Showing posts with label Brewmaster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brewmaster. Show all posts

Monday, March 13, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #15. Craft Stout with 9 White Deer, Brewmaster, and Whitefield

CorkBillyBeers #15

Craft Stout with 9 White Deer, Brewmaster,  and Whitefield



Whitefield Traditional Series Irish Stout 7.5% ABV, 750ml bottle Bradleys

No nitro here, no need for it, just a beautiful smooth and creamy stout with the traditional black colour and tan head (one that hangs about). Aromas are toasty and smokey. And that smooth liquid flows creamily in and across the palate with marvellous toasted and roasted flavours (coffee included), mostly from the “special charring” of the oak barrel.

The alcohol, about 50% higher than usual, is  just about noticeable, pleasurably so, nothing extreme in the overall experience.The stout is, as promised, a wonderfully complex, balanced, smokey and surprisingly light stout, superbly balanced. And you are immediately thinking steak. The Templemore brewery also suggests strong cheese.

This stout is part of their Traditional Series that also includes their Red Ale, and geared for food pairings. Both of these beers come in a 750ml bottle and are aimed at the restaurant business. A very good aim indeed but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one at home with your favourite steak! Easy to see why this is the winner of the 2016 Food Writers Guild of Ireland Drink Award.

And it is also a favourite at the brewery itself as Cuilan told me during our recent exchanges in advance of the blog post of Feb 21st last. “It represents everything we think here about traditional brewing from an Irish perspective.

 And there could well be more superb stout in the Templemore pipeline: “We want to take Irish Stout up a notch in alcohol but I’m a sucker for balance. Too many beers have wonderful first, second and third sip-ability but completely lose their balance after that and become hard to finish. I think we still have a lot to learn from the wine industry in terms of balance, so we’ll tread carefully while developing this recipe.“  Watch this space!

Very Highly Recommended.


9 White Deer Stag Stout 4.2% ABV, 500ml bottle

This gluten free Stag Stout, from Ballyvourney’s 9 White Deer, weights in at 4.2% ABV. It is a glossy black colour with a soft tan head. Aromas are rich and full of chocolate promise and that promise is fully delivered in the mouth. Here the chocolate and Madagascan vanilla play quite the most pleasing duet as the rich and smooth beer finds its way around. This is a must try chocolate “block” from the West Cork Gaeltacht; it is distinctive and delicious. Smooth and creamy, all without any nitro!

And Very Highly Recommended.

I first came across this black beauty in Blairs Inn (near Blarney) in the winter of 2017. Richard Blair, one of two brothers now running the pub, told me of a satisfied customer of a few days earlier. A coeliac, the man hadn’t drunk stout, his favourite tipple, for twenty years but, having sampled the Stag, left Blair's Inn with tears of gratitude.

Then Richard’s mother Anne guides us to our fireside table. We begin with some stout infused brown bread! Delicious stuff and, of course, the Stag is one of the ingredients. Then I get to enjoy a pint with my Venison Casserole and it proved a great match for the rich dish of Wicklow venison. That ritual would be repeated in some form or other almost every winter up and including the current one.

They say: Stag Stout is a medium bodied traditional dry Irish stout at 4.2 % ABV. It is designed to appeal primarily to traditional stout drinks, who remember how creamy the pints used to be. The complex recipe we developed brings back to life characteristics that are long forgotten. However this stout is like no other, Stag Stout also happens to be gluten free, the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

This is a double chocolate and Madagascan vanilla stout, with cocoa and vanilla in the ingredients list, also green barley and oats. 


Recent features on micro-breweries Ballykilcavan, 9 White DeerWhitefield


Brewmaster Nitro Stout, 4.2%, 440 ml can, 

Dundalk Bay Brewery are confident, to say the least, about this one: Do you dream of Nitro Stout that is as good, if not better than what’s out on the market? Then look no further and join us in a toast to our very own Brewmaster Nitro Stout. … Our unique widget technology in-can gives the most superb cascade effect on pour and a creamy head with richness and body synonymous to draught.

It settles down well, after the recommended vigorous pour, with a smooth black body and a slightly tanned tight head that does hang about for a long while.

After that smooth pour, aromas  speak of coffee and fresh bread. And those toasted warming malt flavours come through as you sip, full-bodied and smooth, full of flavour enhanced by notes of chocolate, honey and hops. 

An excellent stout indeed, very elegant and smooth but lacks that little bit of depth, of devilment, that would propel it to the very top of the list.

As was the case with the Left Hand nitro, I like the theatre at the start and like the finish but the overall experience is all a bit moderate. Nitro is certainly an interesting angle, a comfortable drink,  and well worth a try and I fully understand why quite a few drinkers rave about it.

Highly Recommended.


Monday, October 24, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #129. On the craft journey with Sullivan's, O'Brien Wines, Lineman, Blacks, Bradleys, Brewmaster, Aldi.

A Quart of Ale± #129

On the craft journey with Sullivan's, O'Brien Wines, Lineman, Blacks, Bradleys, Brewmaster, Aldi.


Sullivan’s Maltings Irish Ale, 5%, 500ml bottle O’Brien Wines

Deauville, a long-time magnet for Europe’s rich and famous, was all abuzz for the horse racing 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 1702, 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. 

Colour of this award-winning red ale is quite a dark one, boasting an off-white head that has some staying power. The aroma hints of a balance between malt fruit and hop bitterness and that continues on the body before the excellent ale finishes dry. Quite a satisfactory bottle indeed and the drinker can see why this easy-drinking smooth ale is an award winner.

They say: Traditionally brewed with only Kilkenny-grown ale malt, including three special darker malts and three varieties of hop. 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 beer we craft today is inspired by traditional Kilkenny recipes and brewed the way the family has always brewed – the way real Irish beer should be brewed – by local experts, by hand, in small batches, with enormous heart and the finest locally sourced ingredients.


Lineman Group Therapy Session IPA, 4.6%, 440 ml can Bradleys

All southern hemisphere hopped session IPA with Galaxy, Motueka and Topaz. That’s the word from Lineman about this session IPA. Motueka comes from a small town on the South Island of New Zealand while the other two come from Australia.

Colour of the ale is a murky lemon with a head that doesn’t stay around too long.  The aromatics are on the meek side, just a hint of tropical notes peeping through. Quite a nice balance on the palate, light and zesty, tropical, citrus, a touch of pine all in the mix. Lineman regularly get it spot-on and this is another fine example from the brewery.

Lineman? “We’re often asked about our name; we’re called LINEMAN as a tribute to my late father who worked as a lineman for both the ESB and P&T in the 1940s and ‘50s. He stayed with the P&T (that eventually became Telecom Éireann and later Eircom) until he retired in 1996. There’s a nice lineage there as that same year Mark got his first job with Eircom until he left to start work on setting up LINEMAN in 2018.

The reason for the name LINEMAN runs a little deeper than that alone though. It’s also a tribute to the hard working heroes who worked in all kinds of conditions to bring about connection in the young Irish state, through electricity and telecommunications, taking Ireland out of the dark and into the modern state we know today." More here. 


Blacks Pineapple & El Dorada IPA, 5.0% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

The perfect fruity mix-up combining fantastic El Dorado hops with fresh Pineapple flavours for the ultimate summer IPA.

That’s the intro to this IPA from Blacks of Kinsale. It has a colour close to a mid-amber with a thin white head that doesn’t hang about. 

It is described as a summer IPA so I’m a little late coming to the party. Also a little apprehensive as I’m not a great lover of overly fruity beers. But I’m relaxing as the first sip flows across, enjoying the pineapple and the hoppy balance provided by El Dorado. Dry finish as well, quite bitter.

May be slightly out of season but it is a thumbs up for this one, a west coast IPA where the hops and the pineapple (one of the listed ingredients) get it together in a deep layered pineapple flavour that reminds me somewhat of the the brilliant Polly that I tasted in Limerick’s Crew last year. Summer may be gone but you can always turn up the heating (but not for lon€).


Brewmaster Sailor Sam’s Hazy IPA, 5.5%, 440ml can Aldi

Brewmaster (Dundalk Bay Brewery Co) are the producers of this IPA, exclusively for Aldi, and they recently rushed to announce that it won a bronze award in the Irish Food and Drinks Quality Awards for 2022.

Sam’s IPA is certainly hazy, under a slow-sinking soft white head over a Mango Lassi coloured body. Mango takes charge on the palate but methinks it needs a bit more to move into gold medal contention.

Good yarn on the label though, where they disclose that dry-hopping was used. Sam brewed at sea, experimenting as he sailed. It was a serious hobby! And he loved to add as many hops as possible to make the beer sea.

Brewmaster is the exclusive beer brand of Dundalk Bay Brewery and Distillery (their spirits are sold under the Ravenrock brand). “All our Irish Premium Craft Beers are brewed in a sustainable way using naturally sourced ingredients. Each alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer has its distinct flavour ensuring there’s one to satisfy every palette!”

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #53 On the craft journey with a handy quartet of IPAs.

A Quart of Ale± #53

On the craft journey with a handy quartet of IPAs. 

O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale,  5.2%, 500ml bottle via Radical Drinks

Colour of O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale is a light and bright copper with a soft white head that soon thins down. It may be an Irish Pale Ale in title but their description is “A Contemporary style IPA with an Irish twist. Combining the balance of European IPAs with the generous dry hopping of American pale ales (APAs), this beer is everything an IPA should be and more.”

Aromas, a mix of floral and fruit, are fairly intense. And that citric zestiness is more pronounced in the palate. Excellent body and the refreshing bitterness persists all the way through to the satisfactory finish. Quite a beer with inputs from both sides of the ocean, rich, smooth and balanced, one that I very much enjoyed. Mid-Atlantic? 


Most of you probably know how IPA came about but just in case:

The term "pale ale" originally denoted an ale that had been brewed from pale malt. During the British colonial period in the late 1800s demand grew for export pale ales and a strongly hopped pale ale was developed, hops being a natural preservative and a higher abv lending the beer style better suited to the long voyages, particularly to India, hence the style name IPA.

For the geek:


Contemporary Style IPA



Plato °





Top fermentation


Keg (carbonated), Bottle 50cl and 33cl (occasional 41L cask-conditioned)

Serving Temperature


Food Pairing

Works incredibly well alongside the BBQ, with spicy food and shellfish.


O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer conical glass

The Brewery:

Carlow Brewing Company, also known as O’Hara’s Brewery, is an independent, family-owned business established in 1996 and one of the pioneers of Irish craft brewing. Located in the heart of Ireland’s traditional malt and hop-growing “Barrow Valley” region which has strong historical linkages to the Irish brewing industry, “we are proud to have been at the forefront of the new wave of Irish craft brewing for 25 years. As a craft brewery we brew our beers true to the tradition – with taste and flavour.”

O’Hara’s 51st State IPA, 6.0%, 500ml bottle via Radical Drinks

Colour of this “attack on the senses” is a mid-gold, with a long-lasting white head. Bubbles galore rise through a light haze. Aromatics are intense, exotic fruits leading the way. The big aromas continue with the big flavours in a smooth sensation right to the finish. Citrusy and soft and very very quaffable indeed.

They say: Bursting with bold tropical flavours of grapefruit, passion fruit, apricot and peach, this unfiltered IPA, which takes its inspiration from the New England IPA style, is an attack on the senses. A carefully chosen hop blend provides an intense citrus aroma while adding a well-balanced yet mild bitterness. Malts are combined to deliver a smooth mouthfeel.

The addition of lots of different hop varietals late in the boil help achieve the big aroma and flavour. Further enhanced by later dry hopping with Citra and Amarillo while “generous additions of wheat, crystal and caramalt make this beer very smooth on the pallet (also on the palate!)”. They also make a session version of this, with a 4% ABV.

For the geek:

Style - IPA


ABV - 6.0%


Plato ° - 15.0°


IBU - 40


Fermentation- Top fermentation


Availability- 30L Keg (carbonated) and 50cl Bottle

Serving Temperature - 6-8°C


Food Pairing- Perfect for matching with spicy chicken dishes, steak, Eton Mess and Stilton cheese.


Glass- O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer conical glass

Dundalk Bay Brewmaster Irish IPA 5.6%, 440 can O’Donovan’

Amber is the colour of this one, couldn’t even tell you about the head as it vanished so quickly. Checked it with a robust second slash later on and it is (barely) off white and with some little lasting power.  Aromas are reticent, a vague hint of tropical fruits. It is soft in the mouth and soon you know you have a pleasant ale, one without extremes. Passionfruit and grapefruit flavours are moderate and there’s a slightly bitter finish but the balance is superb, harmony all the way.

I like this one, an excellent beer for an evening when the conversation is pleasant, not boisterous nor cranky, the kind of evening most of us like.

Food suggested by the maker: Pair with salty or fried foods. Recommended with red meat.

They say: At Brewmaster we develop unique recipes with a modern brewing style to create sessionable and refreshing premium quality beers. Dundalk Bay Brewery and Distillery is a family company that started from a vision and passion for building breweries and distilleries. The idea came about when one day we decided to take a leap of faith and build our own showcase living and breathing brewery and launched our premium Irish beer, Brewmaster.

The journey has continued since when they developed a Gin Distillery and subsequently Ravenrock Premium Distilled Irish Gin was born in January 2020. The expansion continues…

Rising Sons “5th Horseman” session IPA 3.8%, 440 can Bradleys

Light gold is the colour of the 5th Horseman, a session IPA from Cork City centre brewery The Rising Sons. Nice white head’s not for staying and you’ll see plenty of bubbles rising in the slight haze. The aroma signalled that this is decently hopped and so it proved and the lower strength does not mean less flavour. Aromas (fruit and hints of pine) are rather intense and the palate follows suit more or less, lots of flavour (citrus, melon) in a lively background, the finish also good and hoppy. A very friendly beer indeed and should take you through a session comfortably. Glad they’re selling their beers in cans. While they have a dozen or pubs scattered across the city, not always easy to get down and sample the draught.

They say: 5th Horseman is a low ABV session IPA. Hopped with Amarillo, Centennial, Huell Melon and Idaho 7 hops. Notes of pine , orange , lemon and grapefruit