Showing posts with label Heaney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heaney. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #42. Craft with four of the best: White Hag, Heaney, Wicklow Wolf and Dupont

CorkBillyBeers #42

Craft with four of the best: White Hag, Heaney, Wicklow Wolf and Dupont.

Session. Saison. Pale Ale. Stout.


White Hag Little Fawn Session IPA 4.2% ABV, 330 ml can Bradleys

I’ve come across Little Fawn quite a bit over the last few years on draught across the country and I’m always glad to see it, always glad to see any White Hag beer in a pub or restaurant. Its wide availability confirms its status as a classic Indian pale ale and, also because of its lower-than-usual ABV, as a go-to session beer.

The White Hag are rightly proud of its modern independent craft brewery from Sligo, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. “We brew innovative and groundbreaking beers, inspired by ancient and classic styles.”

They certainly hit, and continue to hit, the bull’s eye with this one, an easy-to-drink American-style session IPA. Brewed with 100% Irish malt for a pale, very clean base.

An easy-to-drink American-style session IPA. Brewed with 100% Irish malt for a pale and layered with Mosaic hops, famous for their ever-changing fruity aroma. The colour is a light gold with a slight haze. No shortage of bubbles rising to a soft white head. Citrus-y in the aromas with a hint of something softer as well. The flavour is fruity hops with aromas of blueberry, passionfruit, grapefruit and more. Well balanced, with a mild lingering bitter finish. Lip-smacking stuff!

Very Highly Recommended.

They use ancient tales in selling their many and varied beers including this Little Fawn yarn. He was discovered “as a child on the slopes of Ben Bulben by Bran & Sceolan, this young and sprightly warrior spent his summers foraging and hunting the mountains and woodlands. These local flavours are reflected in the taste experience.”


Heaney Notifications Off DDH Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale 4.7%, 440 ml can Carry Out Killarney

“Switch off and enjoy this double dry-hopped pale ale, bursting with grapefruit, gooseberry and tropical fruit, brewed and canned by Heaney Farmhouse Brewery at The Wood, Bellaghy. Co. Derry.”, exhort the Heaneys.

They are talking about their relatively new Pale Ale, crammed with Nelson Sauvin Hops from New Zealand, “Tradition refreshed.”

The colour is a weak orange, quite murky, almost opaque, with a fluffy white head. Aromas are fruity and their tropical nature bursts out as the liquid roams the palate before a lip-smacking finish. 

The Nelson Sauvin hop has been regularly compared to the superb local wines made from Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, and there are similarities. That hint of gooseberry is one (grape and passion fruit are other characteristics of the hop) and there’s a bracing acidity as well. The beer is perfectly balanced, quite a thirst quencher on sunny days and also on not-so-sunny ones.

Very Highly Recommended. Another good one from the Heaney brewery.


Wicklow Wolf Apex Oatmeal Stout 6.5% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

“A full-flavoured stout that will leave you wanting more.” That’s the message from Wicklow Wolf.

The stout is black with a coffee-coloured head. Coffee in the aromatics as well. And also on the palate, intense stuff with a slightly sweet creamy smoothness. And yes, more is the request!

Apex champions a heavy malt bill, brewed with only the best flaked Irish Oats, specialty chocolate and coffee malts. No wonder this stout is the base for quite a few Wicklow Wolf variations.

Very Highly Recommended

Geek Bits

Hops: Bravo

Malts: Pale, Chocolate, Roast Crystal, Brown, Carafa, Oat, Cara


Saison Dupont 6.5% ABV, 33 cl bottle Bradleys

A Standard. A Classic. The Best.

I’ve been enjoying it every summer for the past six years. I've enjoyed quite a few others as well but none comes near. If there were a Saison World Cup, then the Dupont team would be favourites and would win. As Michael Creedon of Bradley’s told me a few years back “if you don’t like this, you don’t like saison”.

Beer has been brewed here in Belgium’s Hainaut for centuries, though it is only in the last 20 years or so that the Dupont Brewery has become a global reference for saison. 

Farm beers of this type – light, rather dry but fruity – were traditionally brewed during the winter, ready to quench the thirst of the seasonal field workers (saisoniers) during the summer to follow.

It is a cloudy mid-amber, with fountains of micro-bubbles. Aromas of citrus. Light and fruity, zesty and refreshing, yet no shortage of hearty flavour. Reckon any labourer, even a keyboard one, would be happy with this impeccable beer. Superb finish also with the bitterness now at the forefront. Nothing quirky, nothing extreme other than extremely good.

They say: Saison Dupont was first brewed in 1844. This copper-blond beer yields amazingly delicate aromas paired with pronounced hop bitterness. The house yeast and the local hard water, drawn from a well, play an important role in the creation of this beer. An in-bottle refermentation makes a major contribution to the development of this complex and highly aromatic beer.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #28. Craft IPAs from Lineman, Heaney, and Killarney

CorkBillyBeers #28

Craft IPAs from Lineman, Heaney, and Killarney


Heaney New England IPA 5.7%, 440ml can Bradleys

The label intro to this beer is short, and accurate: Haze, hops, and juice.

Light gold, deeply hazy, and a fluffy white head that’s in no big hurry to depart, mark the appearance of this IPA from the Heaney brewery. I like this hazy gold coloured beer, full of exotic notes, soft and easy drinking.

Aromas are somewhat reticent but you may note Pineapple leading the exotic charge. And more fruit on the palate, Mango and Pineapple to the fore, with just a touch of bitterness in the background. Lovely soft mouthfeel and perfectly balanced. Another well-made beer from the Derry brewery, one for the short-list for sure.

Heaney has continued to improve the NEIPA. “It’s slightly more refined on the body, a little smoother with the carbonation dialled in exactly right. I’m not sure what you get on your tasting notes but I feel there is a lot of squidgy apricot in there and some juicy red apple, it’s all about the jooooose. Very little bitterness if any, and a nice smooth lush body. We used Mosaic and Amarillo in equal quantities in the dry hop and Chinook in the whirlpool, no hops in the boil at all.”

Food pairing suggested by the makers: Jamaican Jerk Chicken with a stone fruit sauce.

Very Highly Recommended.


Heaney West Coast India Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

This “classic West Coast IPA” from Heaney comes in a gorgeous golden colour with a soft white head.  Hints of citrus and pine from the aromas. Zesty Citrus also on the palate and a lip-smacking finish satisfies. Happy to let my thirst meet this one anytime.

Very 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 canned here at the wood in Bellaghy, Co. Derry.

And they suggest pairing it with “Dirty fries and sloppy burgers. Pairs well with mild blue cheeses.”  Serve at 5 degrees.

Heaney’s now have quite a few of their regular and well-loved beers in cans including this one, their New England IPA (above), the Double Pale Ale, the White Ale and their Irish Pale Ale.


Killarney Scarlet Pimpernel IPA 6%, 500ml bottle CarryOut Killarney

There is a statue of a priest, dressed in an older fashion, at an entrance to Killarney National Park. He is striding out, a man in a hurry. They seek him here, they seek him there - he is O’Flaherty, the Scarlet Pimpernel. And this IPA is named in his honour.

It has a deep red colour. “Best served with a thick frothy head so pour with vigour.” I took that bit of advice so my head, poured a bit like the O’Flaherty walk,, and was rewarded with a long-lasting head.

Built “on a smooth malty base”, aromas are moderate, citrus and pine, but good and malty also. There’s a light caramel sweetness on the palate. Overall, a good balance is found, hop bitterness is moderate, and they boldly recommend it as “a perfect partner for full-flavoured dishes”.

Highly Recommended

During WW2, Rome-based Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty saved over 6,500 people by hiding them in monasteries, farms, and other locations. After the war, he was awarded the US Medal of Freedom and Commander of the British Empire.


Lineman Loose Ends IPA, 5.7% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

Life’s full of loose ends. This IPA is full of Simcoe, Citra and Chinook.

That’s how the label sums up this Loose Ends IPA by Lineman, their first limited edition of 2023.


Colour is a murky yellow with a soft white head. From the haze, aromas of the tropical kind, some citrus too and a little pine, arise. And they also populate the palate with the tropical stuff getting on top in a refreshing finish.

Highly Recommended.

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


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.


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.


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.


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!


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%

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Beer of The Year 2021 The candidates, so far!

 Beer of The Year 2021

The candidates, so far!

November: Mescan Brewery Old Brown

October: Western Herd Flora and Fauna 10 Hop DIPA

September: Galway Bay NZ Pils Motueka Dry Hopped Pilsner

August: Hope “Limited Edition No 25“ Classic Gose

July: Yellow Belly “Red Noir” Dark Red Ale

June: O’Hara’s Irish Stout Nitro

May: Dungarvan “Mahon Falls” Rye Pale Ale

April: Heaney New England IPA

March: Whiplash “Melodie Noir” Baltic Porter

February: Eight Degrees “The Pilgrim’s Path” Lager

January: Lineman “Vesper" Pale Ale

Toying with the idea of using Twitter polls to tie down

our beer of the year, maybe three qualifiers of four and

then a final poll of three. What do you think?


Favourite beers in brew pubs

IPA: Crew “Polly” IPA

Stout: Cotton Ball Lynch’s Stout

Favourite Cider 

Johnny Fall Down Rare Apple Cider 2019 (from October)

Stonewell Cask (November)


November final

Tough decision here with the Land & Labour and the Trouble Brewing DIPA also in the field. Not to mention the Stonewell.

Old Brown: Mescan

Spon: Land & Labour Crimson Kriek Framboise

Lager: Eight Degrees Original Gravity “Hoppy Lager”

Session: Trouble Brewing Little Monster Pale Ale

IPA: Larkin’s Drench, Wide Street Cashmere,

Wheat: Curious Society Wheat Beer

Coffee Oatmeal Stout: Ulster Black Oatmeal Stout 

DIPA: Trouble Brewing Lights Out DIPA

Cider: Stonewell Cask

October final selection

IPA: 9 White Deer Stag;

Wheat Beer: Clonakilty Inchydoney Blond;

Black IPA: 9 White Deer Black Lightning; 

Cider: Johnny Fall Down Rare Apple Cider 2019

DIPA: Western Herd Flora and Fauna 10 Hop DIPA

Session: Lineman Sundrops Table Beer, 3.3%; 

Pale Ale: Eight Degrees Kveik Pale Ale.

September Final Selection

Stout: Ballykilcavan Blackwell Stout

Session: Trouble Brewing Love Below Micro IPA 3.2%

Lager: Galway Bay NZ Pils Motueka Dry Hopped Pilsner 4.9%.

Wheatbeer/Witbier: Whiplash Il Veliero DDZ Witbier 4.8%

Rye IPA: Kinnegar Bucket & Spade Session Rye IPA 4.2%

IPA: Hope Handsome Jack IPA 6.6%

Pale Ale: White Hag Duo Series Idaho 7 & Citra Pale Ale 5.5%