Showing posts with label Eight Degrees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eight Degrees. Show all posts

Monday, May 13, 2024

An old favourite is Beer of the Week. Eight Degrees Howling Gale Ale.

Beer of the Week

Eight Degrees Howling Gale Ale 4.5% ABV, 440 ml can, No 21 Cork


An "old" favourite!



Didn’t realise until today that I’ve been enjoying Eight Degrees Howling Gale on and off since

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Boys are back in Mitchelstown! Eight Degrees founders buy back brewery

Boys are back in Mitchelstown!

Eight Degrees founders buy back brewery

Can we do this? Scott (left) and Cam drink to an adventurous future for Eight Degrees


Eight Degrees founders Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace have bought back the brewery they sold to Irish Distillers five years ago.

“We have enjoyed the journey over these past five years,” says Baigent, “with Irish Distillers playing a massive role in completing the build of our brewery in Mitchelstown at the foot of the Galtee Mountains in North Cork.”

“We also have enjoyed creating some really exciting beers together with Irish Distillers,” adds Wallace, “especially the experience of aging beers in whiskey barrels, along with developing a range of exciting whiskeys that were finished in craft beer-seasoned barrels.”

Over the last 18 months, Baigent and Wallace had left the brewery and drinks world behind. This break allowed them to reflect on where their passions lie and what they want to achieve.

For the founders, Eight Degrees has always been about enjoying great tasting beers while living a life of adventure. This is still central to their vision of producing innovative, full-flavoured beers from natural ingredients while exploring the outdoors and pursuing new experiences. Since its establishment in 2010, Eight Degrees has given Baigent and Wallace the platform for this message and the creative outlet to follow their passion.

“Having re-charged our batteries,” says Wallace, “we are keen to get back into the driver’s seat and continue the journey we started more than 14 years ago. Over the past year or so we have had some time out from the brewing world, time to go into the wilderness and take the opportunity for a bit of self-reflection. It's brought us right back to where we started!”

Baigent agrees. “With a heap of reckless optimism and a lot of newfound energy, we seek to deliver the Naturally Adventurous message once more.”

“We hope you come along with us to continue the adventure.” Sláinte

An award-winning Irish microbrewery renowned for its innovation and experimentation, Eight Degrees was founded in 2010 by Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace. The brewery, which has always been based in Mitchelstown, North Cork, was acquired by Irish Distillers in 2018. It has now been bought back by Baigent and Cameron, who continue to work with the same core brewery team. They plan to release their newest beer in late February. Watch this space!

press release

Monday, August 29, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #121. On the craft journey with Bullhouse, 12 Acres, Wicklow Wolf, Eight Degrees

 A Quart of Ale± #121

On the craft journey with Bullhouse, 12 Acres, Wicklow Wolf, Eight Degrees



12 Acres Pale Ale 4.6%, 440ml can O’Brien’s Douglas


Not my first time coming across this 12 Acres Pale Ale, from County Laois, with its soft white head that sinks fairly quickly. The colour has more amber than pale. And the aromas speak more of malt than hops and so it continues onto the palate. In addition to their own malt, they also use a small quantity of three European speciality malts, giving even more malt body, texture and additional caramel flavours to the beer. 


But the three Americans hops,Cascade, Willamette and Citra, help give bitterness plus citrus and tropical flavours to balance the malt sweetness. So what you get is a delicious refreshing dry hopped golden pale ale.


They say: Our award winning flagship beer, our pale ale is a take on the American Pale Ale (APA) style, with more emphasis on the malt flavour than a traditional APA. Our own spring water is the main ingredient and we add our own pale ale base malt which forms the majority of the grist, to give the fermentable sugars and flavour to our beer…By brewing with our own malted barley and Killeshin spring water from deep beneath the same land, we are producing unique Irish craft beers with traceability from our ground to your glass.”


A lot of attention to detail here and it pays off. Best served 6-8 degrees and it goes great with spicy foods.

****


8 Degrees Citra Single Hop IPA, 5.7%, 440ml can O’Brien’s Douglas



They, 8 Degrees, say: Citra, with its fruity, juicy aroma and flavour, is one of our favourite hops. To showcase it, we’ve used a simple, yet elegant, malt body …. This is a beer that is both sweet and tart, with a gloriously juicy mouthfeel.

Orange/gold is the colour of this Citra Single Hop from Eight Degrees, the adventurous brewery. It’s got a white bubbly head. Aromas are, surprise, surprise, citrus with a floral touch as well. The combined fruit flavours come out to play on the juicy palate and you’ll note peach, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and lychee in the mix with the malt on display. It’s a refreshing really well-balanced beer, with a nicely judged bitter finish. 


Geek Bits
2020 World Beer Awards – Gold
2019 World Beer Awards – Gold

Style: Single hop IPA
Malt: Irish pale ale malt
Hops: Citra, Citra and…Citra!
Strength: 5.7% ABV
Bitterness: 62 IBUs

Food pairings from the Mitchelstown brewery are among the best around:
The bitterness in this Citra Single Hop IPA will cut beautifully through sweet low-and-slow pulled pork served with a chilli-spiked peach relish. The beer also will counterbalance the bold flavours of barbecued chicken wings and play nicely with some grilled spicy fresh Gubbeen chorizo sausages. Try it with a not-too-sweet Key Lime pie for a full-on citrus ending to your meal.

*********

Bullhouse Suds DDH Pale Ale 4.5%, 440ml can Yards & Crafts



Slurp down some Suds! More hops.


That’s the can label encouragement from Belfast Brewery Bullhouse. And this Double Dry Hopped murky orange coloured Pale Ale is certainly well endowed with hops  (Eldorado, Talus and Azacca) especially in the aromas, and also on the palate.  By now the soft pillowy head has slumped to mere disc but you won’t be worried as the tropical fruits and an input of citrus take over on the smooth and satisfactory ride to the finish. Well made, well balanced.


Last May, Bullhouse took delivery of a brand new (to them) 25HL brewhouse and 6 additional 25HL FVs. 



“We’ve always invested more heavily in our cold-side equipment than in any hot-side stuff, because you can make really good wort on pretty basic kit, but you can’t make really good hoppy beer with poor quality cold-side equipment.”


“We ended up going for a system from a cask brewery in England that had closed down. We now have a 50HL direct fire HLT, 40HL German made mash tun (with side manway) and a 30HL direct fire kettle.” 


The new kit means Bullhouse have the capability to “double our weekly production to 60HL with the same amount of effort”. Well if this Suds is anything to go by, the investment is well worthwhile. Best of luck.



****



Wicklow Wolf Jeff Bezos Hopfenweisse 6.3%, 440 ml can Bradleys


Introducing No. 30 in our Endangered Species series; Heff Bezos. This release is another example of our brewer’s passion and creativity running wild. A modern twist on the classic hefeweizen beer style, Heff Bezos is a hop forward wheat beer. 


That’s the Wicklow Wolf intro to Heff Bezos. Colour is a murky, opaque, orange with a. Soft slowly sinking bubbly white head. Aromas are a puzzle. I’m expecting banana and clove but initially getting a smoky bacon whiff but go again and it is somewhat closer to the expected combo.

On the palate, the Hopfenweisse continues to carry the banana clove combo yet is is somewhat tartier than the usual. Perhaps the yeast ( a hefeweizen yeast strain from our friends at WHC) is the disrupting factor? No shortage of flavours though with notes of citrus, tropical (including mango) and pine. And, as this first meeting comes to an end, I’m feeling very much at home with Jeff, sorry Heff!

I’m presuming the name Heff Bezos is a play on Jeff Bezos. Jeff, the multi-billionaire (ex Amazon), may be rare but hardly endangered.

Wicklow say this is a style of beer “that we have planned to brew for quite some time now, this Hopfenweisse is brewed with modern hops (Citra, Idaho 7 & Talus)  and fermented using a hefeweizen yeast strain from our friends at WHC*. You can expect a burst of citrus & tropical fruit flavours complimented by aromatic, fruity esters coming through from the hefeweizen yeast.” 

* WHC Lab is a Fermentation and Quality control company in Wicklow



Friday, April 8, 2022

Jameson Crested and Eight Degrees Collaboration

Jameson Crested and
 Eight Degrees Collaboration

Irish Distillers, maker of some of the world’s most enjoyed whiskeys, is building on its long-standing collaboration with Eight Degrees Brewing to create a stunning third edition in this Jameson Crested series.

Jameson Crested Finished in Barleywine Irish Oak Barrels is a limited-edition whiskey born from the latest instalment of the exciting partnership between Irish Distillers and the award-winning, Cork-based brewery, which is renowned for its innovation and experimentation.

For this third iteration, Irish Distillers and Eight Degrees once again joined forces to showcase the very best of Irish talent and local produce, and started by selecting rare Irish oak barrels from Midleton Distillery’s carefully curated inventory. The brewery team at Eight Degrees then selected barleywine, a traditional malt-forward beer, to rest in the barrels for twelve weeks to produce a rich and complex sipping beer infused with whiskey flavours for their Original Gravity series (ABV 12.2%).

Once emptied, the beer-seasoned barrels were then returned to Midleton, filled with Jameson Crested and left to mature for a further three months. The result is an elevated Jameson Crested with a rich roasted malted barley flavour profile with notes of toasted almonds and sweet candy floss. Bottled at 45% ABV, the whiskey perfectly balances generous oak tannins and dried fruits with cereal notes and nutty undertones from the barleywine for a full-bodied and luxurious flavour.

“Our relationship with Eight Degrees Brewing continues to provide a springboard for innovation, adding a new dimension to both our whiskeys and beers,” explains Irish Distillers’ Blender Deirdre O’Carroll.

“As a wood, Irish oak is much more porous than its American counterpart, meaning the barrels have been quick to mature and impart flavours of caramel and dairy fudge, which have worked elegantly in tandem with the nutty, malted flavour of the barleywine for a luscious whiskey which is truly Irish in every sip.”

Derek Neville, Head Cellarman at Eight Degrees Brewing, adds: “It is a rare privilege to work with Irish oak in beer brewing and the buttery creaminess the casks added to our Original Gravity Irish Oak-Aged Barleywine was immediately distinctive. We are thrilled to see the seasoned casks return to their rightful resting place, with our beer imparting a sweet, malted character to this special bottling of the iconic Jameson Crested.”

The celebration of Ireland continues on pack with designs from local artist Coireall Carroll Kent adorning both the Jameson Crested bottle and the Eight Degrees beer cans. Featuring historical patterns and ancient tree roots, the artwork is a vivid celebration of the Irish countryside.

Commenting on the work, Kent says: “I wanted to create a standout design which was distinctly Irish, I spent a lot of the pandemic trekking across the Irish countryside, and many of the roads that I took to are shrouded in trees just like these. The knots are naturally rooted in Celtic culture, with the concentric circles representing both the curves of our landscape and the bubbles in a good drink!”

A limited-edition release of fewer than 10,000 bottles, Jameson Crested Finished in Barleywine Irish Oak Barrels will be available in Jameson’s brand home outlets at Jameson Distillery, Bow Street, Dublin, Midleton Distillery, Cork, as well as in global travel retail and through Jameson’s online shop, priced at €50 (70cl). In Ireland, it will also be available in O’Brien’s Off Licences and other specialist off licences.

press release

Monday, January 3, 2022

Festival Food & Drink Favourites 2021. Eight Degrees and Bakestone in Happy Holiday Pairing

Festival Food & Drink Favourites 2021


Eight Degrees and Bakestone in Happy Holiday Pairing



What were your food and drink favourites over the Christmas and New Year?


I’d say one of mine came at the end of the Christmas Day Dinner when we matched the Bakestone Pudding with a shared can of Eight Degrees Irish Oak-aged Barleywine. At 12.2% abv, this is a heavy hitter and needs respect. Pour a little into a wine glass and sip and enjoy. It went perfectly with the pudding from East Cork (you’ll find Bakestone at Cobh Cross - they’ve been there for years and, as well as a popular café, have a magnificent pantry of top notch Irish produce).


And so it was appropriate that it was two locally made products that topped our Christmas bill!


The Eight Degrees’ aromatic and multi-flavoured seasonal special was aged in especially rare Irish whiskey barrels that have been made from native Irish oak. Not alone did it pair with the rich and dark pudding but it also went well with the light and delicious Christmas cake from Barnabrow House (bought at Roughty Foodie) and also with the cheese course, notably with the Crozier Blue (via On The Pig’s Back).



Bubbles are usually associated with the festivities at this time of year and I was lucky to have a couple of delicious bottles of Prosecco on hand, each by Bottega. The Gold Prosecco Brut impressed for sure but it was the Bottega Rose Gold that really caught my attention. It is a terrific Spumante Brut rose, made from Pinot Noir grapes grown throughout the Veneto.


The hand painted bottles are not only eye-catching but "reflect the quality and care put into producing this wine”. Bottega do not use chemical-based products for their metallised bottles; this means the solvent for the varnish is water-based, instead of being oil or alcohol-based like more traditional varnishes.



It wasn’t just Prosecco of course. There was wine. We won’t go into too much detail just to say that we had an impressive pair via Liberty Wine for dinner on the big day. From South Africa came the Western Cape Momento, the country’s only Grenache Gris. And we made it a lovely Grenache double with the red, a Willunga 100 from the McLaren Vale in Australia.


You always need something extra to bring the best out of all the good stuff on the table at Christmas and two jars in particular were in regular use here. One was the Big Red Kitchen’s Spiced Plum and Port Jam and the other was the seasonal Ballymaloe Foods Cranberry and Mór Wild Berry Gin Sauce.



The Spiced Plum and Port Jam is very versatile, a match with paté, cheese and duck and we find it  outstanding with Skeaghanore smoked duck breast and gives the Skeaghanore Confit Leg sweet hint of Asia. This year it also impressed with the Bakestone pudding. Nicola of the Red Kitchen combines ripe plums with a hint of warming cinnamon and port in this excellent seasonal preserve which is also wonderful with scones and bread. It won’t go to waste around here.


And neither did the Ballymaloe Foods Cranberry and Mór Wild Berry Gin Sauce. It certainly did what it says on the jar and enhanced the turkey (and the other meats) no end and also impressed when used with the cheese board. This blend of cranberries and the Irish gin proved indispensable over the week.



Of course, it wouldn’t be a Cork Christmas without a helping of spiced beef on the table. No shortage here thankfully and, supplied (like the turkey and ham) by local craft butcher Chris Davidson, it was once again a highlight. Turkey and ham was pretty good too!


Another highlight was our order from Ummera Smokehouse in Timoleague, a box packed with chicken, duck, salmon (two ways), even rashers, all smoked and all delicious as always. Good use was made of this package over the holidays. Nothing like a bit of variety over the hols.


We did indeed use the Ummera smoked chicken on New Year’s Eve and later there were more holiday bubbles. It was now the turn of a super Beaumont des Crayères Vintage 2013 Fleur Blanche Blanc de Blancs Brut (via O’Briens Wines) to shine. Intense and exciting from the engaging first sip, with fountains of micro-bubbles powering upwards, with biscuity aromas and flavours and floral notes too, this is one of the better ones for sure. It is made from 100% Chardonnay and obviously 2013 was a very good year.



Let us hope that 2022 will also be a good one. Happy New Year to you all and fingers crossed that it will be better for all of us.


 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #84. On the craft journey with a session Whiplash, Porterhouse, Whitefield and Eight Degrees

 A Quart of Ale± #84

On the craft journey with an excellent session of Whiplash, Porterhouse, Whitefield and Eight Degrees




Whitefield Brewery “Woodville” Session Pale Ale 4.3%, 500ml bottle Bradleys


This pale ale from Tipperary has a light amber colour with a soft suds head that’s inclined to hand about a bit (the malt used may have something to do with that stability). There’s a lemony aroma with herbal notes and that “Mediterranean twist”. It is also found on the palate with a touch of green tea. Quite a flavoursome beer, nicely balanced with a little malt sweetness and the judicious use of the hops. An impressive session beer for sure.


For the Geek:

Hops: Styrian Fox (Slovenia).

Malt: Eraclea (Italy)


As you may know, the brewery formerly named White Gypsy has rebranded to Whitefield; the rebrand is still ongoing. Drawing all the names from their Templemore (County Tipperary) locality, even some of the beers have been renamed. This particular ale was Gladiator and is now named after a downland in Templemore.



Whiplash Blue Ghosts German Pils 5.2%, 440ml can Whiplash Online


Pale yellow is the colour of this German Pils from Whiplash who say: We’ve fermented Blue Ghosts on our favourite lager strain WLP833 - giving it all that great mouthfeel and malt complexity that the strain provides without interfering with that hop profile before allowing it the long cold sleep it deserves before packaging. …has fast become a team favourite. Grab it before we drink it all.


It is a clear beer with plenty of bubbles on view. The hops, Saaz and Hersbrucker, also bring something to the party and you’ll notice herbal hints, even grassy notes, along with the influence of Bergamot in both aromas and palate. They didn’t spare the hops using 10g/l of Saaz and Hersbrucker and say it is unique in that it is heavily whirlpool hopped, not dry hopped. Perfect for outdoors in the sun but not bad by the fireside either.


The Blue Ghosts are given some bodily heft by the use of Pilsner and Carapils malts. By the way, that yeast strain, WLP833, is regarded as ideal for German style lagers and that certainly seems to be the case here with yet another well executed beer, a really excellent lager, from the busy Whiplash team.

.



Porterhouse Rambler Juicy Pale Ale 4.6%, 440ml can O’Briens Wine


The Rambler has a light orange colour in the glass with a white head. “One for the juice heads,” say Porterhouse, based on the three hops used at whirlpool and hop. Well, it is juicy, moderately hoppy also, with a good dry finish.


The three hops added to the basic Magnum are: El Dorado (Apricot, tropical, citrus), Enigma (Grape, Berry, Melon), Eukanot (Mandarin, Melon, Mango). Their individual characteristics are in the brackets so you can see how they contribute to the result with a mild enough citrus and mango to the fore. 


Dextrin, Ale, Wheat, Oats, and Crystal keep the malt end up, noticeable in the fuller body and a touch of caramel. Quite a delicious and easy drinking fruity ale to be fair, well made, and worth a try for sure.


Eight Degrees Full Irish Single Malt IPA 6.0%, 440 ml can


Gold, with an amber streak, is the colour of this Single Malt from Eight Degrees. Like the “Full Irish”, this has everything!


A lovely white head that sinks away, eventually. Lots of citrus-y aromas (grapefruit, mango ) from the four strong team of All-American hops (Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Cascade), floral notes too. And hops galore on the palate but not having it all their own way as the pale malt finds ways of having its biscuity say as the juice flows across. And it is bitterness and sweetness in lockstep that take you through to the end of the aftertaste, ready to go again. Not surprised that this hoppy fruit bomb has a string of awards to its credit.


Geek Bits

Style: Single malt IPA
Malt: 100% Irish pale malt
Hops: Simcoe, Cascade, Citra, Amarillo
Strength: 6.0% ABV
Bitterness: 65 IBUs

Food pairings
This single malt ale will pair beautifully with simple grilled fish and barbecued chicken kebabs, the sweet malt flavours working well with anything that’s been caramelised on the grill. Don’t miss an opportunity to try it with something spicier, like barbecued piri-piri prawns and it is also an exceptionally good match with smoked duck, the hops cutting through the rich meat. To finish, get a slice of carrot cake alongside a glass of this and revel in how the beer balances out the cake’s sweetness.

***

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #83. On the craft journey with a session of Treaty City, Third Circle, Brehon Brewhouse, Eight Degrees

 A Quart of Ale± #83

On the craft journey with a session of Treaty City, Third Circle, Brehon Brewhouse, Eight Degrees



Treaty City Harris Pale Ale 5.0%, 440ml can O’Briens Wine


Named after Limerick’s most famous film-star, this Pale Ale has a lovely golden amber colour with a soft white head. Aromas are mostly citrus, some floral notes and a modest touch of pine. And it proves itself hop-forward and impressively well-balanced on the palate and beyond. Again the citrus (grapefruit) features strongly in the mouth and so too does the malt. And the combination also provides a very satisfactory finish indeed.


Treaty City, the brew/pub is close to King John’s Castle, say: Treaty City Brewery started in a small two bedroomed apartment in East Vancouver, Canada. After a long night of general debauchery, plenty of merriment and many bottles of bland tasteless beer, we decided enough was enough. Something had to be done. Life was too short to drink bad beer. The next morning, while nursing a spectacular hangover we headed for the local homebrew store and purchased our very first brewing equipment….. 

Soon they were brewing at home and not too long after that they found the real home was calling and, back in the Treaty City, they carried on brewing!


The Harris Pale Ale (suitable for vegans by the way) is one of the brewery’s first and is named after Richard Harris, swashbuckling on and off the screen and a man who appreciated a good drink. He performed in a huge variety of films over a number of decades including The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Field (1990) and Gladiator (2000).


Third Circle Shot In The Dark Coffee & Oatmeal Stout 5.2%, 330ml can Bradleys

About as black as can be, with a soft tanned head that doesn’t rush to depart. Probably more coffee than toffee in the aromas. And the coffee is much the flavour on the palate though caramel gets a look in as well. Pretty smooth also thanks to the oatmeal. Not to sure though that it will wake you up in the morning, might work around lunchtime though. Good but not quite in the Dungarvan league - yet!


They say: “Rich smooth decadent coffee oatmeal stout brewed with the perfect blend of Irish malt and single fair trade coffee.This beer is pure breakfast juice. We teamed up with our local coffee roaster to bring you this beautifully smooth coffee and oatmeal stout. Brewed with oats for that creamy and silky base and then infused with single origin Columbian coffee which gives beautiful aromas of sweet chocolate, brown sugar and black tea. This beer will wake you up!”


Who are Third Circle? Like many great breweries, the foundations of Third Circle lie in homebrewing. Wicklow based Scientist Jon Grennan developed a love and passion for brewing at home while working as a biologist. Third Circle beers are now crafted in Dublin, where Jon's love for both precision and experimentation are feeding the creation of some exciting new brews. 


The company's core beliefs are simple: brew with balance, good taste and curiosity. Third Barrel Brewery was founded in Bluebell Avenue, Dublin 12 in collaboration with friends at Stone Barrel Brewing. 



Brehon Brewhouse Shanco Dubh Porter 8.8%, 500ml bottle Bradleys 



This is a strong and powerful ale that absorbs distinct spirit notes from time spent ageing in old oak whiskey casks. A beer for sipping and relishing. Best served around eight degrees.


It is black for sure with a tan head that doesn’t really hang about. This bottle conditioned beer has robust aromatic notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt and liquorice, plus herbal hints. More of the chocolate on the palate. Full bodied with prominent roasted elements and moderate (yet definite) whiskey notes. And that elegant whiskey contribution takes us right through to the very satisfactory finish with a pleasing sweetness. 


This porter goes exceptionally well with meat and cheese dishes. Which ties in, more or less, with the Beer Club recommendations of smoked meats, oysters, game or extra mature cheddar cheese. 

No shortage of cask-aged at Brehon and this is another excellent one, yet my favourite, by a small margin, remains the Oak & Mirrors.

Eight Degrees Citra Single Hop IPA 5.7%, 440ml can



Mid-gold is the colour of this Citra Single Hop from Eight Degrees, the adventurous brewery. It’s got a white bubbly head. Aromas are, surprise, surprise, citrus with a floral touch as well. The combined fruit flavours come out to play on the juicy palate and you’ll note peach, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and lychee in the mix with the malt on display. It’s a refreshing beer, with a nicely judged bitter finish. 


Another excellent can in the Mitchelstown portfolio proving, not for the first time, that Citra is more than capable of sustaining a solo run.


They say: Citra, with its fruity, juicy aroma and flavour, is one of our favourite hops. To showcase it, we’ve used a simple, yet elegant, malt body …. This is a beer that is both sweet and tart, with a gloriously juicy mouthfeel.

Geek Bits
2020 World Beer Awards – Gold
2019 World Beer Awards – Gold

Style: Single hop IPA
Malt: Irish pale ale malt
Hops: Citra, Citra and…Citra!
Strength: 5.7% ABV
Bitterness: 62 IBUs

Food pairings:
The bitterness in this Citra Single Hop IPA will cut beautifully through sweet low-and-slow pulled pork served with a chilli-spiked peach relish. The beer also will counterbalance the bold flavours of barbecued chicken wings and play nicely with some grilled spicy fresh Gubbeen chorizo sausages. Try it with a not-too-sweet Key Lime pie for a full-on citrus ending to your meal.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Beer of the Year 2021 - the long list!

 Beer of the Year 2021 - the list!


Brehon Brewhouse Oak & Mirrors Two Stacks Whiskey Cask Aged Imperial Porter 7.5%

Dungarvan “Mahon Falls” Rye Pale Ale

Eight Degrees “The Pilgrim’s Path” Lager

Eight Degrees Irish Oak-aged Barleywine 12.2%

Galway Bay NZ Pils Motueka Dry Hopped Pilsner

Heaney New England IPA

Hope “Limited Edition No 25“ Classic Gose

Land & Labour Crimson Kriek Framboise

Lineman “Vesper" Pale Ale

Mescan Brewery Old Brown

O’Hara’s Irish Stout Nitro

Trouble Brewing Lights Out DIPA

Western Herd Flora and Fauna 10 Hop DIPA
Whiplash “Melodie Noir” Baltic Porter

Yellow Belly “Red Noir” Dark Red Ale


- Will be "working" on this long list of my favourite beers in 2021 over the Christmas break. Soon, a short list will be published and then my champ!

Will also name a selection across the various style.


December (short list)

Coffee and Oatmeal Stout: Dungarvan

Cask-Aged: Brehon Brewhouse Oak & Mirrors Two Stacks Whiskey Cask Aged Imperial Porter 7.5%

Porter: Whiplash The Sup

Session: Eight Degrees Seisíun IPA 4.5%

Rauchbier: Kinnegar 20÷2 Anniversary Rauchbier 5%

Barleywine: Eight Degrees Irish Oak-aged Barleywine 12.2%

Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #82. On the craft journey with a session of Eight Degrees, Kinnegar and Brehon Brewhouse.

A Quart of Ale± #82

On the craft journey with a session of Eight Degrees, Kinnegar and Brehon Brewhouse.



Eight Degrees Irish Oak-aged Barleywine 12.2%, 440 ml can


This seasonal Barleywine pours a ruby colour in the glass, great to reflect the lights on the Christmas trees, appropriate too as this beer is deftly produced to accompany you through the festival meals.  


Aromas are malty and complex. The complexity continues on the palate, yet it is not at all over over-intense, a condition that hampers many high abv beers. 


This aromatic and multi-flavoured seasonal special was aged in especially rare Irish whiskey barrels that have been made from native Irish oak. And it is certainly a good fit for the festive season, for the pudding, the cake (think raisins and dried fruit), candied fruit, toffee. While you may get some vanilla during the tasting, the cask input is very nicely judged, there is no sharp whiskey hit at all. Oh, there is certainly cask influence but all’s in balance.


And keep it handy for the cheese course, especially if you have the likes of Cashel or Crozier or Wicklow blue at hand. I enjoyed it with a wee wedge of Crozier and it was quite a match, both the beer and the cheese enhanced by the coming together of the golden liquid and the cream of Cashel.


The blue cheese may not be everybody’s cup of tea but I’m sure you’ll find quite a few other pairings for this superb barleywine, starting with the brewery tasting notes below. I did absolutely enjoy it with the cheese and am really looking forward to trying another can with the cake and pudding on the big day!


Don’t rush this beauty, a sip will go a long way. I remember that tip from César Saldaña, Consejo Regulador Jerez. In 2011, while speaking of sherry at an event in Ballymaloe, he said: When drinking sherry with your meal you should always have a glass of water at hand. When you want to “wash” down the food use the water and then take “a few drops” of the sherry as it goes a long way! The same advice may be applied to quality abv beers like this.


The artwork on the can may have caught your eye. They say: To celebrate ten years of brewing at Eight Degrees, we wanted to showcase Ireland-based artists in our 2021 Original Gravity series. We ran a competition looking for artworks that reflected our Naturally Adventurous values, expressing our desire to explore and roam again. Artist Coireall Carroll Kent ( @coireallcarrollkent ) explains her design: I spent a lot of the pandemic trekking across the Irish countryside, and many of the roads that I took to are shrouded in trees just like these. The knots are naturally rooted in Celtic culture, with the concentric circles representing both the curves of our landscape and the bubbles in a good drink!


Geek Bits

Malt: Pale ale malt, Carapils and Cararoma.

Hops: Nugget and Cascade.

Yeast: US05 yeast.

IBUs: 82

Launch Date: November 2021.

Availability: 440ml cans, limited draught

Style: Irish oak-aged barleywine.

Food pairings

Get those brandy snifters out! You definitely don’t want to hurry this gorgeous beer. Try it with the bluest of the blue cheeses that you can get your hands on as it will happily stand up to any funk that you throw at it. Stilton is the obvious pairing but we like to stick with Irish cheese on our Christmas cheeseboard so Louth’s Bellingham Blue, Young Buck from Northern Ireland and our local Crozier Blue from Cashel are all worthy pairings. It’s also the time of the year when all the flavours of spiced beef need a foil: get the best award-winning spiced beef from Tom Durcan in Cork’s English Market, slice thinly and layer it into a sandwich that also involves some of that blue cheese. Serve with ORIGINAL GRAVITY Irish Oak-Aged Barleywine on the side for a wintertime supper with style. Keep a little beer for the end of the meal and pair it with dark chocolate, dried fruit and nuts – or any bar that combines those flavours. Ireland is blessed with a variety of wonderful bean to bar chocolatiers so seek out the darker chocolate from producers like Exploding Tree, NearyNógs, Bean & Goose and Hazel Mountain Chocolate. Closer to home, chocolatier and pastry chef Norma makes truffles and bars at Praline in Mitchelstown which are worth a try with the barleywine. My pick? The 65% dark chocolate tropical bar with mango, passionfruit and pineapple.

Kinnegar 20÷2 Anniversary Pilsner 5%, 440ml can Bradleys



Pilsner is actually a type of lager, named after the Czech city Plzen. Their most notable differentiating feature is that pilsners tend to have more hop forward flavours and a  different yeast is used.


You notice that “hoppier” element immediately in the aromas, nothing too forward mind you in this clear amber beer from Donegal. There’s an extra degree of oomph on the palate, the crisp and clean lager equipped with a bit of extra muscle, thanks to the noble hops used.


They say: “A once-off of a classic style that played a part in Rick’s personal development as a brewer.” And then they don’t say anymore. Should customers be told the full story? In any event, this excellent simple beer is a good one to celebrate the brewery’s 10th anniversary.


Brehon Brewhouse Crann Beatha Whiskey Aged Imperial Stout 10.0%, 500ml bottle Bradleys



Here’s the Brehon intro to this Imperial Stout: We are proud to present a limited run, not to be repeated: Crann Beatha Whiskey-aged Imperial Stout - Vintage 2019.


Dark as a moonless night, it has (briefly enough) a tan disc as a head. Aromas are vanilla, coffee and caramel, a hint of the whiskey in the dark-roast malt. And the warm and rich palate intensifies the aromas with rich fruit (plum and raisin) also in the flavours. Quite a good balance right to the satisfactory finish.


Brewed and bottled by Brehon in County Monaghan for Gaelic Delight and exclusively for sale in the Netherlands. I got mine in the Republic of Bradley’s. Crann Beatha means Tree of Life. It is a celebration of their 200th brew and the whiskey casks used came from one of the new distillers in Mayo. Of the two cask aged Brehon whiskeys tasted recently, I’m inclined to give the nod to the Oak & Mirrors, though I enjoyed both.



Brehon Brewhouse Stony Grey IPA 6.0%, 440 can Bradleys



This has a close to amber colour, hazy with a foamy white head, altogether attractive. Nice mix in the aromas, floral notes (including rose), spice and pine and hints from the malt. And much the same elements, with a layer of citrus, combine on the palate giving a terrific balance, smooth all the way to the dry finish. A very pleasant beer indeed. A superb beer actually, quite a flavoursome thrust to it and a deep refreshing finish. 


I first enjoyed this in the autumn of 2020 and was the beer that led me to adding the Monaghan brewery to my short list. And where did the brewery name come from? It was inspired by the old Brehon laws that ruled medieval Ireland, which claimed every clan could brew beer for their own family!



They say: Great on its own but just perfect with spicy foods like Indian, Mexican, chicken wings or mild blue cheese, lemon curd cake or key lime pie. Serve around 8 degrees. Our small brewery is housed on the farm, just a short distance from the old homestead.We are set amongst the rolling drumlins of County Monaghan, just a few miles from the birthplace of Patrick Kavanagh, the inspiration for our India Pale Ale –  Stony Grey IPA.