Showing posts with label Bradleys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bradleys. Show all posts

Thursday, August 31, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #41. Craft Journey with Red Ales by McGill's, Wicklow Wolf and Killarney Brewing

CorkBillyBeers #41

Craft Journey with Red Ales by McGill's, Wicklow Wolf and Killarney Brewing.


Is Red Ale really an Irish style? In the 1970s, famous beer writer Michael Jackson was credited with giving the tag to Smithwicks. According to World Atlas of Beer, American beer competitions started awarding prizes for the category and smaller Irish breweries started to “launch highly-hopped higher strength or even barrel-aged versions”. 

Wikipedia says Irish red ale, also known as red ale or Irish ale, is a style of pale ale that is brewed using a moderate amount of kilned malts and roasted barley that gives the beer its red colour.


McGill’s Maude Delap Irish Red Ale 5.0% ABV, 500ml bottle Centra Waterville

Red is the colour, for sure, of McGill’s Maude Delap Irish Red Ale, red with a soft tan head. After that, it is mostly about the lovely caramel flavours, just about perfect, neither too strong nor too weak. Nice job, Mr McGill!

Very Highly Recommended.

This traditional Irish Red Ale is named in honour of Maude Delap. Originally from Donegal, Maude came to live on Valentia Island (until her death in 1953). A self-taught marine biologist, she was known for being the first person to breed jellyfish in captivity and thus observed their full life cycle for the first time. She was also involved in an extensive study of plankton from the coasts of the island. More on Maude here .


Wicklow Wolf Wildfire Hoppy Red Ale, 4.6% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

“Not your typical red – Wildfire is a modern hoppy red ale.” That’s the claim from brewers Wicklow Wolf.

Appearances seem to be in the classic mould, fairly deep red body and an off-white head. 

Malt plus a sniff of coffee and caramel in the aromatics and the same combo, with a stronger showing from the coffee, on the palate. Here too, the Sorachi Ace hops also figure, rather mildly though. A creamy, herbal finish with hints of malty sweetness. Not quite traditional then. Not sure though that it is an improvement on the old style. Perhaps a summer rather than a winter red.

Indeed, “mild” is perhaps the most apt descriptor, though not in a pejorative manner. Touted as a modern red ale, I’m well pleased with it (nothing to do with its modernity or otherwise) and would love to try it in a direct joust with other reds like Roaring Ruby (from West Cork Brewing), Kinnegar’s Devil’s Backbone, Copper Coast (from Dungarvan Brewing), Sullivan’s Maltings, White Gypsy’s Ruby Red, Costello’s Red Ale and more (including Velvet Red by the Cotton Ball and the others in this post). Could be a long session. And I’d need food as well!

Highly Recommended

Geek Bits

IBUs 28

Hops: Sorachi Ace

Malts: Pale, Cara Ruby, Melano, Oats, Roasted, Crystal Rye

The Wicklow Wolf craft brewery was co-founded by Quincey Fennelly and Simon Lynch in 2014. The location then was in Bray. Now, in the new facility, near NewtownmountKennedy, there is a team of five brewers working under two ex Brewdog employees, John the production manager, and head brewer Andrew. The total number employed is 27. More on our recent visit here.


Killarney Rutting Irish Red Ale, 4.5% ABV, 440ml can, Carry Out Killarney

This Irish Red Ale from Kerry ”pays homage to Ireland’s last herd of native red deer. Each autumn, during a ritual known as The Rut their clashing antlers and bellowing roars echo through the majestic amphitheatre that is the Killarney National Park” say the producers. One such spectacular duel, at the waters’ edge, was brilliantly captured by the David Attenborough series Wild Isles and shown a few months back on the BBC.

The beer, based on the traditional Golding’s hops, has a ruby hued colour, and aromas of caramel and toffee. And that malty combo continues on to the palate, pleasing, lively and refreshing. Should be good with food, as most red ales are. 

The website says that “discerning beer drinkers will appreciate Rutting Red’s rugged flavour which values the intensity of our wild stags.” I can understand the writer’s enthusiasm but rugged is not a word I’d associate with this pretty fine and well-made beer. I’d be thinking more of the friendly red setter (supple, restrained and eager to please) like the dog that greets guests in Kerry’s Sneem Hotel.

Highly Recommended.


Monday, August 28, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #40. Craft IPA with Torc Brewing, White Hag, Brú and O Brother.

CorkBillyBeers #40

Craft IPA with Torc Brewing, White Hag, Brú and O Brother.


Torc Kerry Natterjack IPA 5% ABV, 500 ml bottle Carry Out Killarney

In Castlegregory, County Kerry, there is a bar/restaurant called Natterjacks. It is named after the toads in the county. Both the bar and the toad can be happily noisy occasionally. This IPA is named for the toad who has a very loud and distinctive mating call amplified by the single vocal sac found under the chin of the male.

The toad has a yellow line down the middle of the back. The Torc beer is more orange than yellow with a soft white head. It is fairly hazy but you can just about see the fountains of bubbles rising towards the top.

Aromas are fairly delicate, mostly floral and resinous with a touch of citrus also. Flavours are piney and fresh, with a refreshing punch to it, and an excellent balance between malts and hops (bitterness is mid-range). If you want an IPA with a difference, this is well worth trying.

Very Highly Recommended.

Torc says: Our IPA packs a flavour punch, brewed using Irish Pale Ale Malt, Irish Wheat, and speciality Caramunich Malt. This blend, combined with select hops, results in a well-balanced India Pale Ale…. Ideal food pairings include pork, steak, BBQ, and spicy dishes.

And about those natterjacks? Well, the label tells us they are an endangered species in Ireland.  Their natural range is restricted to the coastal zones around Castlemaine Harbour and Castlegregory in Co Kerry. In Spring, when the male is most active, the loud croaking call can be heard from as much as one kilometre away.”

Geek Bits

SRM: 4.3 • IBU: 83 • ABV: 5%
Style: Indian Pale Ale • Released: 2023

Malts: Irish Pale Ale Malt, Irish Wheat, and speciality Caramunich Malt


White Hag Atlantean NEIPA 5.4% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

This hazy pale orange ale comes with a white foamy crown that soon dissipates. It is, of course, meant to be cloudy as that is part and parcel of a New England IPA. Aromas are of the tropics, nothing too strong though.

“Drink the beer as fresh as possible, when all the Alpha & Beta oils from the hops are the most powerful.” And I did just that and got a creamy rush of refreshment, a velvet glove equipped with a big, juicy, fruit punch. I’ll take a count and go again.

The White Hag has expended “copious amounts’ of American hops in this one. But the bitterness you might have had expected has been subdued by the use of oats and lactose that add a rich creaminess. It is not that unusual for New England IPAs to exhibit a tropical, juicy sweetness rather than the classic bitter.

  • The ABV is 5.4%, which is on the lower end for a NEIPA. This makes it a bit more sessionable.
  • The beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized.
  • The beer is best enjoyed fresh, as the hop flavours will fade over time.

Very Highly Recommended.

Breweries can come up with amazing yarns. This is the one on the Atlantean label: Atlantean is inspired by mythological sea journeys that took curious voyagers beyond the ninth wave in search of the magical Otherworlds and the secret treasures they held. For this IPA our inspiration has travelled back from the other lands of New England across the cloudy foam of the Atlantic.

Ingredients: water, lactose, barley, wheat, oats, yeast, hops


Brú Urban Jungle Citrus IPA 5.5% ABV,

“Amarillo, a pioneer of American hops, is blended with Ekuanot. This mix has created a vortex of fresh fruity flavours, above all the citrus side with a hint of pineapple sweetness.” That’s the intro to this IPA from Brú.

Colour is mid-gold, slightly hazy with a soft white head. The aromatics are moderate, mostly on the Citra side: lemon, orange and lime. The two hops combine well and give a complex mix on the palate, that “vortex of fresh fruit flavours” according to the brewery. Above all, it is refreshing, with a decent bittering at the finish.

Fruity and refreshing then and Highly Recommended.

Geek Bits

Hops: Amarillo, Ekuanot

Malts: Carapils, Golden Promise, Oat Flakes, Pale

Brú is proud to champion local ingredients. “We’re engaged with our community, working alongside local producers to bring our customers the best examples of Irish food and drink.

As an Irish company, we’re committed to supporting local charities and the communities around us. In brewing, our Irish partners include:

• Loughran Family Malt
• Wicklow Hops Company
• Malting Company of Ireland"

Brú, established in 2013 in County Meath, nowadays offer two core ranges “driven by the same brewing spirit”: BRÚ core and Urban Jungle. “BRÚ Brewery brews beer for all tastes, whether you’re a seasoned craft beer drinker, or just looking for a familiar quality pint.” The beers are widely available and well worth checking out.


O Brother Ikigai Oat Cream IPA 6.1% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Coburg St

Some similarities between this and the Atlantean above. Colour is common, a hazy pale orange, though Ikigai has a larger head, soft and longer lasting. Aromas are subtle, citrus, grassy and grapefruit. These along with citrusy, spicy and herbal notes follow through just about to the palate, with hints of sweetness thanks to the lactose, and the expected creamy feel (from the oats) barely materialises as the beer seems to lose its way.

They say: “Ikigai is your true purpose in life or reason for being. We know what gets us up in the morning and keeps us going through the challenging times: Finding new and exciting ways to make delicious beer, meeting and working with like-minded independent souls who are pushing the boundaries of their fields and bringing it all together to create an elevated beer experience for all our thirsty beer drinkers. Beer is our Ikigai.”

Geek Bits

Label: Citra, Comet

Ingredients - Water, Malted Barley, Oats, Lactose, Hops, Yeast

Monday, August 14, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #39. Craft August Sessions with Wicklow Wolf, Whiplash, Bullhouse and Rascals

CorkBillyBeers #39

Craft August Sessions with Wicklow Wolf, Whiplash,  Bullhouse and Rascals


Wicklow Wolf Pocket Dial Juicy IPA 4.2% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

This recent Wicklow Wolf beer, tagged as a modern hazy IPA, is called Pocket Dial and is a Juicy IPA, double dry hopped with Citra, Centennial and Idaho 7.

Colour is orange, hazy of course, with a bubbly white head. Expect citrus and tropical flavours with soft stone fruit undertones, they say. And you get that, with a bit more, from the all-American hop line-up. It is clean and refreshing though, well-balanced even if tilted more towards the hop lovers, that tilt enhanced by the double dry hopping.

Very Highly Recommended.

Pocket Dial is best enjoyed with friends and with your phone on silent. But where did that name come from? Our direct line to the lair explains: “…inspired by the countless times we've all been pocket dialled by Quincey (the founder & CEO) and the numerous overheard conversations on the other end of the line”.


Geek Bits

Hops: Citra, Centennial& Idaho 7 .

Malts: Pale Ale, Wheat, Cara Ruby, Oats

IBUs 20

Pocket Dial is number 38 in the brewery’s Endangered Species brews, a series of small batch, limited edition crafted beers. These beers are so rare that only a lucky few will get to experience them in the wild before they become extinct.

Catch it while you can!


Whiplash Rollover Session IPA 3.8% ABV, 330ml can, No 21 Coburg Street

Looking for a decent session beer? No shortage but my go-to is this Whiplash Rollover. Murky orange is the colour - no way you’re going to see through this haze! This was our session beer of 2020 and this most recent tasting confirmed it’s as likeable as ever.

Pale yellow colour with a  short-lived white head over a hazy body. Citrus fronts the aromatics. And the quartet of hops dominate the palate. Amazing that this has so much hops and still weighs in at less than 4.00% ABV. Quite a concentration of hops then, before a lip-smacking finalé.

They say: Same hop rate as our DIPA’s, less than half the alcohol. A very heavily hopped Session IPA: this comes at you with buckets of Simcoe, Ekuanot, Citra and Mosaic hops with a light touch of malts and an easy crushable body. Unfiltered, hazy, hoppy and juicy – Rollover is a New England inspired IPA without the heavy alcohol in tow.

With its burst of aromas and flavours and low ABV, this is what a session beer is all about and is Very Highly Recommended.

Very Highly Recommended


Bullhouse Road Trippin’ Extra Pale 4.0% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Coburg St

“Everyday beer for the everyday hero. Showcasing our love of Citra.”

That’s the introduction to their Extra Pale by Belfast Brewery Bullhouse.

It is pale for sure and a murky one at that, with a short-lived head. Citrus notes top the aromas and play the top flavour role as well.  I’ve read, in more than one place, that this is a “Citrus banger”. I can agree with that but don't worry it won't blow your head off. It is quite supple and nicely hoppy and thanks to the deployment of the extra pale base and house yeast, is an easy-drinking ale, fresh, crisp and clean

Highly Recommended

Geek Bits

Malts - Pale, Dextrin, Oats, Wheat

Hops - Citra (10g/L)

Yeast - AY5 

All 440ml Cans

Vegan friendly!

The story of Bullhouse Brew Co began in 2011, when founder Willy Mayne got a taste for great beer on a road trip around the west coast of the US with his brother. Visiting Green Flash Brewery in San Diego was the epiphany moment. Drinking flavoursome beers on an out-of-town industrial estate on a Friday afternoon with a mix of local office and factory workers and seeing how beer and particularly breweries can be an integral part of the community was a real eye-opener.

Back home, Willy started homebrewing on the farm he grew up on just outside Belfast. Four years, he set to work converting the old bull’s house into a tiny 500sq ft brewery. Twelve months later, he converted the Bullhouse into a small brewery, buying second-hand equipment from dairy farms and other breweries across Ireland, including a mash tun made from a converted catering fridge. Starting a commercial brewery for £600 doesn’t result in anything too pretty, but it was something, and it made some tasty beer.

Good to report that the beers are still tasty, even if production methods now are a bit more sophisticated.


Rascals Happy Days Session Pale Ale, 4.1% ABV, 330 ml can Bradleys

Expect hints of Passionfruit and honeydew Melon. 

That’s what the label indicates on my unfiltered, unpasteurised 330 ml can from Bradleys. Brewers Rascal also sell this in 5-litre mini-kegs, ideal if you are planning a session. 

“There's any and every reason to have one of our mini-kegs chilling in your fridge. Best consumed within 24 hours of opening, these little beauties are an ideal way to have fresh Rascals on tap for you and your gathering. Pick one up at Rascals HQ Inchicore (open Mon-Fri from 4pm, Sat & Sun from 1pm) or buy one online and we'll deliver.”

An attractive alternative to all the hassle of party organising is to head over to the Rascals HQ in Inchicore. Grab yourself one of their pizzas and a pint poured straight from the tap, sit down and enjoy the tap-room experience!

And that Passionfruit and Melon? Well yes, it is there, on a well-balanced palate as the hops shine through. Nothing too heavy though, just a pleasant summer thirst quencher.


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #38. Summer of Sours, with Lough Gill and Whiplash

CorkBillyBeers #38

Summer of Sours, with Lough Gill and Whiplash

A few sours for sunny days.

Just before the summer turned sour(-ish), with my usual impeccable timing, I bought a few sours.

There is quite an array of wild sour beers, mostly from Belgium and Germany, and they include Lambic, Gueuze, Kriek, Belgian Red-Brown, Berliner Weisse, Gose and Wild Ale. Most of these use wild yeast and bacteria.

But what we are dealing with here are gathered together under the Modern Fruit and Adjunct Sours banner by beer writer Mark Dredge in his recent Beer (A Tasting Course). “Inspired by desserts and dominated by the flavour of fruits and other ingredients, these beers are often more sweet than sour.”

They are usually low in alcohol and IBU. Mark lists a few top examples and the one you may be able to get your hands on is the Sierra Nevada Wild Little Thing (5.5% ABV). I’ve seen it regularly in Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork. “Drinks like a glass of fresh, low-alcohol rosé wine,” concludes Mark.


Lough Gill Pain & Perfection Pastry Sour 4.0% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

The colour is a murky orange with a very short-lived head indeed. Mango leads the aromatics. With lactose in the mix, I was thinking this might be on the sweet side but, thankfully, the Lough Gill team got the balance pretty much spot on and there’s enough sour coming through to make this that little bit tart and a big bit refreshing. 

Ingredients include Mango, Passionfruit, Guava and Lactose.

Lough Gill tells it as it is: This is the ultimate Tropical Fruit Pastry Sour refreshment for those sunny hot days. Brewed with the addition of lactose sugars & then Triple Fruited with heaps of Mango, Passion Fruit and Guava purée for the right balance in sweetness and sour fruit flavours. The resulting beer is a thick, juicy, fruity exotic brew.

Agree with that, mostly. Wouldn't say it is all that thick! Happy with the overall result though. Highly Recommended.


Whiplash Fruit Salad Days Mango & Lime Sour, 3.8% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

A sour fruited Berliner Weisse is how Whiplash classes this Mango and Lime Sour. 

It looks the part, looks like a large Mango lassi once its white fizzy head quickly fizzes away.  Aromas are richly fruity, not just from the hops but also from the ale yeast. And that fruit fest also continues on the palate, not surprisingly since they have added lots and lots of organic Mango and Lime fruit pureé.

Have to say the Lough Gill Pain & Perfection was much more to my liking. A rare disappointment for me then from Whiplash and now I'm a bit wary about their other recent sour, the Apricot, which is a few cans behind in the queue. Fingers crossed!

Geek Bits

Pilsner Malt

Wheat Malt

Hops are El Dorado (also in whirlpool).

Adjuncts: Mango, Lime


Whiplash Fruit Salad Days Apricot Sour 4.1% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

Whiplash: “We're back with our Berliner Weisses and this time around it is Mango & Lime and Apricot. Each is built on a base of Pilsner and Wheat Malts and the cleanest kettle sour we can manage, and then we absolutely load them up with fruit. There's no denying their flavours upon tasting, they're bursting at the seams!”

On this particular one, they add: Kettle soured Berliner Weisse bursting with apricot purée. A certified summer banger. 

Berliner Weisse? Author Mark Dredge (in Beer. A Tasting Course) says: The “fast sours” are light German-style wheat beers with refreshing acidity, often brewed with added fruits or dry hops.

This apricot effort looks much like its companion, like a large Mango lassi and aromas are, surprise, apricot. Not the deepest sour you’ll come across but enough to at least hint at the possibility of refreshment even if it turns out to be on the shallow side. No knockout here, I’m afraid.

Geek Bits

Pilsner Malt

Wheat Malt