Showing posts with label Wicklow Brewery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wicklow Brewery. Show all posts

Friday, July 29, 2022

Two Stacks Whiskey in a Can and, Wicklow on the Double, a new Stout Infused Fercullen

Two Stacks Irish Whiskey Dram in a Can 86 proof or 43% ABV, 100ml can, €7.00 O’Donovan’s Off Licence

Just last year, Two Stacks Whiskey and myself got off on the right foot. Their neighbouring brewery used a Two Stacks Whiskey cask to brew Brehon Brewhouse Oak & Mirrors Two Stacks Whiskey Cask Aged Imperial Porter (7.5%) and that very beer was my Beer of the Year for 2021. So, I had more than a little confidence when I paid seven euro for this “Dram in a Can” at my local O’’Donovan’s Off Licence.

But whiskey in a can? I’m still a bit doubtful as I pull the tab. And then there’s that inviting gold colour in the glass and as the liquid seeps across the palate the doubt folds and the robust yet, as the fantastic stone fruit flavours take hold in this sweet and spicy whiskey, rounded pleasure unfolds. The aromatics had been somewhat on the modest side giving just only a slender indication of the toasted wood, vanilla and fruit flavours (nectarine, apricot) to follow. A complex whiskey indeed but a very smooth and approachable  drink.

Two Stacks tell us that over 500,000 cans have been sold globally since the Dram in a Can was launched in March 2021. It is “serving the same great flavour profile and focus on quality spirit as the rest of our blended range. Perfect for on the move, out with friends or even just a solo dram in the great outdoors.” On the move includes inflight.

I bought mine as a single can but a four-pack of Dram in a Can is also available and is meant to be enjoyed at a dinner party, on a camping trip, after a hike, golfing or skiing. The whiskey in the can is also available as a 700ml bottle, called Two Stacks Blended Whiskey.

Geek Bits:

40% dark grain - aged in Virgin oak casks.

40%  light grain - aged in bourbon casks

8% pot still - aged in Oloroso sherry casks

10% double malt - aged in Bourbon casks

2% peated malt - aged in Bourbon casks.


Wicklow on the double!

In this press release, Powerscourt Distillery announce a special Distillery Select Release with casks from fellow county craft brewers The Wicklow Brewery.

Fercullen Single Grain finished in an Imperial Stout infused cask from The Wicklow Brewery

This special bottling of Fercullen Irish whiskey is the first of a ‘Distillery Select’ series hand- chosen by the team at the distillery and is exclusively available online from their website and in store at the Distillery shop.

• A 10-year-old single grain Irish whiskey which has finished for one and a half years in 2 barrels which previously held 12.12.20 Imperial Stout from The Wicklow Brewery in Redcross, Co. Wicklow.

• 49% ABV

• This Distillery exclusive release is limited to just 552 bottles and is priced at €95.00.

• Strictly 1 bottle per person

Nose :

Freshly whipped cream, latte coffee, sticky toffee pudding with a hint of Orange bitters.


Mouth-coating oils and cream with forest fruits and a malty biscuit note as the stout influence becomes more apparent.


Mouth-coating and sweet with warming fruity spice.

More info here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #55 On the craft journey. Time for a session!

 A Quart of Ale± #55

On the craft journey. Session Time!

Wicklow Brewery Hopknut Irish Pale Ale, 4.9%, 330can Bradleys

Amber is the colour here with a strong touch of orange. The white head persists for a spell. You get the hops smell the second you pull the tab; later, there’s robust orange, and some caramel from the malt aromas. The flavours follow the aromas on the palate, medium-bodied, and finishing crisply dry. It is very approachable, very drinkable indeed, refreshing, almost Märzen like. Neat and tidy, well put together and one to put on your short list.

The label tells me that Knut was a Danish Viking king who ruled over the Scandinavian empire including Wicklow (Wykinglo) in the 11th century. My scepticism was on high alert when I first saw this on the label on April 1st. You don’t have to believe everything you read but there is some factual basis for this.

The main thing to take away from this is that the beer is excellent. Looking forward now to trying a few more from the Redcross brewery, preferably in their Micky Finn pub. It might well have been called the Wykinglo Pub - that would have harder to pronounce!

Western Herd Atlantic Irish Red Ale 4.0%, 440ml can Bradleys

There’s a vibrancy about the colour of this red ale from the County Clare. The soft off-white head sinks slowly enough. Malt leads the way in the aromatics. And there’s a malted intensity too on the palate, a traditional one but none the worse for that. Far from it. Something deliberately clean and precise about this one. Straight on to the short list!

So what is Red Ale? They say: Similar to English Pales and Bitters, the Red Ale is brewed with a variety of specialty malts such as caramel malts, chocolate malt or roast barley to provide a rich, complex maltiness and this beer’s signature red hue. Traditionally, hop aroma and flavour are kept very low to highlight malt character. However, in recent years, many brewers have begun hopping their red ales more heavily in an effort to brew a very balanced, easy drinking beer.

For the geek:

Vibrant red and crystal clear

Honey and malted barley

Dark fruits, bread and honey

Magnum, Perle

Pale, Melanoidin, Caramunich I, Special B, C-150, C-120

O’Hara’s Leann Folláin Extra Irish Stout 6.0%, 500ml bottle via Radical Drinks

The head, off-white, shrinks pretty quickly over the gleaming black body of this well-known stout. There’s a moderate coffee scent in the nose. And that coffee turns up also on the palate along with chocolate. The full-bodied stout is pretty intense, boasting a refreshing bitterness that rounds it all up, all leading to an intense dry finish. Quite a knockout beer with an abundance of dark flavour  and a refreshing bite towards the end. A true contender! But that’s pretty well acknowledged by now as it has spawned a series of barrel-raised follow-ups. Carry on Carlow!

They say: True to it’s name, “Leann Folláin” being the Gaelic for “wholesome stout”, our full-bodied extra Irish stout is a fantastic example of how good stout can taste. Opaque black in appearance with a tan head, this luxurious stout has a classic European hop bitterness giving a refreshing bite after the chocolate subsides. Leann Folláin takes its name from the Gaelic “leann dubh” meaning “dark ale/stout” and “folláin” being the Gaeilc for “wholesome”.

Geek bits .
Style - Extra Irish Stout

ABV - 6.0%

Plato ° - 14.5°

IBU -42

Fermentation -Top fermentation

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

Serving Temperature 6-8°C (Some enjoy this stout served in the traditional way in southeast Ireland at room temperature “off the shelf”.) 

Food Pairing -Dark meats such as venison or beef make an excellent companion. Also to be enjoyed with blue cheeses.

Glass - O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer conical glass.

Klosterbrau Weißenohe Bonator Dopplebock, 8.0%, 500ml bottle via Bradleys

Colour of this Dopplebock is a deep amber with an off white head that sinks pretty quickly. Difficult to separate the aromas, caramel is in there, something more vegetal too. It keeps the tastebuds working too. First impression is that it is a light stout, then some sweetness unsettles the balance a bit before a choir of hops chips in to restore harmony. It stays interesting right to the finish.

And the story is interesting too. The local Cork saying “there’s atin’ an’ drinkin’ in it” could apply here. “Liquids don't break the fast – this was a generally accepted rule for fasting during the times of the Benedictine monks in Weißenohe. To this rule we Franconians owe the mirror carp as an accepted Lenten fare in our landscape that is rich in ponds stocked with carp, and the stout Doppelbock as a liquid food during this time of slender eating.”

The “atin’ an’ drinkin’ in it” may not be too far out. Consider the Brewer’s note: Of course, beer was not only drunk because of the alcohol content. Beer contains a whole range of minerals and vitamins, as well as broken-down sugars that are easily utilized by the body. The monks were highly knowledgeable in issues of health and medicine, so they knew that beer prevents deficiencies. Hence, Lenten beer was, to put things into today's jargon, one of the first nutritional supplements in human nutrition.

Geek Bits

  • Ingredients: water, barley malt, hops
  • Original wort: P 18
  • ABV 8.2 %
  • EAN code: 41 05 91 66
  • Packaging: 500 ml glass bottles
  • Best before: at least 9 months after bottling

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #54. On the craft journey with a quartet of IPAs

A Quart of Ale± #54

On the craft journey with a quartet of IPAs

 Brú IPA 5%, 330ml can Bradleys

This is a bright light gold IPA from Brú, lots of bubbles spouting up towards the quickly diminishing white head. By the way, the longer it was out of the fridge, the hazier it got. Strata has, in recent years, become the darling of craft brewing. It brings tropical fruit notes to the aroma and flavour mix, citrus too, and you can see here how well it combines, as you’d more or less expect, with Centennial and Cascade. It’s a mouth-watering package indeed, zesty and hoppy. 

According to Brú’s own notes,  this “bold and pleasing beer” scores  33% for “malty” while “hoppy” hits the 100 mark. Not too sure it’s that bold but certainly its very pleasing indeed. The blue lady you see on the labels is Anna Danu, the Celtic primordial goddess. As a tribute to her (and for more practical reasons too, more than likely) only the highest quality ingredients are used. A good policy and, clean and bitter, is a very good beer indeed.

Hops: Strata, Centennial, Cascade
Malts: Pale, Maris Otter, Arome

Wicklow Locknut Kveik IPA 5.2%, 330 can O’Donovan’s

An orange/gold colour with a dense haze and a soft floppy head that hangs about for a bit. Aromas aren’t intense at all, a little citrus-y, perhaps a tiny hint of salinity in there as well. Quite a mouthfeel to this one across the palate. Bitterness is modest and it is quite juicy; as well as the Mosaic hops, “a large addition of pineapple and mango” has been added and is listed among the ingredients.

No Kviek in that list but it is prominent on the can. What is it? A Norwegian farmhouse yeast that throws off citrus and tropical esters. Kviek, also one of the Norwegian words for yeast, is now widely used in the beer world.

Its distinguishing factor is that, at very higher temps (c. 104 degrees F), Kveik can ferment the same 5% ABV beer in as little as 48 hours—three to five days sooner than a typical ale yeast. And it also throws off those citrus and tropical esters.

Quite a juicy little number then, one that will satisfy many, though not perhaps the hop heads!

Bradleys in collaboration with DOT Brew “The Real Capital” IPA 6.2%, 440 can

This Real Capital IPA has a colour a bit like the city at sunrise on a foggy day, a hazy orange. There’s a soft white head on top that thins down quickly enough. With a “healthy helping” of Idaho-7 and Amarillo hops on board, you’re guaranteed pretty intense aromas (tropical, citrus plus floral also) and so it goes also on the palate but there’s also more than enough bitterness, a bitterness though that is light and lively, so that it’s harmony all the way, like a happy version of After All by the Frank and Walters. Capital stuff, really.


This well muscled beer (6.2%) is a collaboration between Bradleys (founded 1850) and  the much younger DOT Brew (from the unreal capital). It is exclusive in store and online to Bradleys Cork. Flaked and malted oats and a healthy helping of Idaho-7 and Amarillo hops are the key ingredients.

O’Hara’s Hop Adventure Strata IPA, 5.0%, 500ml bottle via Radical Drink 

This edition in O’Hara’s Hop Adventure showcases Strata – a brand new hop cultivar that has received wide-spread acclaim, and for good reason! Strata has a complexity that lends itself perfectly to a single hopped beer, the same Strata in the Brú above.

This comes in a light to mid gold colour, a soft white head. Lots of bubbles rising too. Aromas are lively enough, bright fruit with citrus to the fore, also a herb-ie touch. Very impressive balance on the palate, hops and malt in active unison, soft and juicy and refreshing right through to the very pleasing finalé. Thumbs up folks.


Style- IPA

ABV- 5.0%

 Plato ° -13.0°

 IBU- 45

 Fermentation- Top fermentation

 Availability- 30L Keg (carbonated) and 50cl Bottle

Serving- 6-8°C

 Food Pairing- Perfect for matching with a spicy, diavolo Pizza, Fish and Chips and blue cheese.

Glass- O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer conical glass

Slainte, the 2014 guide to Irish craft beer, classed Carlow Brewing, along with Porterhouse, Franciscan Well, Whitewater and Hilden, as being in the first generation of Irish craft brewers. Not an easy station back then (1996) but Carlow successfully entered the export market to gain experience and sales and eventually a firm footing at home, their hard-won achievements underlined when they left their original premises behind and moved to a smashing new premises in Bagnalstown in 2009. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #45A. On the craft journey with IPA including a stunning NEIPA by Heaney

A Quart of Ale± #45A

On the craft journey with IPA including a stunning NEIPA by Heaney


Heaney New England IPA 5.7%, 440ml can Bradleys

The label intro to this beer is short, and accurate: Haze, hops, and juice.

Light gold, deeply hazy, and a fluffy white head that’s in no big hurry to depart, mark the appearance of this new IPA from the Heaney brewery.

Aromas are somewhat reticent but you may note ripe Apricot plus notes of the more exotic Pineapple and Grapefruit. And more fruit on the palate, Mango and Charantais Melon to the fore, with just a touch of bitterness in the background. Lovely soft mouthfeel and perfectly balanced. Another well-made beer from the Derry brewery, one for the short-list for sure.

Mal Mackay from Heaney’s tells me the second batch is even better: “Yes, it is our first NEIPA and we’re very proud of it, although we thought it was great there is always room for improvement and the second batch we canned this Wednesday (April 7th) is even better. 

It’s slightly more refined on the body, a little smoother with the carbonation dialled in exactly right. I’m not sure what you get on your tasting notes but I feel there is a lot of squidgy apricot in there and some juicy red apple, it’s all about the jooooose. Very little bitterness if any, and a nice smooth lush body. We used Mosaic and Amarillo in equal quantities in the dry hop and Chinook in the whirlpool, no hops in the boil at all. Bottom line is yes, we thought it was good, but as ever here at Heaney, the next one will be better - until it’s perfect.” 

Food pairing suggested by the makers: Jamaican Jerk Chicken with a stone fruit sauce.

O’Hara’s Session IPA, 3.8%, 500ml bottle via Radical Drinks

A light golden body, a hazy one, with a white head that hangs about a bit. Hoppy citrus in the aromas. Clean and crisp as it hits the palate, almost lager like until the hops quickly dispel that notion and it continues full of flavour to the bitter end.

They say: This session IPA was designed to be light and easy drinking while still full of the punchy flavours of a traditional IPA. Brewed with 100% Irish malt to deliver a pale, clean and very crisp body. This matched with the late addition of hops, including Cascade, Simcoe and Chinook, make this a full flavoured, incredibly drinkable IPA.

That’s a pretty good summation of one of the better session beers you’re likely to come across.

For the geek:

Malts: Caramalt and Oat Malt

Hops: Cascade, Simcoe and Chinook followed up with the double dry hopping from Citra and Amarillo.

IBU: 25

Fermentation: Top fermentation

Serving Temperature: 6-8°C

Food Pairing: Pairs perfectly with chicken Caesar salad, smoked salmon, crisp lamb and Stilton cheese.

Glass: O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer conical glass

Availability: 30L Keg, 50CL Bottles (carbonated)

Wicklow Brewery Coola Boola Session IPA 3.8%, 330 can Bradleys

Colour of this Coola Boola, a session IPA, from the Wicklow Brewery is a very pale yellow. The head shrinks quite rapidly. Aromas are somewhat reticent but, with Amarillo and Citra in the hop list, expect a little citrus. And you get that too, with a hint of lime, on the palate. With some tropical stuff in there too, it is quite a mouthful, good balanced inter-play of fruit and bitterness, more than enough to keep hop-lovers happy. Put this on your session list!

Rascals Wunderbar IPA, 6%, 330 can via Bradleys

Mid-gold is the colour of this German-style beer (bet you knew the style!). Fluffy head starts big, diminishes quickly. Touch of orange on the nose. And on the punchy palate too where the malt comes on-stage also to balance it all up. Actually, you realise (rather than realize) that this IPA is, thanks to sourcing and the interplay of hops and malt, is very much a European drink and a very welcome version indeed.  Man doesn’t live just on exotic fruit and floral. After all, variety is the spice of life. So well done to the folks at Rascals.

As they say themselves: A true IPA that stands up to its American competitors….DAS IST GUT! HOPPY  | FRUITY | PUNCHY. Unfiltered. Unpasteurised

Monday, March 22, 2021

Brewers Chat About Hops and IPA on Beoirfest

Brewers Chat About Hops and IPA on Beoirfest

Cris (left) and Will

Ronan Russell of Blacks Kinsale, Cris Gasporoti of Hopfully and Brian Kelly of Wicklow Brewery had a great chat, moderated by host Brian O’Connell, on a recent Beoirfest edition where the subject was IPA and hops. And a further distinctive flavour was added to the conversation when hop expert Will Avery joined in as guest.

Will: “I don’t claim to be an expert but I like hops and have acquired a lot of knowledge over 15 years in the business. There is a historical conundrum in that a secondary aspect of hops, its disinfectant properties, brought it fame. But there has to be something to balance the sweetness in beer and hops did the trick, before that there were herbs. That the alpha acid of hops was a deterrent to various bugs was an extra bonus.”

Ronan Russell took on a request from host Brian to explain IPA, a task getting more difficult by the day with so much variation around. “The term has been expanded away from the original meaning over the past 10 to 15 years. IPAs are not what they used to be and now there are many sub-categories not focused on the bitterness. But IPA should be a juicy smooth ale that lets the hops shine through the malt, more than is the case in stout for example. You can write IPA on virtually any can or bottle these days, some do it so the punter will pick it off the shelf.”

Home on the range. Ronan relaxes (for a mo) in Blacks. Pic by Blacks

Cris said there are different styles such as West Coast and New England and craft drinkers know what to expect. “There are lots of choices but it is good to be aware of the styles.. and the label should mean something.”

Ronan agreed that the label should be accurate, “should point you in a certain direction. The front of the can just wants to grab you but there should be a few hints on the back.” He grew up in Belgian - “lots of sweet beer there”. Now he likes the hazy beers, which Kinsale do well. “Lots of malted wheat and oats.. a richer mouthfeel…juicy and full-bodied… aromatic including floral.”


Not too sure Will would fully agree! Later in the discussion, he said he was tired of drinking beers with Citrus and Mosaic “…. A lot of New England IPA are just sweet,.,. start well but finish flat… You gotta have contrast (Amarillo or Comet). If all you get is juice, you don’t really appreciate it, you gotta have contrast to lift it!”

And there is no shortage of hops. Will said there are dozens of well-known ones but hundreds of others “you’ve never heard of”. Like Comet (which Cris uses well in his beers, eg Quicksand and Shinebright); this is an old-school hop that can provide a lot of flavour and can complement the likes of Citra.

Cris agreed but there is much to understand, the amount of oils and what they do in the brew. “I have done a lot of pilots but there is a bundle of complex stuff that is important to understand.. a lot to learn ...”

Will emphasised that farmers “will plant what they can sell” and will quickly shift to what is in demand. And that could mean certain old-school hops, even more recent ones, could fall out of favour (for instance, you get 8 bales an acre from Citra, 13 to 16 from Cascade or Centennial). Prices could rise for the popular ones and the less popular ones would be even harder to get. And so he underlined the importance of brewers continuing to use a range of hops.

Ronan confirmed the trend towards newer hops.”New varieties, eg Strata, are very popular and it is hard to look past them.” But he agreed that “old” varieties must not be neglected. And Cris nodded: “our job is to use old-school hops.” Hopfully, by the way, have all their beers produced by Waterford’s Metalman. They earn great praise (I’ve enjoyed them here in the Quart of Ale series), not least from fellow panel-members at BeoirFest.

After messing up the home kitchen more than once, Brian Kelly  “jumped at the chance” when the opportunity came up to work in Wicklow Brewery in early 2016. “I quit my job and, I have never been more excited to clean floors in my life. Eventually I began brewing and my passion became a job. In May 2017 I became Head Brewer and I oversee all operations from grain to glass.”

Brian was comparing making beers with fruit additions with the others brewers with Will warning that “doing Mango is not for the faint-hearted!”

Wicklow make a full range including a WB-40 Dank IPA that sounds more or less West Coast to me. Don’t think I’ve had one of their beers since a visit to Brooklodge in 2015!  Haven’t seen their bottles in this neck of the woods, must keep an eye out.

The next Beoirfest presentation is down for 3.00pm on April 3rd and will feature Craft Cider with Stonewell, Tempted and Legacy providing the speakers. Put that in your diary!