Showing posts with label Kinnegar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kinnegar. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

CorkBillyBeers #54. Craft with Kinnegar and Weihenstephaner

CorkBillyBeers #54

Craft with Kinnegar and Weihenstephaner


Kinnegar Devil’s Backbone Amber Ale, 4.9% ABV, 500 ml bottle O’Donovan’s

Amber’s the colour for sure, a dark amber at that. The head is off-white and not for hanging about (at least when poured from the bottle).  Lots of fizz in the haze. 

The first sip introduces you to its chocolate/caramel backbone and you realise this is a serious drink, pretty robust too, a full-bodied drink you can’t ignore. Dark fruit flavours on the palate, a very satisfying bitterness as well (hops are a mix of European and American) and then there’s a lip-smacking dry finish to boot.

The label indicates amber ale and you are thinking American. But notes on their website say it is known as a refreshing contemporary take on a traditional Irish red. And a pretty good take it is.

Versatile with food and equally enjoyable on its own… full bodied and full flavoured….just the right amount of spice and sweetness…Very enjoyable. Very Highly Recommended. 

Label notes suggest pouring this naturally carbonated beer into a glass, leaving any natural sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

The Devil's Backbone is a local beauty spot, that changes as the seasons and the sunlight change. ...

Geek Bits

STYLE: Amber / Red

COLOUR: Deep red

HOPS: American/European


Format: 500ML bottle • 440ML can

30L steel keg (domestic) • 30L/20L kev keg (export).\


Weihenstephaner Kristall Weissbier, 5.4% ABV, 500 ml bottle O’Donovan’s

A World Champion - three times in a row. That third accolade set off great scenes of celebration for the German brewer Weihenstephaner as their Kristall Weissbier (bottle version) was declared Gold winner again at this year’s AIBA.

“The subtle banana notes, the refreshing effervescence, and the nobly filtered appearance in the glass completely convinced the jury”. And they convince me also! That golden colour and all those bubbles send an Invitation that is irresistible.

The brewery’s full title is Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan and this is their only top-fermented beer brewed that is not cloudy. The clarity is achieved through filtration.

That clarity is topped with a fine compact foam that stays around as the fountains of bubbles rise. And of course, you notice those banana and clove notes in both the aromas and on the journey through the palate.

Fresh citrus aromas are also evident in the flavour, while the fine bubbles give a pleasing effervescence. Cinnamon and clove on the palate, with a good full mouthfeel. Complex long finish all with that second glass appeal.

By the way, if you haven’t tried wheat beer, this crisp and clean champion is a good one to start with. Disappointing that this was pretty well past its BB date but a tribute to the brewers that it is still in such good nick.



Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, 5.4% ABV, 500 ml bottle Bradleys

It has a light gold colour, hazy, with a fluffy pillowy head. Typical clove aromas and banana flavours. Superb refreshing flavours and a delight on the palate along with an excellent dry finish. 

This well-balanced beer with its light creamy character reminds me of why I so enjoyed wheat beer early on but wheat beers are in a minority in Ireland and you don’t come across them that often. This is a classic indeed. As they say: This premium, naturally cloudy, pale amber wheat beer is truly a feast for the senses. They add: ” …a veritable classic – and the star of our beer ensemble…. It is the ideal reward at the end of a long day.”

This Weihenstephaner,  as is the Kristall, is made according to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Drink at 6-8 degrees. It has a mild IBU count of 14 and they recommend pairing it with Obazda (a Bavarian cheese spread) - I’m sure we could rustle up something similar around here. What we cannot magic up is a brewery as old as Weihenstephaner - they’ve been at it since 1040! Other food pairings noted are with fish and seafood, and especially with the traditional Bavarian veal sausage.

While the Kristall is impressive and has racked up the awards, this is regarded as the star by the brewery. They obviously know their stuff and I’d go with that (not that means leaving Kristall behind). As mentioned earlier, if you are making a start in the wheat beer style, then make the Kristall your first step!

Friday, October 20, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #50. Quite a quartet of craft with Kinnegar, Third Barrell, O'Hara's and Rodenbach.

CorkBillyBeers #50

Craft with Kinnegar, Thired Barrell, O'Hara's and Rodenbach.

Four beauties for you in #50


Kinnegar has a festival beer for you. 

Kinnegar Leaf Kicker 2023 Marzen, 5.9% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

Gorgeous golden/amber colour on this one, a repeat of last year's Leaf Kicker Märzen, one that I enjoyed immensely. And it's the same again in 2023. “You enjoyed it so much in 2022 (and we did too) that we’re giving it another whirl before departing this particular chapter of German lager tradition”, say Kinnegar, meaning that they’ll more than likely move on to another German lager style (festival related no doubt) for 2024.

There’s a lovely bubbly white head atop the gold/amber. It has an almost creamy mouthfeel.  This supple beer leads with its rich malts, along with a sweetish bagel flavour and a touch of caramel. It finishes clean and a little hoppy.

It is deeply refreshing and also well suited to food including BBQ, pizzas and tacos plus a chicken from the rotisserie. A deeply satisfying lager and  Very Highly Recommended.

Geek Bits


STYLE Märzen

COLOUR Dark amber

HOPS German noble

TASTE A deeply satisfying lager.

KNOWN AS Märzen was the original Oktoberfest beer

AVAILABILITY Autumn seasonal

440ML can and keg

BB: 04.05.24 (bouight 25.09.23)

Most of us who have hosted and or attended weddings will no doubt have enjoyed a beer or two. Very few weddings have started a beer trend. But that’s what happened when a royal wedding between Ludwig (the future king) and Therese took place in Bavaria in October 1810. That party was so good and the couple so popular that another party was held the following year and so Octoberfest was established.

By 1819, the festival had become a 2-week event (beer was just one strand), now organised by the city of Munich, and kicked off, as it does now, in mid-September. Marzen was the main style of beer for the festival and its name came from the fact that it was brewed in March to be at its best in Autumn.


Third Barrel Vulture Culture Cold IPA, 6.0% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

Third Barrel: “Clean, crisp and bursting with flavours of ripe tangerine, peach and papaya from a healthy dose of Idaho 7 Cryo and Luminosa hops.”

Rice is also included in the ingredients. The beer is fermented with lager yeast, add in those hops and you get, as promised, a clean refreshing and fruit-forward cold IPA.

From Idaho 7, comes pungent tropical fruit and citrus (think apricot, orange, red grapefruit, papaya) with big notes of resiny pine and hints of black tea.  Here though, we are talking Idaho7 Cryo and that, designed to be aromatic and flavour enhancing,  means you get an even more potent aroma and flavour and also good bitterness.

Add in the contribution from Luminosa and the whole beer is brighter, the tropical side enhanced and you know you’ve got a good thing going.

At least, you've got a good thing going if you know your stuff as well as Third Barrel does! Very Highly Recommended.

Most of us are familiar with the hop cone, used by brewers for centuries. Then along came hop pellets and now we have Cryo, which is so concentrated that they’ve become an essential in a brewer’s toolbox. 

The word Cryo (or similar) pops up a lot these days and you may be familiar with it through medicine (especially sports) where certain injuries can benefit from Cryotherapy Treatments, a kind of ultra-cold immersion. Cryo comes from the old Greek word for cold. 

On to the hops then which, using liquid nitrogen (which your doctor might use to make a wart vanish), the raw hops are quickly chilled to sub-zero temperatures — after that, the producers shatter it. More on the process here .


O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale, 4.3% ABV, 500 ml bottle Dunnes Stores 

The Carlow Brewing crew is quite proud of their red ale: “This Red stands out in this beer style category. The malt body is as impressive as a bock, albeit in a uniquely Irish way. With an incredibly smooth malt body complimented by caramel tones and perfectly balanced in bitterness, this Irish Red is much more complex than its mainstream rivals.”

O’Hara’s has a very dark red robe but that “dense lasting white head” fails to materialise, though I have to add subsequent top-ups did shape up with a coffee-coloured crown. Roasted caramel stands out in the aromatics. And you get that caramel and toffee flavour on the palate as well, thanks to the addition of a “pinch of roast barley during the brewing process”. The sweetness of the malt and traditional hop flavour combine well. A terrific example of the style gets a major thumbs up from this quarter.

Excellent balance and Very Highly Recommended


They say: Visually the red colour is intensified by the finest roast barley, while subtle hop additions in the kettle give just the right bitterness and aroma to craft this distinctive Irish Red Ale. The traditional red ale style is sweet malt based, dominated by caramel malts which give a sweet malt base complimented by nutty flavours in complete contrast to the Belgian Red ale style which has a distinctly sour character attributed to lactic acid.

For the Geek

Style: Traditional Red Ale

ABV: 4.3%

Plato °: 10.75°

IBU: 34 

Fermentation: Top fermentation 

Availability: Keg (carbonated), Bottle 50cl and 33cl (occasional 41L cask)

Serving Temperature: 6-8°C

Food Pairing: Pairs well with baked and roasted main courses from the oven such as beef hotpot. Also excellent with winter soups. A delicious accompaniment to mature cheddar or soft goat cheeses.

Glass: O’Hara’s tulip glass or O’Hara’s conical glass. 

BB: 28.08.24 (bought 20.09.24)


Rodenbach Grand Cru Flanders Red Ale, 6% ABV, 330 ml bottle Bradleys

Brownish red is the colour of our Rodenback Grand Cru Red ale. With a short-lived coffee-coloured head. Aromas are certainly on the sour side. There’s also quite a tang on the palate but also the sweet contribution of delicious fruit flavour. Complex and amazing and a totally different animal to the O’Hara’s Red Ale. 

The sourness in the aromas is repeated on the palate and, if you’re not prepared for it, you might as well throw your hat at it at this stage. Someone here has joked that a citron pressé would be a better drink. But remember, it is “probably the most award-winning beer in the world”. So pay a little heed and a little respect!

Soon, at least for me, that complex fruitiness begins to assert itself, both on the palate and all the way through to the finish and you realise there is much more to this than the obvious sour character. Sour comes up quite often but I’m pretty sure the word doesn’t appear on the label (lots of tiny print though!)

The Rodenbach Grand Cru sour red/brown at 6%, is a blend of 1/3rd young beer and 2/3 of beer aged two years in large oak vats, giving fruity taste, complexity and intensity. It even has its own AOC. It takes over two years to make (even the angel’s share happens here and they know the good things) and the young beer is added to restart fermentation. 

I throw in the odd non-Irish beer, not to be rated, but just for variety and as an example of what can be done by our much more experienced Belgian and German brewers. Perhaps a few of these could be enticed over here for collaborations.

The Rodenbach Grand Cru is the archetypal Flanders red-brown beer. Each of these beers is a unique blend, but they all share a brewing process characteristic of the area surrounding Roeselare and Kortrijk.

The typical sweet and sour taste of a Rodenbach Grand Cru is produced by a two-stage fermentation process called mixed fermentation, involving top-fermentation and bacterial fermentation using lactic acid bacteria. The Rodenbach Grand Cru matures in oak foeders, or barrels, over a period of two years, giving the beer a unique, complex fruitiness that is reminiscent of wine.

Rodenbach, the mother beer, is usually one-quarter mature beer to three-quarters young beer. When it comes to Rodenbach Grand Cru, the blend is two-thirds mature beer with one-third of a young brew added.

By the way, there is a series of these Rodenbachs and do watch out for the Rodenbach Caractère Rouge. It is billed as a red/brown sour and it is sour but also packs amazing fruitiness. The beer is macerated with fresh cherries, raspberries and cranberries and, after that, is matured in oak barrels.

BB: 15.12.25 (bought 25.09.23)

Friday, September 15, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #44. Craft with an excellent quartet from Galway Hooker, Ballykilcavan, Kinnegar and Vedett

CorkBillyBeers #44

Craft with IPA and Pilsner from Galway Hooker, Ballykilcavan, Kinnegar and Vedett


Galway Hooker Sixty Knots IPA, 5.5% ABV, 500 ml bottle Centra Victoria Cross

Amber is the colour of this IPA from Galway Hooker. The earthy malts come through more in the aromatics than the hops and continue to contribute, now adding a touch of spice, on the full-flavoured palate while the hops get their turn with citrus and tropical flavopurs. The finish is certainly bitter but no more so than you'd expect from the style and, overall, Sixty Knots is well-balanced.

Highly Recommended.

A pioneer of the modern craft beer movement, famous for its innovation and quality. Galway Hooker, whose early production was actually in Roscommon, has developed a reputation as one of Ireland’s leading breweries. “Our ethos is to brew natural, full-flavoured, high quality and preservative-free beers. We like to think our beer helps to share the culture in all of us.” 

This IPA with an ABV of 5.5% and an IBU number of 60 certainly fits well in their portfolio. The brewers say it is well suited to seafood, cured meats or dessert dishes and, on Instagram, declare that “Galway Hooker IPA & Oysters are a perfect combination” and a Galway company would certainly know that! It is widely available in cans and bottles and also in kegs and draught.


Ballykilcavan Long Meadow IPA, 5.00% ABV, 440 ml can, Pettitt’s Athy

This IPA from Laois, named after a 300-year-old field on the farm, has a gold colour, with quite a wash of red onboard as well, all under a slightly off-white soft head. 

Aromas are mild, with the malt doing its own sweet thing and the hops, Azacca and Amarillo, contributing tropical and citrus plus a touch of herbal. The flavours are strong and hoppy (tropical and a touch of pine). Smooth with a terrific balance and one to savour.

Very Highly Recommended.

The water and barley also come from the farm and the IBU is 60. Local beer guru Susan Boyle reviewed this in its early days and declared: Ballykilcavan Brewery is a pioneer in Irish farm-to-glass brewing, and Long Meadow IPA is a beer to return to again and again.


Kinnegar Black Bucket Black Rye IPA 6.5% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

This is one of the impressive line-up of core beers at Kinnegar. They call this Brussels Beer Challenge gold medal winner “The bigger, darker brother to our Rustbucket Rye”.

I made my first acquaintance with this in 2018. It is indeed rather special. Looks black in the glass but a closer inspection reveals brown as well; the head is coffee-coloured. Aromas are mostly of the roasted malt (big and rich);  the spice of the rye makes quite an impression on the palate and there’s fruity flavours (tropical mostly) from the hops.

Quite a complex beer, a lot going on in this bucket, but the balance is excellent. an outstanding drop and Very Highly Recommended. The Rustbucket, by the way, is an “old reliable”, and is well into its second decade now. 


Vedett Extra Pilsner, 5.2% ABV, 330 ml bottle Bradleys

A pretty damn good blond premium lager.

Vedett doesn't pull punches: “Got a thirst that can’t be beat? We’ll see about that! Because Vedett Extra Pilsner is brewed to quench even the most stubborn of thirsts. Offering full-bodied refreshment from start to finish.”

Colour is a pretty ordinary straw with a clean white head. There’s a pleasing hoppiness and a slight malty aroma. All fairly modest, so far. And then, its big character, its complexity, its depth of flavour and refreshment emerge on the palate. A superb balance of malts and hops, the lengthy finish and a refreshment touched with a little bitterness spell satisfaction in capital letters. Ready to go again. Yes, please.

Here’s the official version: “After all, who can resist her seductive straw colour and pearly-white head? Her smooth, malty character with subtly balanced hops? Or her lingering fruitiness with subtle notes of vanilla?

Whatever your weakness, this premium Pilsner offers full-bodied, thirst-quenching refreshment from start to finish. With a slightly bitter aftertaste to keep you on your toes.”

Geek Bits

Malt: Pale Barley Malt & rice

Hops & Spices: Saaz-Saaz, Styrian Golding, Hallertau Magnum

Serve: 3 degrees

IBU 26.