Showing posts with label Bradley's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bradley's. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #123. On the craft journey with Third Barrel, Rascals, Wide Street and Larkins

 A Quart of Ale± #123

On the craft journey with Third Barrel,  Rascals, Wide Street and Larkins 

Third Barrel Day Drinking Part Deux Citra Strata Session IPA, 4% ABV, 400ml can Bradleys

Our Citra Strata Session IPA is the second in Third Barrel’s series of summer slammers. This one is double dry hopped with Citra and Strata. The first was  called Day Drinkin and was a one hop (Simcoe) beer. That drew a great response and so they were inspired to go again. And here we are.

The current slammer is a hazy pale orange one with a soft white head. Aromas are quite citrus-y. But it is with the impact on the palate that it makes the big impression here. The citrus led fruit and the lip-smacking finish, all in a dank envelope, make this one to note.

We summed up the first Day: Day Drinkin, at the 4% abv, would certainly make for a good session, night or day. As they say themselves: “be sure to pick up a few for your next bbq, camping trip or even just sitting on your own in the kids paddling pool.” 

It seems the opportunities for outdoor recreation are fast fading but there’s nothing to say you can’t enjoy one or more of Part Deux inside, or maybe under an awning, even a tent. Made for a session and well made.

"Initially formed in 2016 as a collaboration between two gypsy brands who wanted their own space, Third Barrel has now grown to be one of the most respected brands in Irish craft beer. Brewing everything from the most wholesome Pils to Triple IPAs and everything in-between.  

Our one and only passion in life is making savage beer and we love sharing that passion with you.”

Rascals X Yeastie Boys Krush Groove IPA 7.0%, 440ml can Yards & Crafts

“The finest NZ hops fused into a tropical & citrus flavour bomb…it’s all peace, love and juice!” 

That is how Rascals introduce this collaboration with Yeastie Boys. Falls flat though; this flavour bomb lacks a detonator.

Let us have a look. And a taste. Orange is the colour, hazy for sure. Nice white head but doesn’t hang about. Aromas are rather modest, soft notes of citrus and also tropical. 

They have deployed a quartet of New Zealand hops here: Galaxy, Nelson, Betty and the lesser known Riwaka and expected flavours include citrus and tropical. Clearly, a lot of work from the collaborators to get here. Was it worth it? Not for me. 

What I did enjoy from Rascals recently was a pint of their superb 4.4% stout on draught at the Celtic Whiskey bar in Killarney. Big thumbs up for that one!

Geek Bits

Malt: Low Colour Marris Otter Malt, Vienna Malt, Torrified Wheat, Naked Oat Malt

Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, Betty, Riwaka

Yeast: LAX

ABV: 7%

Larkin’s Tiny Sesh IPA 4.0%, 440ml can Yards & Crafts

This little Sesh, with a punky gorilla on the front label, could well be described in my shorthand as troppy, meaning hoppy with tropical aromas and flavours. And it’s true enough as regards the aromas, pretty big indeed. And it is quite juicy and with much the same fruits on the palate. 

So no bother in agreeing with Larkin’s Insta summation: “Our new improved session IPA with bigger aroma and body.” Well balanced beer, easy to drink and easy to enjoy.

The label claims it’s an East Coast style and, that is confirmed by tasty tropical notes, less bitterness and the hazy appearance (not so hazy that you can’t see the fountains of bubbles rise to the top). 

Ingredients are listed as Barley, Wheat, Oats, Hops, Water and Yeast. Tiny is part of the new Larkin’s core range and is available in single cans and in “a great value” 440ml 4 pack. One of those beers that might well make the jump to draught.


Wide Street Sound by Design Pale Ale 4.4%, 440ml can Yards & Crafts

Wide Street’s Belgian style Pale Ale has a light, almost lemony colour with a soft white head that persists a while over the haze. Aromas and flavours are tropical and hoppy and there is the slight clove-ish hint on the nose and on the clean and refreshing palate, the aromas and flavours coming, Wide Street say, from the freshest American hops (El Dorado and Idaho 7 in this case). 

An interesting, very dry and lip-smacking beer from the Longford brewery.

Ingredients: Malted Barley, wheat, oats, water, hops and  yeast.

Unfiltered can-conditioned and contains yeast sediment.

Best paired with your favourite music, they hint!

Monday, August 16, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #65. On the craft journey with Eight Degrees, Heaney's, Sullivan's and Tom Crean.

A Quart of Ale± #65

On the craft journey with Eight Degrees, Heaney's, Sullivan's and Tom Crean

Eight Degrees Original Gravity Juicy IPA 6.5%, 440 can O’Donovan’s

This new juicy IPA from Eight Degrees has a colour like a field of ripe barley in the July sun. There’s a slowly sinking soft white head on top and 2.11 zillion (margin of error ± 2.5%) micro bubbles rushing upwards through a slight veil of haze. Aromas are quite intense, citrus and tropical. On the palate, the feel is like a Rolls Royce drive with all the add ons, soft, smooth, beautifully balanced, more than enough to brighten up your journey. So go on and take it for a test drive. Lift your jour out of the ordinaire. As my Cajun friend might say (or sing): Laissez les bons temps rouler.

They say: This juicy IPA was brewed with Irish pale ale, wheat and oats before being lightly kettle hopped with Enigma. We used Sabro and experimental hop HBC 630 in the whirlpool, triple dry-hopping with the same hops for added aroma. This beer has intense tropical fruit and coconut aromas and flavours, with a soft body and smooth mouthfeel. Just what we need for brighter days.

As always, Eight Degrees come up with food pairings:
This is the summer of outdoor dining, much of which will be taking place in your own back garden, so pair the Original Gravity Juicy IPA with a homemade pizza cooked on the barbecue – it’s well worth checking out Donal Skehan’s recipe: Thin Crust Barbecue Pizza. Try topping the pizza with thinly sliced new potato, artichoke and rosemary or Gubbeen chorizo with roasted red peppers and Toonsbridge mozzarella for a couple of pairings that will showcase this juicy IPA to perfection. Finish with some grilled apricots, topped with mascarpone and chilli honey or a summery peach melba: poached peaches, a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with raspberry coulis to make the stone fruit flavours in both beer and food sing. 

Laissez les bons temps rouler. Encore!

As you may know, Eight Degrees had a serious competition for the design on their Original Gravity cans and this, the first, was designed by John Culhane of Graphic Jam. “The most luminous of all the colours of the spectrum, yellow reflects happiness, optimism, enlightenment and sunshine. My design is based on the concept of humans flourishing and the joy of knowing that better times are coming. CARPE DIEM!” He could have had added: Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Okay. Forget the foreign languages for a sec. What is this Original Gravity thing? I’ll let the Brewer’s Friend explain: Original gravity (OG) measures how much sugar is present in the wort before it is fermented. The final gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over when fermentation is done. For a beer to fit into a certain style, each of these numbers must be within the specified range as the chart depicts. A lower final gravity indicates a dry or crisp flavor, while a higher final gravity indicates a sweet or malty flavor.

Heaney’s Irish Stout 4.3%, 500 bottle Bradleys

Not my first time having this stout from the Heaney Farmhouse Brewery in Co. Derry. It is black, with a coffee coloured head that loses volume pretty quickly. Stick your finger in the head and taste the coffee and chocolate which are more or less what you’ll get from the aromas. No oatmeal here but the palate is rich and smooth, caramel and chocolate and that roasted malt finish, a dry one also, a good bite at the finish. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Competition in the stout arena is quite stiff and this one is now, as it  was last time, well up to the average. Then again, virtually everything the Heaneys produce is in the top bracket.

Heaney’s always come up with food pairings and here they suggest slow-cooked meat dishes or a rich chocolate dessert.

Sullivan’s Black Marble Stout 5.1%, 500ml bottle O’Donovan’s

Black as the famed marble of the county is this stout by Sullivan’s of Kilkenny. The off white head doesn’t hang about. An exploratory finger into that head confirms that this has quite a bitterness and  that same quality is tasted on the palate, with roast coffee prominent and fruit notes also in the mix. And there’s a good long lip-smacking finish.

They say: Enjoy the true taste of traditional Irish stout brewed with roast barley, chocolate and wheat malts and choicest hops. A generous stout with extra depth of flavour. The hops are Admiral, Magnum, and Goldings.

With the many changes in the mainstream Cork brewing scene over the decades, Beamish Stout has maintained an enduring respect even among those who have turned to craft. And if you spot similarities to Beamish here, then well done. 

The brewer of this Kilkenny stout regularly walked past the Cork brewery in his youth and enjoyed the smell of the hops and, after some 15 years producing Guinness in Africa, his aim on the banks of the Nore was to produce a traditional Irish dry stout, to give us more taste, more balance, more roast, more character, more flavour, to make it more balanced, more velvety.

That brewer is Ian Hamilton who has accumulated in total over three decades of brewery and packaging experience in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Africa. He is experienced in production of world-class lagers ales and stouts. Hamilton is widely considered to be one of Ireland’s most experienced technical brewers.

Now where did I go wrong? For many years, I drove home daily past Murphy’s Brewery, opening the car windows to take in those tempting aromas. But I never thought of making a career out of it!

Tom Crean Scurvy Dog IPA 4.2%, 440 can At the Brewery

A clean light gold is the colour of this Tom Crean IPA which has an incredible low abv of 4.2% which puts it into the session category. Micro bubbles galore. Head retention is close to zero but no matter. Aromas are citrusy and that continues on the palate where this crisp and light beer provides refreshment enough. Easy to enjoy this one. Or two.. or three…

They say: A session IPA known to convert wine drinkers to beer drinkers!  Crisp and light with a refreshing after taste, not over bittered, relying on the aroma hops to do all the work.

And they add: A session IPA known to convert wine drinkers to beer drinkers.

Tom Crean Expedition Red Ale 4.2%, 440 can At the Brewery

This was the name that, contract brewed in 2015, launched the Tom Crean family brewery in Kenmare. “Now modified into a different ale, pushing a balanced malty sweetness, with chocolate malts giving rich colour to complement our combination of American and European hops. The beer is named after Tom’s three Antarctic expeditions and our 2016 Centenary expedition to South Georgia.  See the shop and the book Honouring Tom Crean.”

The brewer's book!

It has that rich amber colour with an off white head. The malt makes its first impression in the aromas and continues to lead the way on the palate where you’ll meet caramel flavours in a clean and refreshing flow. Quite a simple drink but quite often less is more and that is the case here.

You may visit the little brewery in Kenmare for guided tours and tasting sessions with the brewer himself, the witty Bill Sheppard. Find out Bill’s methods and hear the fascinating story of explorer Tom Crean.

Red Ales are usually pretty good with food and they suggest pairing it with: grilled or roast meats, mature cheese and goats cheese, cheese cake and caramel or toffee based dessert. That last option is an interesting one - must keep it in mind!

Monday, March 1, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #37. Moving on over to craft with Euro-style Lagers!

A Quart of Ale± #37

Moving on over to craft with Euro Lagers!

Augustiner Edelstoff Münchner Bier (GAA), 5.6%, 500ml bottle via Bradleys

Put this in a tall slim glass as recommended and you get a head that looks like a fluffy ice-cream and below that a myriad little bubbles race upwards in the light gold liquid. Its attractiveness is enhanced by a hint of exotic fruit aromas. And that sweet fruit also pops up briefly on the palate but soon the hops have their say as this satisfying beer heads towards a full and persistent finish. Love the mouthfeel, the smooth full body and the flavour. No wonder this historic brewery (founded 1328) is a name well-known far beyond Bavaria and Germany. 

Serve at 5 - 7 ° C  and you’ll find it goes well with typical Bavarian dishes, such as white sausage with sweet mustard or with roast pork with sauerkraut. Its mildly bitter taste makes it a perfect beer for the sunny outdoors and can also be drunk with many other dishes.

It is said that the Augustiner Bräu is the oldest Munich brewery. Originally founded (1328) by an ecclesiastical order, it was privatised in 1829. The good quality of the historical recipes was retained and this has given the brewery a terrific base. Traditionally brewed according to the German Purity Law, as you’d expect, Augustiner Edelstoff is praised as one of the best beers from Bavaria.

Yellowbelly Kellerbier Lager 4.3%, 440ml can Ardkeen Store

A bit puzzled from the start with this one! They say: “A core beer, available all year round. A lager for lovers of good beer. Kellerbier (Cellar Beer) is a German style Lager that has not been conditioned to same extent as other lagers. The resulting beer is naturally cloudy with a rounder full bodied mouthfeel.”

Despite that description and the word “unfiltered” on the can, mine pours as clear as could be, a lovely bright amber with shoals of bubbles rising to the top. It is smooth, with that full bodied mouthfeel that they mention above, easy-drinking with a lip-smacking finish and a touch of sweetness. Cloudy or not (and this one is certainly clear), it is a damn good craft lager. 

Malts are listed, on the can, as Pilsner, Wheat, Munich, Cara Clair while hops used are Huell Melon and Hersbrucker.

Eight Degrees Bohemian Pilsner Lager 4.0%, 400 can

Colour is a pale, but bright, gold, with a mere disc of a head that persists. Hops influence the floral aromas. And a promise of refreshment from the first sip. And no shortage of flavour either as this light and crisp beer spreads smoothly, in fulfilment of the initial promise, across the palate and persists until the satisfying finale. Bitterness enough to keep the balance. A good one and sessionable!

They say: Treat as an aperitif, amazing with pizza and don’t miss trying it with Thai or Vietnamese food. A crisp and adventurous drop, just perfect for a chilled out session. Bliss!

Some Details:

Style: Pilsner lager
Malt: Two row base Irish malt.
Hops: Hallertau, Hersbrucker, Lublin.
Strength: 4% ABV
Bitterness: 33 IBUs

St Mel’s Classic Range Helles Lager 5%, 500ml bottle via St Mel’s online

Cloudy amber is the colour here, gazillions of little bubbles shoot up into an attractive white fluffy head that’s in no big hurry to depart. This is bottle conditioned and dry hopped. 

Brewers Liam and Eoin have come up with a great result here, smooth, and balanced well between the malt and hops, with the bitterness nicely judged. One of the best flavoured lagers around, good mouthfeel too. Moreish is a word the brewery uses and I would certainly agree. Put this on your lager shortlist!

They say: Lagered for 4 weeks in the tanks and re-fermented in the bottle using a second strain of yeast. St. Patrick's nephew, Mel, helped spread knowledge and learning through the Irish Midlands in the 5th Century AD. St. Mel's brewing company is an independent artisan brewery, whose mission is to brew the highest quality beers from the best possible ingredients, combining innovation, passion and tradition. We hope you enjoy this bottle and, if you haven't already, convert to craft beer.

Food pairing tips: Perfect companion to big brash flavours of chilli, Indian cuisine or ribs. It also works great with Swiss cheese or a cheeky Battered Sausage and Chips.

* Top pic via Pixabay

Previously in A Quart of Ale±

A Quart of Ale± #37.  Moving on over to craft with Euro-style Lagers!

A Quart of Ale #36 a quartet of Pale Ales. Blacks. Crafty. Dungarvan. Rascals.

A Quart of Ale± #33. Moving on over to craft with St Mel’s Brewery.

A Quart of Ale± #32. Moving on over to craft with Lambic and Geuze

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #35. Moving on over to craft with a variety of IPAs, inc. 2 Big Bangers.

A Quart of Ale± #35

Moving on over to craft with a variety of IPAs, inc. 2 Big Bangers. 


Salt “A Different World” No Coast IPA 5.4%, 440ml can via Bradley’s

From a brewery that is roughly equidistant between the west coast and the east coast of England, comes this No Coast IPA. But the No Coast on the can refers to the US and the beer purports to bring the best of both American styles together.

Colour is a light amber and you’ll see - you’ll have to peer through the cloudiness - loads of bubbles streaking up towards a rapidly vanishing head. Aromas are citrusy. The first sip is quite promising and the promise is maintained as the citrus is balanced by a finely honed bitterness.

Enjoyed this superb beer, like the feel of it, its flavours, and the results of the balance between hops and malt. Probably impossible to reconcile the two main US styles but this is indeed a worthy attempt. And, in any case, the result is an excellent beer in its own right. Is there any Irish brewer doing something similar. By the way, is there a Mid-West style?

They say: SALT is a micro-brewery on a mission to unify heritage and modern brewing. Our homeland, the UNESCO village of Saltaire, was built by a super-progressive pioneer of workers' rights in the 1800s. We adopt the same progressive spirit through our modern brewing styles. The inspiration of our forefathers can be seen in our name, throughout our brewery, and the textiles used to name our beers.

Quite a few SALT beer names are associated with textiles, including Seersucker, Alpaca, and Ikat.


Hops (Kettle and Dry-Hop): Mosaic, Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial.

Malts: Pale, Oats.

12 Acres The Far Side Hazy IPA 5.1%, 440ml can via Ardkeen Store 

Colour is a mid-orange, hazy as you’d expect from the name. Soft white head keeps up appearances for quite a while as micro-bubbles gush upwards. This “New England” style contains some oats and there’s a creamy mouthfeel. It is heavily hopped though with Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and Amarillo, yet the results seem toned down so the fresh hops, from the late additions, are not very obvious. Banana seems to be the main tropical fruit. Not bad but not my favourite IPA from the brewery. I’d prefer the Make Hay.

They say: The by-products of the brewing process are the spent malting barley grains, spent hops and excess yeast. All of these by-products will be used as animal feed on our farm, resulting in zero solid waste from the brewing process and a full life-cycle of our ingredients. This ensures a sustainable environmentally-friendly process from ground to glass.

McGargles Francis’ Big Bangin’ IPA 7.1%, 500ml bottle via O’Donovan’s 

Francis comes to your glass in a bright mid-gold colour, streams of bubbles rising towards a head that has little staying power. This “modern take” on the US West Coast IPA style has been “hopped to hell” in genteel Kildare with US hops Mosaic and Simcoe and so “tropical fruits” are more or less guaranteed and they appear first in the aromas.

The tropical character continues on the palate where the Marris Otter malt also shows up well. And a fruity yet dry finish follows. Quite a good finish, quite a good beer but do note that high alcohol count. It’s not called Big Bangin’ for nothing.

What’s in a name? This is my first McGargle. I ignored these beers for years, thinking it was a Trojan horse from one of the majors, a mockeyah (a good old Cork word for pretender) craft beer. However, it is produced, along with other lines (such as the Crafty series that you’ll find in Lidl), by Rye River Brewing which is listed in the Beoir directory. Must say though that while this IPA appeals to me, the McGargle name does not (nor for that matter does Crafty - haven’t bought one yet). First impressions and all that.

They say:  Tropical assault, restrained malt, gentle balance, fruit finish, unfiltered, unpasteurised, natural refermentation may occur, best served chilled.

Dot Brew “Throw Away Play” DIPA 8.2%, 440 can via Bradley’s

Pull the tab on this one and you get a message: Hops be here. The aromas are full of them. Colour is a murky amber, not much to seen in there. Pretty dense too on the palate with the hops,  Citra and Vic Secret, keeping their secrets close in a concentration of complexity.

Thought I might get a hint or two on their website but nada there other than a request for €300.00 of your euro “to join the fun”. They are based in Dublin but, being guerrilla brewers (apparently), can turn up anywhere. This is a quote from them, on “We are adopting maturation and blending techniques from the Whiskey and Wine industries and applying them to break the boundaries of beer production.”

The label gives some info:  “Full and fruity - Vermont Ale Yeast, Malted and flaked oats and double dry hopped with a healthy amount of Citra and Vic Secret.” I did see somewhere that they do a session beer, might try that next if I can find it.

They use a lot of barrels and do lots of collaborations. Redmond’s of Ranelagh, Bradley’s of Cork, Wicklow Wolf, and Brú Brewery, were among recent partners. And it seems as if most of these collaborations are high in ABV. As is this “Throw Away Play”. 


A Quart of Ale± #33. Moving on over to craft with St Mel’s Brewery.

A Quart of Ale± #32. Moving on over to craft with Lambic and Geuze