Showing posts with label Pale Ale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pale Ale. Show all posts

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Few Beer Classics. Four of the Best

A Few Beer Classics

Four of the Best

St Bernardus Abt 12, 10% abv, 33 cl bottle €4.50 Bradley’s of Cork

This extra strong Belgian barley wine style beer has a large creamy head; colour is golden brown and there are fruity and hoppy elements in the aromas. It is complex and full-bodied, packed with flavour and then a long finish with a hoppy bite. Well balanced overall and no wonder they call it “the pride of our stable”.

Indeed, this quadrupel is regarded as one of the best beers in the world. In the Belgian scheme of beer, quadrupel indicates it is stronger than a tripel, which is stronger than a dubbel. One for sipping then, but each sip packs a beautiful punch. 

St Bernardus, by the way, run a B&B in the brewery. Now that, combined with a tour and tasting, would be some visit. In addition, “B&B Het Brouwershuis is a place to enjoy a gastronomic breakfast buffet, to take the time for a chat and to make use of the unlimited possibilities to explore the region”. Check it out here.  

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA, 5.95%, 33 cl bottle, €3.50, Bradley’s of Cork

The complexity of this multi award winning American style IPA is down to no less than the six hops used: Chinook, Centennial, Ahtanum, Simcoe, Columbus and Cascade. Thornbridge, based in Derby, are regarded by many as Britain’s leading 21st century brewery.

It wears this complexity lightly though and you’ll have no problem sipping your way through this beauty from the UK brewery. It has a fairly cloudy pale yellow colour and hoppy aromas. Smooth on the palate, hoppy, citrus notes too, and a beautiful balance all the way to hoppy finish. Not too much more to say except that this is more or less the perfect IPA. Not surprised that the award tally worldwide has soared to over the one hundred mark.

Saison Dupont (Belgium) 6.5%, €2.95 33cl bottle Bradley’s Cork

Beer has been brewed here for centuries but it is only in the last 20 years or so that the Dupont Brewery has become a global reference for saison. As Michael Creedon of Bradley’s told me “if you don’t like this, you don’t like saison”.

It is a cloudy mid-amber, 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 to the forefront.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 5.6abv, 355ml can at Bradley’s of Cork

This 100% whole-cone Cascade hops beer, with its piney and grapefruit aromas, is a classic, all natural, bottle conditioned and refreshingly bold. And still going strong after 35 years.

Bitterness comes in at 38 and suggested food pairings are grilled steak, citrus salad, Thai curry and roasted veg.

So what does this “turning point for American beer” taste like? Well, it looks like hazy amber in the glass and smells like its well hopped, pine notes coming through. By the time I had written that, the frail white head had more or less vanished. Time for the first sip which was superb, hops and fruit, a terrific mouthful. No wonder it has become a classic, setting the standard for start-up breweries across the world. Viva Nevada!

Just noticed that this Pale Ale has been voted No. 1 in Food & Wine's 25 Most Important American Craft Beers Ever. See the full list here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Beer, Whiskey and Music, Music! Brewer Shane revisits the Whiskey Well

Beer, Whiskey and Music, Music!
Brewer Shane revisits the Whiskey Well
Shane Long (left) and Dave Quinn.
The new Franciscan Well Jameson Aged Pale Ale was launched during a lively evening in the Oliver Plunkett, Cork. Tuesday night’s event saw the new beer make its bow in the presence of Jameson whiskey, good company, and music upstairs and downstairs.

You may not hear it much nowadays but back in the day, “a pint and a drop” was a regular order in Irish public houses. But that pint (it could have been any of the stouts) and that drop (unless specified, could have been Paddy, Powers or whatever bottle was already open).

This new pairing though “is a specific pairing” according to the Franciscan Well’s Shane Long who went on to say that the ale’s bitterness had to be “toned down to accommodate the whiskey. This is not any old whiskey and beer”.
“The first batch of the ale won an international award and this second batch is even better”, said Shane who also revealed that the beer went into casks at 4% abv and came out with a 6% rating, hence the smaller bottle size (33cl). By the way, the casks (which had been used twice for whiskey) are now back in the distillery and are filled again with whiskey. “Watch this space!” we were told. And do watch out too for the famous Jameson Stout from the Well as that will be available again before Christmas.

Dave Quinn, Irish Distillers Master of Whiskey Science, filled us on on some of the technical details of the collaboration between the distillery and the brewery and went to describe the well-known well-loved whiskey. “Jameson is a complex whiskey but smooth and easy to drink with fruit, spice and floral characteristics. It is not smokey.”

The new beer is described as having biscuit and malt notes “with a hint of gooseberry fruity tartness, balanced by citrusy hop bitterness, and a smooth whiskey oak finish”. It is excellent on its own.
The Pairing.

But it reaches another level when “paired” with the whiskey. Take a sip of the Jameson and enjoy! Then follow with a sip of beer and you’ll appreciate an enhanced experience. The bitter hops of the pale ale are in perfect balance with the sweetness of the whiskey. And the combination leads to a smooth mellow finish. Time maybe to revive the pint and drop. Perhaps a glass and a drop!
The fun continued with Master Cooper Ger Buckley from Irish Distillers dismantling and reassembling a whiskey cask in the impressive Frisky Irish Whiskey room of the Oliver Plunkett and we had our own band upstairs. As live music played, I tried some of the other Franciscan Well beers on offer, starting with Friar Weisse (an old favourite of mine) and moving on to the excellent Chieftain IPA.

And it wasn't all drink. We had some nibbles at the start but the bar’s chef then treated us to some more substantial examples of his kitchen’s skills later on. Very good (especially that absolutely delicious slow cooked Beef Cheek pie) and very much appreciated. Finished the beer downstairs entertained by terrific traditional musicians and some energetic dancers! A lively pub, music every night of the week, and one to re-visit!

* The new beer is available across Cork’s Whiskey Way bars where the staff are trained to educate punters about beer and whiskey pairing. Those bars are: Canty’s, Counihan’s, Electric, Le Chateau, SoHo Bar, The Mutton Lane Inn, The Oliver Plunkett, The Oval, The Roundy and The Woodford.