worked on the farm for sixty years. And, believe it or not, the Walsh family have been farming here through 13 generations, since 1639!

Not a Belgian style beer this time but a Brown Ale based on the rich and malty American style. The ingredients are simple: malted barley and wheat, water, hops and yeast.

It is a dark brown colour with a tan head that slinks away rather quickly. Aromas are modest with a little fruit (including slight cherry notes) coming through the chocolate and toffee. Superb on the rich and malty palate, just a soft touch of hops, roasted coffee and burnt toffee all the way through to the dry lip-smacking finish.

IBU of this one is 26. It seems to be quite a successful style for Ballykilcavan and, in a recent post, brewery co-founder David Walsh-Kemmis indicated that they may well have another example or two during 2023. They already make an Export Bambrick’s with an 8% ABV so I must watch out for that!

Very Highly Recommended


Whiplash Quiet Crowd Robust Brown Ale 5.0%, 330 ml can Whiplash Online

Colour’s more black than brown and there’s a silky and tight knit tan foam that hangs about a bit.  The aromas, of modest intensity, are on the malty side, caramelised and toasty, with prominent coffee notes. And so too are the roasty flavours (not too modest now though!) and there’s quite a depth here with chocolate, caramel and bread. Really impressive. 

Malt certainly has the upper hand, yet there is a very satisfactory lip smacking finish with enough bitterness to allow the malt shine without having it too sweet, that balance coming despite the heavy use of caramel and aromatic malts.

Not sure the 5% would qualify it as robust though! According to the Beer Bible, you are more likely to find these nowadays in Chicago rather than on this side of the Atlantic.

Very Highly Recommended