Showing posts with label Galway Bay Brewery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Galway Bay Brewery. Show all posts

Thursday, January 12, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #6 .Craft Stout with Galway Bay, Heaney, Left Hand and Croatia's Garden

CorkBillyBeers #6

Craft with Galway Bay, Heaney, Left Hand and Croatia's Garden

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Galway Bay Ostara Irish Stout, 5.00% ABV, 330 ml can Bradleys.


Brewers Galway Bay are enthusiastic about this: Here is Ostara Stout, our take on the concept of ‘Dublin Stout’. Brewed to be complex but quaffable. We took some of our Imperial stout tricks and adapted them to a lower abv base recipe. The result has layered malts with some lovely soft chocolate notes finished with a nice hop zing to help clean the palate.


From the city that drank and exported so much stout in the early days, it is difficult to take the Dublin bit but not at all difficult to swallow this Galway stout. It looks the part, with black body and soft tan head, and also smells the part, toast and coffee.


Not too long ago, I doubt that many Irish drinkers deliberately smelled their stout before that first big swallow. 


The man in the bar had a small wine glass in his hand. But that wasn't wine in the glass. He covered the opening with his hand and shook the glass. Taking away his hand, he asked me to smell. As I do so, he said “Toffee Bar”. I agreed. Then he said: “Beamish”. 


And it was indeed the old Cork favourite (still going strong with many local devotees, including craft beer drinkers), the toffee bar aromas enhanced by the agitation and the shape of the glass. The man in the Kiln at Murphy’s Stout in Leitrim Street, was Marc Stroobants, a renowned beer expert from Belgium. I’ve been nosing my beers since that eye-opener ten years ago.


Thanks to M. Stroobants, I quite often stick my finger into the head in the glass and suck it. It often gives a clue to what I may taste later on. But sticking your finger into the head and sucking will sometimes get you some curious stares.


When Ostara hits the palate, the toasted notes of the malts (traces of coffee and chocolate) lead the way to a dry and lip smacking and palate cleansing finish. But I do feel there is something little bit lacking between the aromas and the finalé.


The name? Not too sure. Google tells me Ostara marked the Spring Equinox in German and Celtic tradition and there was a festival. But no mention of beer!


Highly Recommended.

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Heaney Irish Stout, 4.3% ABV, 500 ml bottle can Bradleys


I’m somewhat prejudiced here, prejudiced through practice that is. I’ve been enjoying this stout from the Heaney Farmhouse Brewery in Co. Derry over a few years now. And I know satisfaction is guaranteed! 

It is black, with a tan coloured head that loses volume pretty quickly. Stick your finger in the head (there I go again!) and taste the roast coffee and dark 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, and lip-licking finalé. Satisfaction!

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

Highly Recommended.


They say: For generations, our family farm has been a place of harvest and inspiration. Our beers are for after the graft. Rural thirst quenchers. Brewed and bottled by Heaney Farmhouse Brewery at The Wood, Bellaghy, Co. Derry.


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Excellent head 
on the Left Hand.

Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout Nitro, 6.0% ABV, 404 ml can Bradleys


“Experience America’s Stout. Milk Stout Nitro is a full sensory experience. Gaze at the mesmerizing cascade of all those tiny Nitro bubbles.”

Nitro is the key word here. They use nitro to get the bubbles going rather than “old” CO2. Then again Nitro has a 60 year old plus history to its credit, with most of the credit being claimed by Guinness and its widget.


And this Left Hand  does try hard to live up to its billing. “This portable draft beer experience is Good to Go straight from the can or served Like a Pro in a glass. From the bottle, Pour Hard to release the Nitro magic inside.” Pour Hard is also key! You do indeed stare at the rising bubbles and then see them fall back down the sides of the glass.


The body colour is black, the pillowy head, that really stays around, is tanned. There is coffee and cream in the moderately (if even that) intense aromas. The sensation on the palate is ultra smooth, creamy/milky, and that head coats your upper lip, a bit on the sweet side though. Initial roasty, mocha flavours rise up, with slight hop and roast bitterness in the finish. 


I like the theatre at the start and like the finish but the overall experience is all a bit moderate, a bit on the slight side, more butterfly than bee, a dance at arm’s length rather than a clinger. More shadow than substance. Give me Cotton Ball or Elbow Lane any day.


Still it is an interesting one, easy drinking,  and well worth a try and I fully understand why quite a few drinkers rave about it. Just not me. I have a Brewmaster nitro in the queue and I must also try and get the O’Hara’s one. Any other suggestions? 


Geek Bits

IBU 25

Malt: 2-Row, Crystal, Chocolate, Munich, Rolled Oats, Flaked Barley, Roasted Barley

Lactose is also listed in ingredients.

For the best experience, pour hard at 180 degrees into a 16oz glass. Different gas, different pour. Cheers! #PourHard


Firestone Nitro tip

To enjoy this beer (Firestone) to the fullest, you want to master the surge pour. Just invert the can three times, then pour hard into the glass. This way, you can experience the “theater of the pour” with a brilliant cascading effect and a creamy foam that makes drinking Nitro Merlin Milk Stout all the more delicious

Check video here.

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The Garden (Croatia) Stout, 5.7% ABV, 330 ml can Bradleys



First time trying a beer from Croatia and it comes with a hefty enough 5.7% ABV. It pours dark with a soft tan head that slowly sinks in the glass. Aromas are modest enough, mostly roasted coffee. I note a streak of acidity as it hits the palate but it is the coffee and chocolate that go on to make the running with a little, barely noticeable, sweetness. 


Lactose is listed as an ingredient here, presumably to add the sweetness.  The lactose (milk sugar) is not eaten by yeast. But the result here is rather modest. Indeed, the stout itself , though pleasant, is a modest effort overall.


It is produced by the Garden Brewery in Zagreb. “We’re lucky to have a huge garden, with plenty of seating and tables sheltered under the shade of more than 40 mature trees. There’s also an outside bar, a large lawn, an area for DJs and Live Music and events. When the sun is shining, there’s not much that beats an ice-cold beer in The Garden!”


In those circumstances and with the right company, and the Croatian football team on the TV, then this stout may well shine!

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #133. On the craft journey with Kinnegar, Wide Street, Galway Bay, West Cork, and Bradleys

 A Quart of Ale± #133


On the craft journey with Kinnegar, Wide Street, Galway Bay, West Cork, and Bradleys.

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Kinnegar Rustbucket Rye IPA, 5.1% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys.


This old reliable, the Rustbucket, is well into its second decade now. The brewery tell us “it was inspired by an old friend - a real character and independent spirit, but always a faithful companion. This description also fits our friends at An Grianán Theatre for whom we originally developed this special beer.”


Amber is the colour and it has a big soft head. Malt heads the aromas with rye offering a little spice. And you meet that spice again in the mouth. And it’s all a little bolder, a little spicer, on the pleasing palate. The American hops come on with a citrus contribution. All’s in balance here though. It is an excellent beer. “A fresh and hoppy drink with a complex flavour profile that never disappoints”, they say themselves and I’ve no problem agreeing.


Once our wandering ancestors settled down, they began to grow grain to make bread and beer. Which came first? I’m not going that deep here. But, in any case, the kind of beer made depended on the local grain. Rye, which thrives on poor soil, was the local grain in much of northern Europe, especially in Russia and Scandinavia. Wonder if those early brewers made anything as good as this Rustbucket!


So how do Kinnegar humans (quite an inventive tribe) go from rye to rustbucket? Credit goes to a Donegal madra (his pic is on the can). “This is where the story gets obtuse, winding a thread around a beloved Irish Terrier, Rusty, or as he was affectionately called by many, Rustbucket. Irish Terriers are renowned for their intelligence. Some, like Rusty, are also very well-known for their tenacity and downright stubbornness. He was a great dog, but he sure did require a lot of patience!”


Quite a storied beer then, though many of the yarns might have never been written but for the crew at An Grianán Theatre calling for encore after encore (read can after can) on that Rustbucket opening night so many litres ago.

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Wide Street Spéciale Belgian Pale Ale, 4.7%, 440 ml can Bradleys


Longford brewery Wide Street introduce this Pale Ale: “S P É C I A L E is our nod to the Belgian Pale ales brewed in the Flemish provinces of Antwerp and Brabant. Traditionally amber in colour despite the Pale Ale name this beer is medium bodied and malt forward with medium bitterness. One of Belgium's session beer styles.”


Colour is a coppery/amber with a white pillowy head. It is more murky than hazy. Aromas and flavours are both fruity (apple and pear, even banana and orange). The first hit on the palate is the malt but this easy-drinking beer is certainly well-balanced, medium malty yes and with just enough bitterness to balance. A terrific alternative to IPAs and the brewers indicate it pairs well with poultry, pulled pork, curries or a cheeseboard.


Of course, the Belgians would argue that all their beers are spéciale. The two parts of the country may speak in different languages but that doesn’t prevent them having a common pride in their beers. Despite having a relatively short national history, it has one of the oldest brewing traditions in the world. And one of the characteristics of their beers is the extent to which they get the most from their yeast.


The label mentions fruity esters without elaborating (in fairness, there’s only so much you can print in a can). Esters are a fruity flavour produced primarily through the action of yeasts during fermentation and are influenced by the fermentation process. They are formed in beer by the “esterification” of ethanol which is the primary alcohol in beer.


Another excellent beer from Wide Street who can be found on a very wide street indeed in Ballymahon, County Longford.


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Galway Bay Bay Ale Red Ale, 4.4%, 330 ml can Bradleys


The crew in the brewery are very happy with this long-standing stalwart: Bay Ale is brewed with a complex malt bill and a savvy dose of subtle American hops for a modern spin on this traditional style. This beer has stood the test of time in our range and we are proud to see it still flying the flag for red ales.


Their Galway Bay “Bay Red Ale” has quite a strong red colour and a soft off-white head that slowly waltzes away. Aromas are mild and mostly malty. On the palate, you immediately note a smooth and well-balanced flavour from this well rounded ale. British and Irish malts get a chance to shine here and give this beer a strong backbone but the hops (European and American) get their share of the spotlight and the balance is excellent.


Irish Red ales are noted for their food-friendliness and this is no exception. Try it with salads, roast meats, cold meats, simple cheeses and salmon dishes.


Founded in 2009, Galway Bay is an independently owned and operated brewery based in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. “From classic styles to big barrel aged beers, we brew the full spectrum of beer with a passion for quality and innovation.”

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West Cork Brewing Cape Haze West Coast IPA, 4.7% ABV, 500ml bottle Ballymaloe Craft Fair


This comes in a gold orange robe, hazy of course, with a fairly big bubbly white head. Hints of orange and resin in the aromas (as you’d expect with the German pair of Mandarina Bavaria and Hercules in the recipe). And the duo of orange and resin also feature in the mouth, accompanied by a dank sensation and some vegetative input that I couldn’t put a finger on. Overall though, it is bright and fruity and quite a decent IPA, especially considering it weights at just 4.7% ABV.


By the way, the third hop is Yellow Sub (which as been described as “Amarillo on steroids”) is also of German origin. The brewery recommends food pairings for this beer as mussels, chicken & caramel cakes. 


Like all of their beers, this is brewed using their own spring water, is bottle conditioned, unfiltered and vegan friendly. Current brewer at West Cork is Terra Brookins. She grew up in San Diego "where you can’t swing a cat without hitting a craft brewery”.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #117. On the craft journey with Rye River, Galway Bay, newcomers Outer Place, Porterhouse, Wicklow Wolf, Crew Limerick, Hopfully,

 A Quart of Ale± #117

On the craft journey with Rye River, Galway Bay, newcomers Outer Place and Porterhouse, Wicklow Wolf, Crew Limerick, Hopfully,

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Rye River (collab.with Old Street) Die Hundstage Köter Kölsch 5.0% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys



This seasonal small batch beer is a collaboration between Rye River and East London’s Old Street Brewery. It has a pleasant light gold colour, tonnes of bubbles and a bubbly white head. Aromatics are fresh and fruity as you’d expect, more or less, from the hops. On the palate, it is crisp and clean, dry, with a sweet shot of fruit. Totally refreshing for sure.


Rye River: “Introducing our paw-some new Rye River Seasonal brew... Die Hundestage Köter Kölsch! A collaboration brew with our good friends over at Old Street Brewery in East London, this Kölsch is *chef's kiss* perfect to knock back on a hot summer's day. This one is for the dog days of summer!Part of a seasonal range we developed as a way to explore our passion for our craft. Each beer is never like the last..”



Callista and Tango were used for the dry hops. Callista, as you may know, is from Germany and noted for its fruity qualities such as Melon, Strawberry and Apricot.


Tango, also German, is a relative newcomer, and is following in the footsteps of its grandmother “Hallertauer Tradition” while being the pacemaker into the future. It is also very versatile, something of an all-rounder. In kettle hopped beers: hoppy fresh aroma notes similar to Hallertauer Tradition and Perle − in late and dry hopped beers: fresh and fruity aroma (especially passion fruit) − pleasantly mild bitterness − excellent drinkability. What’s not to like?


This collaboration looks like a win win for Rye River though I’m sure they also played a full role in Die Hundestage Köter (The Dogs Days). 


Kölsch is the signature beer of Cologne, Germany, and has a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). “At first glance, kölsches seem to be doing a fine pilsner impersonation,” according to the Beer Bible. But there are delicate subtle differences, more yeast, more minerality. If you are drinking at source, The Bible recommends Gaffel, Früh (I got this in Bradleys 2021) and Reissdorf as top Cologne examples.


Otherwise, try the 9 White Deer one (gentle hops and malt character, it is easy-drinking, full flavoured with fruity hints and a crisp and lager style character); Rye themselves make the excellent Grafters Clocking Off Kölsch (available in Dunnes).



Galway Bay Goodbye Blue Monday Oatmeal IPA 6.6% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys



Goodbye Blue Monday was first brewed in 2013.. in collaboration with Chicago’s Begyle. Galway Bay: “This oatmeal IPA is brewed with Irish Malt and lashings of Irish oats. Hopped continuously in the kettle with Citra and Columbus, then dry hopped several times with more Citra. A fan favourite on both sides of the Atlantic.”


That’s the story behind this trans-Atlantic collaboration. Quite a success story for this hazy light orange coloured IPA. Aromas are modest but, importantly (thanks to the Columbus) firm hints of dankness abound. And those hints are confirmed on the complex palate, lots of it and lots of citrus also, on its smooth journey to a dry and bitter finish. A fully grown up beer. Take heed of their own shout:  Super super stuff this year! Grab some while you can.




Outer Place Interstellar Pale Ale 5% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys




Outer Place promote this as “a sip of sunshine in a can”. Colour is a light orange, hazy with a fluffy white head that soon starts to sink. Aromas, of moderate intensity, are of tropical fruits. Mouthfeel is smooth enough but hop reinforced flavours are anything but, so you get intense flavours, deep and refreshing. Not too sure about the “dank weedy goodness” that the producers claim but it is a characteristic of the Strata hops (used in the whirlpool and dry hop).


It is an excellent debut by Outer Place, a new Irish Craft brewery in Kildare, who are focused on hoppy styles of beer. And they began selling their beers in April 2022.“Interstellar is our new Pale Ale. It's a sip of sunshine in a can. Clocking in at a session-able 5% ABV this one is made for sunny days and summer nights. ….. Lashings and lashings of new 2021 crop Cascade and Strata in the whirlpool and dry hop.” 


The story of Outer Place begins at the home of Mark Clarke and Vivien Lough. Mark has home-brewed for years as a hobby and has always dreamed of opening a brewery to satisfy his desire for hoppy beer. Now is the time.

“For now we are going to create beer with friends and collaborators in breweries around Ireland and beyond.

Our vision is to create a destination brewery that is fiercely independent, ethically inclined and sustainable.

Our goal is to create modern, progressive, delicious beers inspired by friends, family, art, music, nature and whatever else takes our fancy along the way.”


Porterhouse Slvr Skin Barrel Aged Coffee Stout 13% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys






“Our latest collab with the crew in @silverskin_coffee_roasters Is a 13% barrel aged, Imperial Coffee Stout cut with cold Brew coffee for an extra kick…..We don’t add any ‘extras’ – no additives, no enhancing chemicals. Just simple, pure ingredients.”


That’s the intro to Slvr Skin Coffee Stout by Porterhouse. It is a very dark brown verging on black with a tan coffee head that doesn’t hang about. Aromas are rich and coffee dominated, hints of vanilla too. And the same combo get to play on the palate as well, smooth, well rounded, yet with quite a punch (coffee and bourbon) and it lingers sweetly. Boy, does it linger. Terrific stout with amazing balance. Just about 7,000 cans were produced. I’ve got mine. You better get your hand up quickly!


It’s been Barrel Aged in Bourbon casks and the result is claimed as the first “Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout in Ireland made with cold brew”.


The advice from the brewers is to serve it chilled and “savour the rich, distinctive flavour”. After fermentation, the resulting beer was matured for nine months in Dingle Distillery Bourbon casks and following this ageing process a second addition of coffee was made, this time as a cold brew into the conditioning tanks before canning”.


All the hard work and precision yields an increased flavour profile and the result is an imperial stout full of rich flavour. Quite a treat!

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Wicklow Wolf continue on the sustainability trail...

This year we have taken our commitment one step further, we have commissioned the installation of over 120Kw of solar panels, covering the entirety of our 17,000 sq ft brewery roof to become the First Solar Powered Craft Brewery in the Republic of Ireland.

More here

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News from Limerick's CREW


The Crew's Ale Talk series continues in August with a representative of Hopfully Brewing coming to share some beers and stories. You might know Hopfully from some of their belters like Inside Out, Boo, and their No Cars gose selection. Limited tickets are available from the bar for €20, which gets you a seat at the event including four cans of delicious Hopfully beer. More at @crewbrewco on Facebook.



 



Monday, March 21, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #97. On the craft journey with Lineman, Whiplash, Galway Bay

 A Quart of Ale± #97


On the craft journey with Lineman, Whiplash,  Galway Bay


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Lineman Schadenfreude Schwarzbier 5.9%, 440 ml can Bradleys



This lager has a very close to black body with a soft tan head. And, yes, Schwarzbier is a lager - check it out at the finish! All that darkness, the roast malt flavours, will certainly confuse as you go through the stages. The trick is of course to get the balance right and then Schwarzbier “is a marvel to experience” according to Jeff Alworth in the Beer Bible.


The Lineman colour is on track and so too are the aromas with the mild roasty toasty touch. And so it continues. Flavours on the palate are not too far away from stout but soon comes that characteristic lager finish. 


Lineman’s Schadenfreude is indeed one of those marvels. “A cold fermented lager brewed with Munich, caramel and roasted malts then lagered to produce a super smooth dark beer.”


The recent history of this style goes back to the toppling of the Berlin Wall (according to World Atlas of Beer) and the re-unification of Germany. “What the five East German states brought back to the nation was Schwarzbier.” It had more or less died out in the west of the country.


This smooth and satisfying Lineman beer, which first saw the light of day on February 22nd 2022, is unpasteurised and unfiltered and is suitable for vegans. It may contain sediment. Serve chilled.


Lineman Electric Avenue #4 Pale Ale (Idaho7, Citra, Chinook) 5.1%, 440 ml can Bradleys



Lineman’s Electric Avenue has returned with the 4th release in the series and they are “using distilled hop oils to compliment our whirlpool and dry hop additions to produce a modern West Coast style Pale Ale, a crisp American style pale ale. We used a combination of T90 pellets and natural hop oils”. The hops used are Citra, Idaho 7 and Chinook, an all-American trio. 


The liquid is bright and clear with a light gold colour and no shortage of rising bubbles. Aromas are meek enough but exotic fruits (mango, pineapple and grapefruit) peek through along with pine notes. The fruits have more of a presence as you begin to drink and you realise you have quite a refreshing beer to enjoy. No strong bitter notes in a satisfactory finish. Another fine beer from a very consistent brewery



This beer is unpasteurised and unfiltered. Suitable for vegans. 


The series was launched in February 21. Where do the Electric Avenue name come from? “As well as being the name of that fantastic 1983 Eddy Grant song; Electric Avenue in Brixton was the first street to be electrically lit. We felt it was a good name for a series of beers that we want to trial new ideas on.”


#1 Hops: Strata, Centennial and Cascade; 

#2 Hops: Talus, Hallertau Blanc;

#3 Hops: Citra and Simcoe, the European Mandarin Bavaria;

#4 Hops: Citra, Idaho 7 and Chinook


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



Colour’s more black than brown and there’s a silky and tight knit foam that hangs about a bit.  The aromas, of modest intensity, are on the toasty side led by coffee notes. And so too are the flavours (not too modest now though) and there’s quite a depth here. Really impressive. Malt certainly has the upper hand here yet there is a very satisfactory lip smacking finish with enough bitterness to allow the malt shine without having it too sweet.


It is quite a good example of the English style: the colour, the malt flavour, the ABV of about five. Not sure the 5% would qualify it as robust though! According to the Beer Bible, you are more likely to find these nowadays in Chicago rather than on this side of the Atlantic.


Wouldn't mind having a little duel between this and the Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut Brown Ale ( a favourite of mine). Those Macadamia nuts have been added as an ingredient.


Galway Bay Triból Czech Pils 4.5%, 440 ml can Bradleys



This is one of the clearest beers I’ve seen in a while, really striking, with a lovely white head. Aromas, with floral and lemon notes, are modest. It is flavoursome and refreshing for sure, decent body as well and a hoppy (Mittelfruh) finish.


Unusually, it is a collaboration between the brewery and Galway United, the local football team. The name Triból means the drink of the tribes. Let us hope that John Caulfield’s men have something to celebrate at the end of the season. Not the only craft brewer involved in sponsoring football: Rascals support Saint Patricks.


They say: Founded in 2009, we are an independently owned and operated brewery based in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. From classic styles to big barrel aged beers, we brew the full spectrum of beer with a passion for quality and innovation.


Pils (or Pilsner) is a pale lager first brewed in the 1840s in the Czech town of Plzeñ (Pilsner). Lagers and all its variants were born and bred in quite a small area of Central Europe, from Bamberg in the west to Vienna in the east is about 500km and from Gera in the north to Munich in the south is shorter at less tan 400km with Pilsen in the middle (more or less). Here you’ll find Pilsner, Helles, Märzen, Vienna Lager, Bock, Dunkel lager, Schwarzbier, and Rauchbier.


* If you want to read more on the lager family, then check out my recent review of The Beer Bible here.