Showing posts with label Western Herd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Western Herd. Show all posts

Monday, April 29, 2024

On the craft trail with Mescan, Western Herd and Bullhouse.

On the craft trail with Mescan, Western Herd and Bullhouse


Western Herd Blue Jumper IPA, 6.2% ABV, 440 ml can

The bright amber colour and all those little bubbles of this Western Herd IPA is quite a come-on. The beer’s name is apparently a Father Ted reference: “Do you remember when you were drinking Blue Jumper?”

There’s a citrus and tropical fruit presence in the aromatics, plus a hint of pine and resin, even a little dankness as well. And that vibrant hoppy edge continues all the way. After all, as the brewery indicates, India Pale Ale, or IPA is a bigger, hoppier version of a pale ale. 

This one certainly

Thursday, February 29, 2024

A NoteworthyTrio from Western Herd Brewery: Porter, Pilsner and Witbier

NoteworthyTrio from Western Herd

Porter, Pilsner and Witbier

Western Herd Turlough Porter, 4% ABV, 440 ml can.

Our Western Herd Turlough looks like a porter. Black as a December night in the Burren. The soft head has a slight coffee colour. Aromas are modestly floral. The hops though come through and take over on the palate with a chocolate twist, nothing too much though as there’s a good balance here, making the dry porter, with its smooth mouthfee l, easy to drink, before a crisp and satisfying finish.

Pretty much the perfect porter and Very Highly Recommended

Geek Bits


Dark ruby/black with a creamy head

Slight coffee and chocolate

Vanilla, coffee, chocolate, creamy and smooth mouthfeel

Willamette, Cascade

Pale, White Wheat, Caramunich III, CaraPils, Carafa I, Carafa III




The porter is named after the disappearing lakes of the limestone region of the Burren, “a uniquely Irish experience”.

Western Herd Back Beat Witbier, 5.0% ABV, 440 ml can

Our fruity herbal “witbier” from County Clare has a pale gold body and a soft white top. Perle and Saaz are the hops used, malts are Pale, Unmalted Wheat, and Torrified Wheat. A larger proportion of wheat as against barley gives the beer its character and name. The water is from their farm and the yeast is WB-06. I've tried a wide selection of beers by Western Herd over the past couple of weeks and this may be my favourite.

Witbier is almost always brewed with added spice or flavouring; here the brewers have chosen fresh orange peel and coriander and that comes through, in a balanced way, in both the aromas and flavours. And the finish is clean and crisp with a lingering aftertaste, again with citrus and coriander featuring. Clove is another regular in this type of beer and it too is here.

This Belgian-style Witbier is nicely balanced, well-produced and  Highly Recommended.

Loop Head on a foggy day.

Western Herd Loop Head Pilsner, 4.5% ABV, 440 ml can

My Loop Head Pilsner by Western Herd is a bit on the “foggy” side, not unlike the head itself on a bad day. Later, I declare myself happy with this pretty serious Pilsner. So if you’re toasting County Clare, put a Western Herd Pilsner in your glass and enjoy.

Plenty of bubbles rising through the murky light gold to a quickly thinning head. Yeast and malt on the slightly sour nose for sure. After that, the anticipated crisp clean Pilsner style comes through and we’ve got a central European lager to enjoy from the west coast of Ireland. 

And that was their plan all along, based on “a single malt and simple hop bill”. Hops were Saaz and Perle, the malt Pilsner, with a Lager yeast of course. Highly Recommended.

Pilsner is one of the main styles of European lager. But what exactly is it? Pilsner is a pale lager named after the Czech city of Pilsen from where it originated. This bright golden beer is typically crystal clear with a large amount of foam. Saaz hops are a must for this style offering a spiciness to the beer resulting in some earthy, floral, crisp flavours. A refreshing Pilsner is always a popular choice. The vast majority of beer drunk around the world is lager of one type or another. It is a style that micro-breweries should be sure to include in their portfolio.

Geek Bits


Straw colour and crystal clear.

Yeast and malt on the nose

Clean mouthfeel and malt forward with a slightly fruity and dry finish.

Saaz, Perle

Pilsner malt


Friday, February 16, 2024

Beer of the Week. Western Herd Forge IPA

Beer of the Week 

Western Herd Forge IPA, 6.5%, ABV, 440 ml can

Check our updated Beer of the Week Index here

Inspired by five generations of storytelling blacksmiths from Kilkee and using some of the heavy-hitting hops that were then coming from the USA, Clare’s Western Herd Brewery came up with this cracking IPA.

With their own know-how, the skill of brewer Bridger Kelleher and the little-known hops (Kohatu, Rakau, Olicano and Harlequin), and in the quiet of the Covid lockdown they produced a beer with unique aromas and flavour palate. The current quartet of hops though are much better known.

 The beer itself pours a hazy orange colour. The combination of hops creates an appealing aroma of apricot, pineapple and lime zest, along with a creep of dankness. The fruit, especially the tropical pineapple, plus resinous notes, carries through to the flavour culminating in a satisfactory finish to this full-bodied beer.

Generally, the New England style is a hazy fruit bomb and totally different from the West Coast which is more bitter. Here in the Forge, the fruity profile of the hops is emphasised as opposed to the more bitter flavours of the West Coast varieties.

The danger, of course, is that you can get too much fruit and the palate can end up soaked in sweetness. But here the balance is pretty much perfect.

The forge was quite a social spot in the Irish countryside when I was growing up in the 50s and early 60s. I spent many a happy hour hanging around McNamara's in Caherlag, both outside and inside. One of my memories is not so happy though. In the dark interior, they had a black-rimmed photograph of the Manchester United team decimated by the 1960 Munich disaster.

Geek Bits


Pale Orange and hazy

Passionfruit, Lime Zest, Apricot

Passionfruit with an earth-y spicy backbone.

Columbus, El Dorado, Idaho and Mosaic

Pale, Malted Oats, Flaked Oats, White Wheat, CaraPils



Wednesday, October 4, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #49. Craft with Hope, Western Herd and Dungarvan Brewing

CorkBillyBeers #49

Craft with Hope, Western Herd and Dungarvan Brewing


Hope Pass If You Can Pale Ale, 4.6% ABV, 440 ml can Dunnes Stores

A great all-rounder

A classic Pale Ale in the American style, synonymous with the current worldwide craft beer explosion since the 1980s. It is an easy-drinking beer, with a clear hop character, but not as hoppy or indeed as bitter as an IPA.

That’s the brewery’s summing up of their Pass Oif YouCan Pale Ale.

It has a lovely gold colour, a hazy one but not enough to hide the fountains of bubbles rising towards the big soft white head. The fruity character of the hops comes through in the aromas. And also on the palate. Not overly fruity mind you nor overly bitter either. The well-judged harmony between the fruity hop flavours and the medley of Irish and European malts defines the beer.

Hope is quite happy with it. “An easy drinking malty and slightly fruity pale ale with a subtle hop kick. A great all-rounder that combines well with most main dishes, such as chicken or prawns, BBQs and pizza.”

I’m also very happy with it. Very Highly Recommended.

The Ale is named after Michael Collier, a notorious 19th-century highwayman who was North County Dublin’s answer to Robin Hood. He was so successful that his townland was dubbed Passifyoucan. Finally arrested in 1807 in his favourite haunt The Cock, he was transported and returned home only to die of cholera! Still, the name remains.

Geek Bits

Hops: Magnum, Mosaic, Citra,

Yeast: US-05

Malts: Pale Ale, CaraHell, Munich, Acidulated.

Core Range: Yes

Bought 20.09.23.

BBD 27.10.23


Western Herd Islander Session IPA 4.2% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Midleton

“Inspired by the hazy, juicy beers made famous by Vermont brewers, this is Islander. Embrace the haze.”

That’s the intro to this session beer by Count Clare brewery Western Herd, which stands on a picturesque hilltop farm in a converted shed built over 80 years ago by “our great-grandfather”. The grandchildren, siblings Michael Eustace and Maeve Sheridan, founded the brewery and it was then “found” in 2018 by Montana-born Bridger Kelleher and he “kept turning up” and eventually took over as brewer.

The Islander has a hazy light orange colour with a fluffy white head that stays around for a spell. Aromas are mild, tropical and ripe. On the palate, the beer is soft with citrus and melon showing. The producers indicate that the intention is “to provide a hop burst of flavour that is easy to drink and won’t weigh you down”. Reckon they have succeeded here.

Highly Recommended. The Best Before date had not expired here but there were just a few days to go. 

Geek Bits

Session IPA

Golden, hazy, juicy

Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe

Pale, Stout Mix, Malted Oats, Flaked Oats, White Wheat, Torrified Wheat, CaraPils


Original Gravity



Hope Handsome Jack IPA, 6.6% ABV, 440 ml can Dunnes Stores

Citrusy - malty - bitter. A full-flavoured citrusy and double dry hopped IPA. Great with burgers and pizza.

That’s the brief intro to Handsome Jack by brewers Hope.

This golden beer, with a soft white head, is a little on the hazy side. There’s a supple hint of orange in the aromas but the sweet malt is also holding its own here. And that duel continues on the palate with juicy citrus coming to a duet that also involves the sweetness of the Irish Pale malt. In the end, it's all square between the bitterness of the hops and the mildness of the malt. No losers here of course and the punters are the winners with another excellent beer from Hope who indicates that it pairs well with burgers and roast meat, pizza, Indian dishes, strong, salty cheese and carrot cake.


And who was Handsome Jack? Jack Criss, the 17th-century Irish pirate, was tall and handsome with blonde hair and eyes as green as the sea. He set sail from Ireland, plundering his way to Spain and Italy. He didn’t die in battle but someone got cross with Criss and stabbed him to death in a Naples hotel. Probably one of his four wives. Some bachelor!

Highly Recommended. The beer that is, not the pirate!

Geek Bits

Hops: Magnum, Cascade, Sorachi Ace, Simcoe, Citra

Yeast: American Ale

Malts: Minch Hook Head Ale, Weyermann CaraMunich II, Weyermann CaraPils, Weyermann Acidulated

EBU 49

Bought 20.09.23.

BBD 25.04.24

Core Range: Yes


Dungarvan Mahon Falls Rye Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Midleton

Dungarvan is a family-run independent microbrewery in Dungarvan with over a decade of brewing experience and this is one of their regular seasonal beers, appearing annually in the springtime.

The colour is a murky orange/red with a soft white head that hangs about a bit. Aromas are a bit on the punchy side, with the rye leading the attack, the hops bringing the fruit posse onto the palate before a moderately bitter finish with the spicy rye always a player in the background though it is more hoppy bitter overall than malty sweet.

Highly Recommended. Not bad for a beer that was disappointingly almost six months past its Best Before date.

Food Pairings: This full-flavoured punchy fruity ale works great with lighter-flavoured foods like chicken, pork and fish or even with salad dishes. The brewery also says that the fruitiness of this Mahon Falls works really well with the tang of a Wensleydale or Caerphilly-style cheese. Try Knockdrinna‘s Laviston or The Little Milk Company‘s Brewer’s Gold.

Geek Bits

Style: Rye Pale Ale

ABV: 5.1%

Malts: Malted Rye (Pale, Cara)

Hops: Galaxy, Summit, Ella

IBUs: 50

Allergens: Contains barley.

Calories: 230 per 500ml

Serve: 8-12°C

Sunday, February 12, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #11. Craft with APA style beers by Western Herd, Ballykilcavan, West Cork Brewing, Larkins

CorkBillyBeers #11

Craft with APA style beers by Western Herd, West Cork Brewing, Ballykilcavan, Larkins


Western Herd Spanish Point APA, 5.9%, 440ml can, The Cru

In September 1588, the Spanish Armada came to grief on the Clare coast in a savage storm. The legend lives on in the name of the place and in the name of this American Pale Ale (APA) from the Western Herd brewery. 

The pungent aromas of the all-American hop quartet make their presence felt at the outset, even as you pour this mid-golden American Pale Ale with its white head that doesn’t hang around too long. Notes of pine and citrus shine in the dank background of the palate. Good thing! (I’ve been listening to Roland Gift recently). The impression has been building, time to sit back and enjoy (and put away the notebook and maybe play the FYC on YouTube).

The Western Herd brewery stands on a picturesque Clare hilltop farm in a converted shed built over 80 years ago “by our great-grandfather”.

“We are a brother and sister team brewing beer the way nature intended.  Our great, great, great, great, great, grandfather farmed the land where our brewery now stands.  Every time we would visit the farm growing up we would think ‘if only we could bottle this’!!!  We aspire to brew beers that embody the charm and character of this idyllic hilltop farm on the west coast of Ireland.”

The brother and sister are Michael Eustace and Maeve Sheehan and the brewer, who just turned up and walked in one day in 2018, is Bridger Kelleher from Montana.

Geek Bits

Style: American Pale

Colombus (Dank, pepper, pungent), Centennial (blossom, orange, resinous), Chinook (Grapefruit, pine, spice), Simcoe (pinem grapefruit, berry)

Stout Mix, Crystal

Very Highly Recommended.


West Cork Brewing Beacon of Hops American Pale Ale, 4.1% ABV, 500ml bottle Ballymaloe Craft Fair

Sherkin Lass has been a favourite with West Cork Brewing customers since they opened in 2014. Now the long standing favourite is reportedly under pressure from this relative newcomer.

Colour is a hazy orange with a soft white top that soon sinks down too to a slim disc. It’s got quite an attractive aroma, citrus and malt. And that sets the scene for the palate where the flavours are citrus led with the malt  (with a slight hint of caramel sweetness) again providing the balance so it turns out fruity and just mildly bitter. Excellent body feel and a lip smacking finish. The brewers recommend pairing it with fish, white meats, mild cheese and salads.

Like all of their beers, this is brewed using their own spring water, is bottle conditioned, unfiltered and vegan friendly. The 2014 brewery is the first Brew-Hotel to set up in Ireland.

Highly Recommended


Ballykilcavan Line Blocker Hazy Pale Ale, 4.9%, 440 ml can, CraftCentral

Ballykilcavan tell us this New World hazy pale ale “is packed with Citra and Amarillo hops”. By the way, did you know Citra is one of the top three most grown hops in the world and is also in the US top five? 

The Line Blocker was one of first ever canned beers at Ballykilcavan. A hazy pale ale, double dry hopping helped promote the aromas and flavours of citrus and tropical fruits that you’ll find.

Colour is a murky amber/orange with a white head that soon runs out of depth. Hops are certainly evident in the aromas with exotic fruits (mango, pineapple, grapefruit and guava) fighting with citrus for space. And it is much the same on the packed palate with mango getting its nose in front of the hop posse. A good stiff drink though (with a resinous backbone), strong lip-drying finish too, thanks to all those hops.

The other ingredients are Malted Barley, oats, water, and yeast. IBU is  54.

If you'd like to join visit 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.”

A few tips here from suppliers CraftCentral

  • Refrigerate on delivery. Especially the hoppy ones.
  • Store beers upright
  • Avoid light
  • Enjoy with friends!
  • Do not age for too long - hoppy beers are very sensitive!

The Line Blocker is Highly Recommended.


Larkins Hustler Pale Ale 4.5% ABV, 440ml can CraftCentral

Larkins tells us this is their “classic best-selling pale ale rebranded for the new range. Hoppy but low in bitterness this beer has been a craft beer favourite since 2018.”

Pale it is, almost lemon in colour, and also very hazy, certainly not see through. The bubbly white head sinks slowly. Aromas are of the hoppy citrus kind and the hops are also in charge of the refreshing palate. For all that though, the finish is not as grippy as you might expect. Not a bad balance at all and a decent refreshing drink indeed.