Showing posts with label Torc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Torc. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #36. Craft Lager with Torc, Hope, Third Barrel and Rothaus

CorkBillyBeers #36

Craft Lager with Torc, Hope, Third Barrel and Rothaus


Third Barrel Stop the Clocks Pilsner Lager, 4.8% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

“Our take on a traditional pilsner. This clean crisp and refreshing lager is brewed with Irish Malt and hopped with a hefty dose of German Saaz.” That’s the intro from Third Barrel.

The colour is bright gold with a soft foamy white head, and lots of bubbles rising. Floral and citrus notes in the aromas. And it is crisp and clean on the creamy palate where the famous Saaz hops (a noble variety) give it mild pleasant hoppy notes of hay and herbal. Easy drinking and seriously refreshing. As Third Barrel themselves say: “Nothing says summer like a good glass of Pils in the sun.” And this Stop the Clocks says it as well as any lager and better than many.

Very Highly Recommended.

Saaz, with its distinctive and classic aroma, is well known for its use in middle European lagers. And it also has a long association with Stella Artois


Torc White Tail Kerry Lager 4.5% ABV, 500 ml bottle Carry Out Killarney

“Sure to suit all palates, our classic style smooth Lager is brewed using Irish Pale Ale Malt and speciality German Carapils Malt.” That’s the confident introduction to their White Tail Lager by the folks of Kerry’s Torc Brewing.

It has a lovely gold colour and fountains of rising bubbles, rising though a thin film of haziness (it is unfiltered). The aromatics are a little on the shy side, with light caramel and biscuity notes. And there’s a hint of caramel and sweet biscuit also as it hits the palate and immediately a cleansing tide of refreshment. Excellent balance here and a good dry finish.

Torc says it pairs beautifully with seafood, pasta, pizzas, curries, burgers and salads.

Highly Recommended

The lager is named after the White-Tailed Eagle which was reintroduced into the Killarney National Park in 2007, having become extinct in the late 19th century. Before going extinct this magnificent bird of prey called Killarney its home, and returning this species to Irish skies is a significant step in restoring our natural heritage.

Geek Bits

SRM: 3.1 • 

IBU: 13.5 •

ABV: 4.5%.
Style: Lager •

Released: 2022


Hope Munich Helles Limited Edition No 27 5.3% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Coburg St

Enjoy it in the garden, or with salty pretzels and bratwurst. That’s the advice from Hope. Amber is the colour of their Munich Helles Lager, with a soft white head and bubbles by the zillion. 

Helles is one of Munich’s popular lagers (another is the darker Dunkel), bright and light with a crisp finish. Quite a crisp and refreshing finish here also, even though the body is richer than usual and there’s an almost creamy mouthfeel. 

The malts certainly have an edge and no surprise since Hope tells us that their Helles “holds back on hops and bitterness to allow the sweet and full bready flavours of malt take centre stage”. 

This Munich-style Helles Lager nonetheless has a noticeable hop presence from the traditional German Hallertau used in the kettle and the whirlpool, which lend this lager subtle herbal and floral aromas.

Although the balance falls slightly on the malty side, the rich body and full mouthfeel do not inhibit this beer's drinkability, and the finish is soft and crisp. Enjoy it in the garden, or with those salty pretzels and bratwurst. Should also pair well with salads, shrimp, or fish.

By the way, would you like to see how this lager is made? Hope would love to you to join them “for the best micro-brewery tour in Dublin! Our brewery tours take place in our state-of-the-art German brewery in North Dublin where all aspects of the brewing process will be covered on the tour and will take approximately 25 minutes. Then the really fun part! You’ll enjoy a beer tasting of our core range of craft beers while enjoying a great view of the brewery floor.” More details here 

Very Highly Recommended.

I had an interesting head-to-head between this Hope and the To Øl  45 Days Mexican (in bottle). The verdict is very much in favour of Hope, a clear winner over the Danish effort in flavour and finish.

Helles is just one of a long list of German lagers (with no shortage of variations).

Perhaps the best-known are:




Dortmunder Export Lager,




Munich Dunkel

And a few more, including Rauchbier (smoked).



Rothaus Märzen 5.6% ABV, 500ml bottle Bradleys

Traditionally brewed during the winter, Rothaus Märzen is a seasonal favourite now enjoyed all year round by German beer lovers. 

Give this German a robust pour and you’ll get a decent white head that hangs around for a spell. The important bit comes after that, the glowing gold body and the zillions of micro-bubbles in the ever-rising fountains. Herbal notes crowd the aromas, nothing too intense. The smooth body is more malt (rich and bready) while the German hops yield a modest bitterness. Still, this is quite a balanced soft-textured beer, supremely drinkable, with a very clean finish, and an enjoyable companion at either lunch or dinner. Or even better in a crowded noisy beer hall.

It is a full-bodied, luscious beer with the unique barley malt from southern Germany bolstering its character. Fresh brewing water as well as the famous hops from Tettnang and the Hallertau make the taste experience more or less perfect. So well done to the Rothaus master brewers who have produced a top-class beer that has been a favourite for centuries.

So where did Marzen come from? Beers of this type of brewing are traditionally more heavily brewed, as brewing was only allowed in the months from September to April. A beer with a longer shelf life was thus produced in March, which survived the five months and was produced just in time for Octoberfest.

According to the Beer Connoisseur, the Märzen style is a malty, amber, European-style lager that can trace the roots of its modern variants all the way back to 1841, when Spaten created the first recipe for the style. Märzen become the official beer of Munich’s Oktoberfest in 1872, a tradition that lasted over 100 years when it was replaced by the lighter-bodied, golden-coloured Festbier in the 1990 Oktoberfest. Yet many Oktoberfest beers are still technically Märzens.

As you possibly know, I go almost exclusively for Irish beer. But it is always good to see what else is out there and this Rothaus is a worthwhile detour. Another, according to Jeff Alworth in The Beer Bible, is the Paulaner Oktoberfest “that billows clouds of the stuff (fluffy heads!). “the beer itself is toasty, almost a little plummy, and sprinkled with palate-cleansing cedary hops.”

You can talk forever about malt and hops and ingredients but one that Aldworth highlights is called “rasa” a sense of celebration. “Marzens are infused with the spirit of festgoing….both the result and cause of merriment…drunk at a time when people are still hanging on to the relaxed mood of summer.” Hadn’t thought of that kind of ” ingredient”.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #19. Craft IPA with 9 White Deer, Hope, Ballykilcavan and Torc

CorkBillyBeers #19

Craft IPA with 9 White Deer, Hope, Ballykilcavan and Torc


9 White Deer Stag IPA 5.00% ABV, 500ml bottle

I know it comes with a red/orange label but wasn’t really expecting this Stag IPA to have such a deep red/orange colour, with a slightly off-white head. 

You’ll get fruit and floral notes in the aromas but malt is quite a factor also. Really big flavours on the palate. Very supple, quite a heavyweight actually, with a well balanced aspect, even if hops have the edge in the final stretch. After all, the sub-title on the front label indicates this is a hoppy pale ale and so it is. A very good American style IPA at that.

They say: A Classic IPA, using vast quantities of new age hops, this gluten free IPA is full of flavour. Hop usage is late in the boil which gives big flavours and aroma without big bitterness. IPAs never serviced the gluten free market but that is now changed, and what a beer to change it with. A well balanced quaffable IPA bursting with flavour and aroma.

By the way, 9 White Deer take that little bit longer to mature all their beers. Feel the labels in bottles and even here, you get the “premierisation” effect. And I think you also get it in spades when you taste these well-made beers from Ballyvourney. No rush in this brewery. “We create superior brews by being respectful to our ingredients and maturing process, which results in exceptional beers that are also gluten free.” Their dedication and patience pays off in beers like this IPA.

Very Highly Recommended

Recent post on 9 White Deer here


Hope Limited Edition No. 28 Double Rye IPA 8.5%, 400ml can

This big Rye IPA comes in an attractive amber/orange colour and is quite hazy. The spice of the Rye and the citrus of the Centennial feature in the aromas. And you also meet them on the palate where the interaction is absolutely outstanding. Very impressive.

Hope brewers balanced the strong influence of the malted rye firstly by “a mountain of Centennial, the classic American citrus hop, which we use in the kettle, whirlpool, and in two dry hop additions”.

They also used CryoPop, a new product from Yakima Chief, that

blends various Cryo Hops.

“The result,” they say, “is a huge IPA, which combines the spicy malt flavours of Rye, with the orange and grapefruit flavours of Centennial, all lifted by the tropical fruit flavours of Cryo-Pop hops”. Well worth checking out. 

But take your time and enjoy this a sip at a time as it is very easy-drinking for a beer that packs an 8.5% ABV. You’ll find that a sip of this excellent beer will also go a long way, so why hurry?

Geek Bits

Serving Temperature: 8-10 degrees

Bitterness: 70 IBU

Alcohol: 8.5%

Colour: 18.5 EBC

Very Highly Recommended

Recent post on Ballykilcavan here


Ballykilcavan Long Meadow IPA, 5.0% ABV, 440ml can CraftCentral

This IPA from Laois, named after a 300 years 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. The malt plays a role in the aromatics with the hops, Azacca and Amarillo, contributing tropical and citrus. The palate is well loaded with the tropical fruit flavours, and there’s a hint of pith in its pleasingly bitterness. Again, the biscuity malt anchors it all well and the balance is good. The finish to this Long Meadow ale is quite satisfactory indeed.

By the way, if you'd like to visit the farm and have a look at the brewery, they'd love to show you around. “You'll hear the family stories from the more than 380 years that we've been at Ballykilcavan, and see the 18th century farmyard behind the brewery. Weather permitting, we'll bring you to the old stable yard, the champion black walnut tree of Ireland and the remains of the walled garden. Then we'll bring you into the brewery itself to find out how we make our beers.” Check the website here. 

Highly Recommended


Torc Kingdom IPA, 5.0% ABV, 500ml bottle, Carry Out Killarney (Muckross Rd)

Torc Brewing has been brewing and delivering local Irish craft beer to the people of Killarney since 2014. This is their “smooth and full bodied Indian Pale Ale. Made with Irish malted barley and balanced with European hops for a traditional style IPA.”

One thing struck me though as I looked at the list of ingredients. Traditional, or any other, IPA that I’ve come across doesn’t include lactose and sugar in the ingredients as this one does. The other ingredients by the way are more usual: Wheat, Barley, Hops, Yeast, and Water.

It has a hazy pale gold colour and a short-lived white head. Hops are not overly prominent though there seems some citrus (grapefruit) about on the palate as well as sweetness. Decent enough body and satisfactory finish. Torc’s traditional style seems to be a toned down sweeter version of the modern American IPA.



Sunday, April 2, 2023

Killarney's Victoria Hotel. A comfortable and convenient location on the Ring of Kerry.

 Killarney's Victoria Hotel. A comfortable and convenient location on the Ring of Kerry

Victoria Hotel on a March morning

Killarney’s Victoria Hotel, on the Muckross Road, is a comfortable and well situated base for a short break in Kerry. It is on the Ring of Kerry and the National Park is just a short stroll away.

We were immediately struck by the warmth of the welcome at the reception, later in the dining room and also in the breakfast room. The fact that this 33-bed hotel, owned by the Courtneys, has separate dining rooms indicate their focus on space and comfort.

Cashel Blue included in breakfast platter of cheese and charcuterie

Breakfast is excellent here and you won’t have to leave your seat. No buffet. Everything, including juices and breads and cereals is brought to your table. You just indicate your preferences sit back and enjoy. Quite a menu as well. We can recommend the pancakes, the Full irish (or variants thereof), and the Charcuterie and Irish cheese plate.

The Ivy Restaurant at Killarney’s Victoria Hotel is a splendid place to dine. Again, here’s a high degree of comfort and space, a friendly and courteous team, and the food (not to mention the drink) doesn’t disappoint either. We had dinner there and can give it a big thumbs up! More details here. 

On another night, we had dinner at the relatively new Harrow Restaurant on the town’s High Street, another splendid and comfortable establishment with a very high standard of service and cooking. Read all about it here.

Slea Head

We spent a brilliant day on the road with the main focus on Dingle and the surrounding coast, including the spectacular Slea Head. It was mid-March and the weather was mixed but our hours on the coast and in the town were enhanced by the sunshine even the winds blew hard.

Torc Waterfall, mins from hotel
A few months back, we came across a magnificent sea salt made by a small enterprise called West of Dingle. It is usually stocked by the well-known Little Cheese Shop in Green Street but they had run out. We were directed to the Health Food Shop on Main Street and here we were able to stock up.

Local brew in hotel
We were looking for a mini-snack ourselves (enough after that big breakfast in the Victoria) and called into Seed & Soul and my highlight here was their Gingerbread Latte. Not a great Latte man normally but I certainly enjoyed this one.

Great to see well-known places such as Dick Mac’s (lively lunchtime buzz there) as we strolled around. It may have been cool but that didn’t stop the punters piling into Murphy’s Ice Cream. Passing Ireland’s smallest shop, McCarthy’s Crepes, and a sign outside Bob Griffin’s Bar telling us that Soup of the Day was Guinness, raised a smile.

Since I was in Kerry I was keen to get my hands on some local craft beer, especially those that wouldn’t be readily available in Cork. And I found quite a treasure trove of craft a few minutes from the hotel. The Carry Out at the town end of the road down to Ross Castle had a huge selection including some from my own local the Cotton Ball. They also bottles from four Kerry brewers: Tom Crean, Torc, West Kerry and Killarney Brewery. Filled a big box there!

Just across the road from the off licence, a couple from Argentina run Tango, a café and bakery, with an interesting South American and European menu. Didn't have time to call on this trip but noted it. Another to check, nearby, out is Luna, a wine bar stocking some excellent natural wines.

The hotel and Harrow both serve local beers but if you want a large selection on draught then the best place to visit would the Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder in the town centre. They do some very tasty food there as well.

I didn’t get to visit the new facility of the Killarney Brewing and Distillery Company out in Fossa on this visit but that was remedied on w/ending March 31st - I'll have a post up soon. Cheers!

On this trip:

Dinner at The Ivy in Killarney

Dining at The Harrow Killarney

Coming Soon

Sneem Hotel DBB

Brehon Lunch

Lunch at Killarney Distillery and Brewery in Fossa.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

36 hours in Killarney: Local Brews - Torc - Reidy’s Pub - Noelle’s Retro Cafe. Much more.

36 hours in Killarney 

Killarney Brewery - Torc Mountain - Reidy’s Pub - Noelle’s Retro Cafe. And more to see and do.

The Killarney Brewing Company has certainly made headway since it started a few years back, its products available in many of the local pubs and hotels. You’ll find it on the Muckross Road, less than a ten minute walk from the Main Street. 

There is a spacious bar here and there was a quite a good crowd in, many of them overseas visitors, when we called during a recent wet Thursday afternoon. Tours are available but you are also welcome to sit down and have a drink. Pizzas are also on offer and sixteen euro will bag you a pizza and a pint.

Torc Waterfall
We shared a paddle. A glass, somewhat less than a half pint, of their Red Ale, their IPA and the Extra Stout, costs a reasonable seven euro. 

In the nod to the local wildlife, the red ale goes under the moniker Rutting Red. Their take on an American style IPA is called the Scarlett Pimpernel in honour of local hero Fr Hugh O’Flaherty  - you’ll see his statue and read all about him at his memorial alongside the Plaza Hotel by the entrance to the park.

But it was the Casey Brothers Extra Stout (6% abv) that got our vote and we promptly ordered more of that. With some of the famous Flahavan’s Oats included, it is a smooth customer with an Espresso finish. Highly Recommended. 

It is named after the Casey brothers from County Kerry who had huge success as rowers away back in the 1930s. The most famous, Steve (“Crusher”),  was undefeated World Wrestling champion from 1938 through 1947. Extra indeed! But don't worry. Treat this smooth stout with the respect it deserves and you’ll go the distance too.

In Killarney on a wet day? Well, you may visit the big houses, Muckross and Killarney, and the brewery and more. Another good place to go to, certainly early in the year, is Torc Waterfall, as the flow will be at its very best. Despite the odd heavy drop finding its way down the back of my neck, I very much enjoyed the visit up the steps, past the lichen covered trees and into the soft mist of the falls. 

On a good day, you could follow the Old Killarney Kenmare Road and then follow the walk up Torc Mountain  . The views of Killarney and its lakes are stupendous. Well worth the effort.

Big Houses. Small Houses.

Fr O'Flaherty - the Scarlett Pimpernel
On the tours of the big houses, Muckross and Killarney, you’ll always here about the owners, the landlords, their families always named. But the tenants, labourers and servants are not. The big names may be gone from Killarney, but the families from the small houses, the cottages and gate-lodges, are still going strong, many of them involved in the care of the National Park, its flora and fauna. 

Indeed, they have quite a sense of belonging and duty. As Walter Ryan Purcell, a Regional Tourist guide, told me during the visit, they “get the park” and are always alert for anything, a zip-line for instance, that might harm the nature of the park. Why not remember them the next time a building is renovated.

I had linked up with Walter for a coffee at the amazing John M Reidy's  on Main Street, Killarney. The entrance(s) are confusing. Is it a bakery, a general merchant, a sweet shop? Basically, at least since its “second coming” late last year, it is a pub cum cafe. Loads of nooks and crannies, lots of memorabilia, outdoor areas too (a great place to be when the music plays in the evening), outdoor areas that can be screened off from the cool and the rain by substantial awnings.

Already it is drawing in some big names - musician Niall Horan chilled here recently. Killarney has always drawn big names, especially those of the film world who were regular visitors to the big houses such as Killarney House. Even that very evening, ex Taoiseach Bertie Aherne had the table next to us in The Brehon’s Danú Restaurant.

After Reidy’s, Walter took us down a narrow lane (almost directly opposite) to see Noelle’s Retro Café. She has an old bike parked outside. It is not as sprawling as Reidy's but again, there are quite a few rooms here, more than you'd expect and one at least is given over to the vinyl era. 

Boxes and shelves of long-playing records in abundance and indeed you may play them here on a turntable. Someone did point out that ear-phones are also available. Pretty good coffee here and pastry is also available.  This quirky Retro Cafe serves Breakfast, Brunch, Coffee, Teas, Homemade Pastries, Smoothies and is open seven days a week (9.00 to 6.00).

Walter, by the way, told me that the lovely Deenagh Lodge (where we met him and his lovely team last November) is due to have its seasonal reopening at the Easter Weekend.
Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms
Dine and smile: Deenagh Lodge

Crag Cave: 
Visiting Killarney's Big Houses