Showing posts with label Lough Gill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lough Gill. Show all posts

Friday, October 13, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #48. Craft with Bullhouse, Rascals, Lough Gill and Wicklow Wolf.

CorkBillyBeers #48

Craft with Bullhouse, Rascals, Lough Gill and Wicklow Wolf.

Nothing over 5% ABV in this foursome


Bullhouse Frank The Tank Hazy IPA, 5.0% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

Mosaic makes the difference! 

“The Fruity Hop That Changed Craft Beer.”

Colour of this Belfast-brewed IPA is pale, more or less lemon, and it is indeed hazy, like a foggy night on the docks. Frank seems quite the character and is not shy about promoting itself: "Once it hits your lips, it's so good!” It is that extra pale base “to showcase the aromatic, tropical and stonefruit flavours of our Mosaic DDH”.

No kidding with Frank. It is indeed pretty damn good, packed with just the one hop Mosaic and giving up slightly sweet flavours of tropical fruit and a whole lot of hoppy backbone in a complex mouthfeel. Good refreshing finish also.

Bullhouse is emerging, in this house at least, as a brewery to note and Frank the Tank’s IPA is Very Highly Recommended.

California-based Kegerator, well known in home brewing in the US, say their aim is “To provide beer aficionados with the best selection of dispensers, brewing supplies, and home bar accessories.”

They know their hops. The Mosaic hops that Bullhouse have used here - it is just over 10 years old -  is highlighted by Kegerator who call it “The Fruity Hop Variety That Changed Craft Beer.”

“The hop variety was an instant hit and, according to For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus, the variety gained a reputation even before it was named or fully released onto the craft brewing scene in 2012.

The name Mosaic was given to the variety because of the complex and broad aromas it imparts. This complex profile is backed by a clean bittering, which makes it especially remarkable in single hop ales.”

They confirm that it is as versatile as Bullhouse indicate: “Mosaic hops cover all three corners of hop usage pretty well. A fact that becomes obvious when you see the amount of single-hopped IPAs being churned out with this variety. It could also be used in the aroma and flavour department backed by a clean bittering hop like Magnum or Galena. Because of its fruitiness, Mosaic plays well with other fruity or citrusy hops.”


Rascals Session IPA, 4.4%% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

This Session IPA is one of the brewery’s Outbreak Series,  one of “three seriously classy IPAs, each with a particular inspiration”..…

And this is “blissfully citrus and delightfully tropical”. “At 4.4% we're making it an easy-going beer to be sipped, shared and ideal for any bag-of-cans enthusiast: spruce up your sesh with our Session IPA!”

The colour is pale, more or less lemon, with a slight haze. Sweet tropical fruits (mango, lychee, passion fruit) in the aromas. Flavours are quite complex, a blend of floral, tropical, fruity, and earthy characteristics. But it never gets to cross to the sweet side, the balance provided by the hops’ bittering qualities. 

A small ABV yes but a serious session contender. Nice bit of work from the Rascal brewers.

And they know it! “This beer really benefits from the flavour and aroma intensity of using hop oils in the brew. There’s an instant ‘wow factor’ the minute you get a nose – and mouth – full of what’s on offer. There’s a crisp green grape and ripe lime finish, making our Session IPA a proper hoppy belter.”

Can’t argue with that. Very Highly Recommended.

Hops used were Citra T90, Galaxy and Mosaic.


Lough Gill Shaka Session IPA 3.8% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Midleton

This lemon-coloured IPA comes from the excellent Lough Gill Brewery in Sligo. It is murky, with a soft white head and, at 3.8% ABV, slips comfortably under the session bar. Aromas are moderate, are of the tropical kind and very pleasant. And so it continues on the palate with a smooth citrus flavour and a mouthfeel that “has been amped up with the addition of oats and Dextrin malts”. 

Another well-balanced beer with a refreshing finish and well suited to a session.

Highly Recommended.


Wicklow Wolf Raindrop, 0.5% ABV, 330 ml can No 21 Midleton

“Introducing 'Raindrop 0.5', number 39 in our Endangered Species series. A beer inspired by our Mixed Berry Sour, Raindrop - our brewers were excited to brew a non-alcoholic version of our favourite sour.”

This 0.5% Raindrop comes in an unmissable vibrant red colour. Aromas are fruity, sweetly so. No lessening of the fruit on the palate but here there’s a sour backbone. But it is very refreshing indeed, this mix of jam-packed flavours of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

One of the more interesting non-alcoholic beers on the market and that includes the imports. But, there’s always a but, this is a limited edition, one of Wicklow’s endangered species. Worth a try if you can get your hands on one, or more than one.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #38. Summer of Sours, with Lough Gill and Whiplash

CorkBillyBeers #38

Summer of Sours, with Lough Gill and Whiplash

A few sours for sunny days.

Just before the summer turned sour(-ish), with my usual impeccable timing, I bought a few sours.

There is quite an array of wild sour beers, mostly from Belgium and Germany, and they include Lambic, Gueuze, Kriek, Belgian Red-Brown, Berliner Weisse, Gose and Wild Ale. Most of these use wild yeast and bacteria.

But what we are dealing with here are gathered together under the Modern Fruit and Adjunct Sours banner by beer writer Mark Dredge in his recent Beer (A Tasting Course). “Inspired by desserts and dominated by the flavour of fruits and other ingredients, these beers are often more sweet than sour.”

They are usually low in alcohol and IBU. Mark lists a few top examples and the one you may be able to get your hands on is the Sierra Nevada Wild Little Thing (5.5% ABV). I’ve seen it regularly in Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork. “Drinks like a glass of fresh, low-alcohol rosé wine,” concludes Mark.


Lough Gill Pain & Perfection Pastry Sour 4.0% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

The colour is a murky orange with a very short-lived head indeed. Mango leads the aromatics. With lactose in the mix, I was thinking this might be on the sweet side but, thankfully, the Lough Gill team got the balance pretty much spot on and there’s enough sour coming through to make this that little bit tart and a big bit refreshing. 

Ingredients include Mango, Passionfruit, Guava and Lactose.

Lough Gill tells it as it is: This is the ultimate Tropical Fruit Pastry Sour refreshment for those sunny hot days. Brewed with the addition of lactose sugars & then Triple Fruited with heaps of Mango, Passion Fruit and Guava purée for the right balance in sweetness and sour fruit flavours. The resulting beer is a thick, juicy, fruity exotic brew.

Agree with that, mostly. Wouldn't say it is all that thick! Happy with the overall result though. Highly Recommended.


Whiplash Fruit Salad Days Mango & Lime Sour, 3.8% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

A sour fruited Berliner Weisse is how Whiplash classes this Mango and Lime Sour. 

It looks the part, looks like a large Mango lassi once its white fizzy head quickly fizzes away.  Aromas are richly fruity, not just from the hops but also from the ale yeast. And that fruit fest also continues on the palate, not surprisingly since they have added lots and lots of organic Mango and Lime fruit pureé.

Have to say the Lough Gill Pain & Perfection was much more to my liking. A rare disappointment for me then from Whiplash and now I'm a bit wary about their other recent sour, the Apricot, which is a few cans behind in the queue. Fingers crossed!

Geek Bits

Pilsner Malt

Wheat Malt

Hops are El Dorado (also in whirlpool).

Adjuncts: Mango, Lime


Whiplash Fruit Salad Days Apricot Sour 4.1% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

Whiplash: “We're back with our Berliner Weisses and this time around it is Mango & Lime and Apricot. Each is built on a base of Pilsner and Wheat Malts and the cleanest kettle sour we can manage, and then we absolutely load them up with fruit. There's no denying their flavours upon tasting, they're bursting at the seams!”

On this particular one, they add: Kettle soured Berliner Weisse bursting with apricot purée. A certified summer banger. 

Berliner Weisse? Author Mark Dredge (in Beer. A Tasting Course) says: The “fast sours” are light German-style wheat beers with refreshing acidity, often brewed with added fruits or dry hops.

This apricot effort looks much like its companion, like a large Mango lassi and aromas are, surprise, apricot. Not the deepest sour you’ll come across but enough to at least hint at the possibility of refreshment even if it turns out to be on the shallow side. No knockout here, I’m afraid.

Geek Bits

Pilsner Malt

Wheat Malt




Wednesday, June 14, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #30. Craft Session Time With DOT, McGill's, Lough Gill and Tom Crean.

CorkBillyBeers #30

Craft Session with DOT, McGill's, Lough Gill and Tom Crean.


DOT Brew Spin Off Series Session IPA, 3.2% ABV, 440ml can Aldi

A “tasty dry hop of Centennial & Galaxy” makes its impact in the aromatics in this hazy pale yellow IPA from Dot Brew. It is one of their Spin Off Series which they brew exclusively for Aldi.

Mainly exotic flavours in the mouth as the hops keep it going, yet the body is soft and light and bitterness, while always there, is on the low side. “Perfect all year round drinking” they say and I couldn’t argue with that. It is an easy-drinking East Coast Style, brewed with barley and flaked and malted oats. Suitable for vegans.

Geek Bits

Ingredients: malted barley / pale wheat / flaked & malted oats  /New England style yeast. 

Hops are Centennial (US) and Galaxy (Australia) Suitable for vegans. Exclusive to Aldi.

Very Highly Recommended.


McGill’s Skellig Monk Irish Blonde 4.5% ABV, 500ml bottle Centra Waterville

Golden or blonde ale is easy to like. Its golden colour and fountains of rapidly rising bubbles is attractive. Easy on the eye. Like this one by McGill, easy on the palate too with a good balance of hops and malt. Bread and biscuit flavours and a subtle malt sweetness make it easy drinking.

Our Skellig Monk Irish Blonde is spot on style, is balanced, light, rounded and smooth, with those bread-like malt flavours and citrusy hops and a subtle malty sweetness. As is usual for the style, the finish is not the longest. An excellent accessible beer to try, especially if you are starting off on your craft trail.

Monks have long been associated with beer making. The beer is named for the monks who lived on Sceilig Mhichíl, the larger of the two Skellig Islands, 12 kilometres off the Iveragh Peninsula in Kerry. Monks founded a monastery on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century and it remained continuously occupied until it was abandoned in the late 12th century.

Joe McGill suggests matching his blonde with lighter food: such as chicken, salads, salmon, bratwurst, white fish and Monterey Jack Cheese. Sweet tooth? No bother. Joe says try it with Light apricot or mandarin cake, lemon custard tart.

While the Skellig monks may have had beer, I don’t think they enjoyed that kind of diet!

Serving temperature should be in the 4.5–7 ° degrees range. 

Highly Recommended


Lough Gill Cutback New England IPA, 4.5%, 440ml can Bradleys

“Our Cutback Session IPA was developed as the perfect post-surf, summer-BBQ ale with a lightly tropical flavour to put you in mind of warm weather and…if you can’t visit Sligo, let us bring Sligo to you!” That was how Lough Gill introduced their Cutback New England IPA.

It comes in a light, hazy orange/yellow colour with soft foamy head.  With the hops involved, you are expecting tropical and citrus. And they are there but so too is a reasonably stern bitterness that somewhat tames the flavour or perhaps I should say, balances them. For this is a very drinkable NEIPA from the Sligo brewery and, with an ABV of 4.5%, a very sessional one as well.

The hops used are Comet, Azacca and El Dorado, all American as you might expect.

There is rarely any shortage of ideas for brews at Lough Gill. They explain: We are very fortunate to have such a diverse and dynamic team of dedicated staff at our brewery. It is this diversity that gives us a competitive edge. Each morning in Cleveragh, we're greeted with hello's in various languages. Aside from our fellow Sligonians, we have an Italian head brewer, an Argentinian brewer, and our head of sales is French.”

“When drawing up concepts for new beers, we develop different ideas from across the table. The styles are very different in each country. Argentina prefers well-made traditional old school beers. France is following more after the US scene with modern styles, and Italians have been influenced by Belgian styles and enjoy strong beers. It makes for a good mix. We want to brew the best hand-crafted beers using the finest ingredients and, where possible, to add some local indigenous ingredients to the brews.

Highly Recommended.


Tom Crean Scurvy Dog IPA 4.2%, 440 can Carry Out Killarney

Lovely gold colour, soft white head, plenty of bubbles rising. That’s what you see when you pour this low ABV IPA from Tom Crean. 

Scurvy is a disease caused by a significant lack of vitamin C in your diet. Not a name I’d be inclined to give a beer though I understand the mariner connection in that scurvy was a curse for sailors on long voyages in times long past, in Tom Crean’s time I’d say.

The white head has more or less vanished having typed up that first paragraph. Sipping the beer itself now which has citrus aromas,  is crisp and light and very refreshing indeed. 

Highly Recommended and a good fit for the Session category.

If you prefer a hoppier beer, then the Whiplash Rollover (3.8% ABV) is well worth checking out.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #26. Craft Beer Fruit and Nut. And Honey. With Galway Hooker, Clancy's Cans, Lough Gill and Bacchus

CorkBillyBeers #26

Craft Beer Fruit and Nut. And Honey. With Galway Hooker, Clancy's Cans, Lough Gill and Bacchus


Galway Hooker Honey Beer, 5.3% ABV, 500ml bottle

This Galway Hooker Honey Beer comes in an amber colour with a slightly off-white head, a soft one. The aromas are more like those of a lager, grassy and floral and just a little hint of honey. The honey does come in a wee bit stronger on the palate, adding a little sweetness but nothing over the top. Well balanced overall and quite a crisp refreshing finish.

This unique beer is a collaboration between the brewery and locally based Leahy Beekeeping “to bring you a special taste of the West of Ireland.” And it certainly does.

By the way, the ABV is given as 4.1% on the website but it is 5.3% on the bottle. IBU is 25.

No matter the figures, this is an excellent beer and is Very Highly Recommended. Indeed, I think you may like it whether you like honey or not! And a big thank you to Dermott of the Pantry and Corkscrew Restaurant in Westport for introducing me to this one!


"Both lagers and ales can be brewed with honey. Some brewers will choose to experiment with ingredients, while others will add honey to traditional styles. Overall the character of honey should be evident but not totally overwhelming. A wide variety of honey beers are available. U.S. brewers may add honey to the boil kettle (as a sugar source) or post-boil (to preserve more volatile aromatics)."


Clancy's Cans #11 Maple & Pecan Brown Ale, 7.5% ABV, 440ml can CraftCentral

Surprise, surprise. This brown ale pours into the glass and it is brown, though you might see the odd “flash” of ruby. The head is a bubbly one with a tan shade. A mild chocolate, mild caramel too and a toasty touch feature in the initial aromatics and get stronger on the palate along with a fleeting in and out sweet input from the roasted pecans (not so much from the syrup). Quite complex and long-lasting on the finish. That fresh sweet-sour taste is, the producers say, typical for this type of beer.

And you come across that too in Ballykilcavan's highly regarded Bambrick's Brown Ale. This is, after all, the Export strength version of Bambrick’s. 

Highly Recommended.

Oddly enough, I’ve scoured the Ballykilcavan site for a mention of Clancy’s Cans but nary a sign. Why? I wonder. The label comes to the rescue with some info: “a limited edition series of cans.  We’ve called them Clancy’s Cans, in recognition of the five generations of the Clancy family who have worked and continue to work on the farm."

The label sums it up: “Dark chocolate and burnt toffee meets sweet nutty sweetness.” And advises to enjoy it between 7 and 11 degrees.

Yes, Maple essence and Pecans are included in the ingredients list.

It has much the same ABV as Old Brown, a dark beer from Mayo’s Mescan with a mild sourness, of the type that has been brewed in West Flanders since the 17th century. Enjoyed one of those a month or so back in that superb Westport restaurant The Pantry and Corkscrew. The Mescan, which is matured in oak barrels for more than two years, is somewhat ahead of this one.


Lough Gill Macadamia Nut Brown Ale, 5.5%, 440ml can Bradleys

Lough Gill emphasise that “This Brown Ale is brewed with real Macadamia nuts, roasted in our own kitchen, along with top quality malts and hops for a rich nutty flavour and luxurious dark brown colour.”

It has been around for a while and is definitely a favourite here. Colour is a rich dark brown with hints of red leaking through occasionally. Aromas are from the roasted nuts, mostly. And lead to a decadent sweet and roasty flavour on the luxurious palate and note that outstandingly smooth texture. No need to change my opinion on this one, a winner every single time.

Very Highly Recommended.

Attention to detail has paid off for Lough Gill. “Things were getting a bit squirrely over here; it must be the trays upon trays of macadamia nuts we hand-roasted for this beer. Some would say we’ve gone nuts – but taking our time over each and every step is part of what makes every one of our craft brews unique.”


Bacchus Kriekenbier (Cherry Beer), 5.8% ABV, 330 ml can Bradleys

Looking for a refreshing fruit beer? This is one.

Cheery cherry beers are quite the thing in Belgium. This one comes in a dark robe but there’s a red glow off it. The off-white head doesn’t stay around for long. No mistaking the cherries in the aromas or on the palate either. In the mouth though there is quite a bit of tart acidity which results in a sweet and sour taste. Quite a thirst quencher! Serve at about 5 degrees.

The name tells you this is a beer with cherries. And the ingredients list names cherry juice, cherries, and cherry flavour.

They say: The basis for this surprising cherry beer is Bacchus Vlaams Oud Bruin (Bacchus Flemish Old Brown). During the brewing process, the brewer adds roasted malts to this Flemish red-brown beer. By the way, we enjoyed a bottle of that Old Brown recently 

Some Other Belgian Krieks:




Kriek De Ranke;

Cantillon Kriek;

Mort Subite Kriek;

Floris Kriek;

Boon Kriek