Showing posts with label Wide Street. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wide Street. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Beer of the Week. Wide Street Plush Pale Ale

 Beer of the Week

Wide Street Plush Pale Ale 4.3% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

This turned out to be quite the ambush, not at all what I was expecting. A very pleasant surprise indeed and Beer of the Week.

Pale gold is the colour of the Plush Pale Ale by

Friday, June 30, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #32 Craft. Craft. A mixed bag with Wide Street, Mescan, Wicklow Wolf and Torc.

CorkBillyBeers #32

Craft. A mixed bag with Wide Street, Mescan, Wicklow Wolf and Torc.



Wide Street House Saison 5.5% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

Saison is a traditional Belgian beer brewed for the summer-time workers and Longford brewery Wide Street (it is situated on a very wide street) claims theirs is a classic representation of the Belgian Saison style. 

It pours a murky orange colour with a good white head. Aromatics throw up moderate banana notes, also a very mild spice. Glug this and you miss a lot. Sip and savour and you get citrus notes, that spice again and a smooth background wrap of banana.

Their yeast had been playing quite a role in this two-month fermentation and it is Saccharomyces cerevisiae var diastaticus saison strain (don't know of any abbreviation!).

They have also employed their favourite hop Saaz in the process and that provides a medium bitterness backed up with those hints of banana and pepper.  It had been “elected’ to their core range, the punters obviously liking the mild banana aromas and flavours, and a touch of peppery spice;  the bitterness factor is mid-range.

The beer has new packaging. “Our House Saison, part of our core range, has just got a rebrand! It's the same recipe with a fresh look for a zesty and peppery dry saison. Perfect pairing with barbecue meats, salads and fish.”

Highly Recommended.


Mescan Westport Saison, 5.8% ABV, 330 ml bottle

Saison is a traditional farmhouse style from the South of Belgium brewed to sustain the workers during long days of toil in the sun. Mayo’s Mescan are noted for their Belgian style beers and this Saison is an amazing example of how well they have learned the arts of the Belgian aces.

Colour of this Mescan is a slightly hazy orange, with a soft white head that sinks slowly. Aromas include clove and citrus notes. It is dry and light on the palate, effervescent and refreshing. Indeed, that refreshing fizziness is quite a feature. It is also very well balanced, with the New World hops matched by the earthy spicy yeast flavours, and you don't really notice the high alcohol. But do sip rather than gulp!

There is something different, something more wide-ranging about this Mescan saison. Flavours are deeper, longer lasting, and the experience more satisfactory. More than likely it comes from longer ageing (a brewery policy). 

On my recent visit to the rural brewery in Mayo, brewer and co-founder Cillian Ó'Móráin explained that Mescan beers take a minimum of 4 months with the heavier ones getting 6-8 months whereas your normal craft beer takes just a few weeks from start to shop (can vary from brewer to brewer). While the extra time makes the Mescan more expensive, Cillian reckons it is crucial for the quality of the beer. And it is indeed a premium product, illustrated well by this superb saison. 

Very Highly Recommended.

It is refreshing and quite a thirst quencher (which is the whole idea), and Mescan, as you may know, was St Patrick’s brewer and no doubt the odd conversion was facilitated by a jug of his cloudy brew. 

The modern bottle-conditioned beer is still somewhat cloudy! All Mescan beers are bottle conditioned. To enjoy them clear, store them upright and pour into a glass, leaving the yeast sediment in the bottle.

With its slightly bitter finish, Saison goes well with spicy dishes such as curries or chicken wings. "Our Saison is a real thirst quencher!" For more pairing ideas check their Food Pairing Wheel here

If you'd like to visit Mescan, they are open to visitors most Friday afternoons through the summer - online booking is required here.


 Honey Hefeweizen

Wicklow Wolf Honey Hefeweizen Locavore Spring 2023, 6.0% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

The Wicklow Wolf Locavore series always scores highly in this quarter and I knew I had another winner in my hand when I tasted the Spring 2023 edition, a Honey Hefeweizen, at the Easter Beer Fest in Franciscan Well.

Local, as you know, is always at the heart of the series, and this is brewed with locally sourced Wicklow heather honey from the hives of “our friends in OpenHive” and using wheat grown in the field behind the brewery. Balance as always is important and therefore the character of honey should be evident but not allowed to take over.

It has a pale gold colour and is hazy, with a white head. It is based on a “strong wheat grain bill” and classic wheat beer aromas of banana and clove rise from the glass, also a touch of spice. And the beer seems a little bit sweeter on the palate as it and the honey get together but that important balance is achieved. 

Quite a taste of Wicklow then and Very Highly Recommended. So a contender for honours already from Wicklow. And could it repeat the Wicklow Wolf Locavore Spring 2022 (Barrel Aged Farmhouse Ale) that was joint first in the blog’s Beer of the Year last year?

Geek Bits

20 IBUs

Hops are Idaho 7

Heather Honey an ingredient.

Malts are: Pilsner, Wheat, Munich 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.


Smoked German Ale

Torc Smoked German Ale, 6.0% ABV, 500ml bottle, Carry Out Killarney

Torc doesn’t tell us much - their website is under construction - but they say this was brewed using beech wood smoked malt to create a rich dark beer with savory (they use the American spelling) and smoked aromas. They also call it an ale.  Most German-smoked beers (Rauchbiers) that I know of are in the lager class. Torc has used “select smoked German malts”, smoked with beech wood.

However, any style of beer may be smoked. But, no matter the style, balance is always sought and that “guest” ingredient should not dominate. The style did originate in Germany as Rauchbier and other brewers can come up with their own recipe, subject to balance of course. However, a beer that may seem overly smokey early on may become less so as it ages because smoke flavours get weaker over time.

Remember those bacon crisps we used to get in bars a long time ago, you still do. Well, in fairness this beer has that aroma, “Liquid bacon fries” as Limerick brewery Crew calls them. Colour of the Torc effort is a hazy reddish/brown and the head soon shrinks. The flavours follow the aromas but, in both, I’d say that Torc have achieved an excellent balance - the bacon fries effect is moderate - and the beer drinks and finishes well.

Highly Recommended

Although a classic Rauchbier is brewed as a lager of the malty German persuasion, smoke beers can take other forms. Smoked porters are common in the US. Nowadays, just a handful of breweries in Bamberg, Germany carry the Rauchbier torch. They continue the tradition of making beer with malt smoked over beechwood, which imparts a smooth and pleasant smoky flavour, similar to that of hickory – so similar that Rauchbiers are sometimes colloquially referred to as “Bacon Beers.”

So now, that you have the picture, it is over to you! it’s a challenge getting the balance just right, and arguably just as challenging to find the right audience for it. Torc certainly got the first part pretty much spot on and it looks as of their customers are up for it. 

Pair it with delicious Gubbeen Hot Smoked Ham, also Baltimore Dry Cured Black Bacon or Ummera Smoked Bacon Rashers. Or just a little pack of those Bacon Fries! 

Recent Irish examples of the style are:

Kinnegar 20÷2 Anniversary Rauchbier

Whiplash Immolator Triple Decoction Smoked Doppelbock 

Whiplash Smoke Stack Lightnin’ Oaked & Smoked Brown.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen from Bamburg is a German classic. 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Big Beer Reveal! 2022 My Favourite Beers This Year. Two tie at the top!

The Big Beer Reveal!

2022 My Favourite Beers This Year

The Top Four

1 -  Wicklow Wolf Locavore Spring Barrel Aged Farmhouse Ale

   -  Wide Street Coolship Spontaneously Fermented Ale

3 -  Kinnegar Rustbucket Rye IPA

4 -  Bradleys with Dot Nice One IPA


Next, in no particular order (all good!) are:

Lineman Schadenfreude Schwarzbier

Wicklow Wolf Mescan Wit or Without You Belgian Wit

Whiplash Dry the Rain Double Decoction Dunkel

Wicklow Wolf Locavore Summer 2022 Foraged Elderflower Saison

Whiplash True Love Waits Dry Hopped Pils

12 Acres Pale Ale

Lough Gill If I was in LA Californian IPA

Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut

Wicklow Wolf  “Apex Cherry” Black Cherry Oatmeal Stout.

Hope Limited Edition 26 Born To Be Free Amber Lager

Whitefield “Eastwood” Pale Ale

Hope Limited Edition No. 27 Munich Helles

Others to note

Session: Third Barrel Day Drinking Part Deux Citra Strata; Kinnegar Brewers at Play #24 Summer Ale; Lough Gill Mo Chara Hazy Seisiún; Boundary Love is Here Hoppy Table Beer Pale Ale; Boundary Trees We Didn’t Plant Pale Ale; Blacks The Session Pink Grapefruit IPA; Porterhouse Sundown Session IPA; Session: Whitefield Brewery “Woodville” Session Pale Ale 4.3%. No shortage of choice here. We are inclined to go for Whiplash Rollover but none of the others here will let you down.

Red Ale: Galway Bay Bay Ale Red Ale; Sullivan’s Maltings Irish Ale; Clonakilty Foxy Red Ale; Cotton Ball Red Velvet.

Gose: Lough Gill Wild Irish Gose; Kinnegar Brewers at Play 23 Mango Gose; Dot Brew When the Going Gets Gose;

Stout: Lynch’s Stout by the Cotton Ball; West Cork Stout X Stout West.

Brown Ale: Lineman Big Calm; Whiplash Smoke Stack Lightnin’ Oaked & Smoked 

Marzen: Kinnegar Leaf Kicker 2022 Marzen

Porter:Brehon Shanco Dubh Porter

Oatmeal IPA: Galway Bay Goodbye Blue Monday

Kolsch: Rye River (collab. with Old Street) Die Hundstage Köter Kölsch

Hopfenweisse: Wicklow Wolf Jeff Bezos

Weizenbock: Whitefield The Viscount Weizenbock 7.5% 

Black IPA: Rascals Rude Girl Black IPA

BA Stout: Bradleys & Dot Brew Shady Dealings

Milk Stout: Trouble Brewing Nocturne Milk Stout

Smoked Porter: Whitefield Old Smoke Smoked Porter; 

Bitter: West Cork Baltimore Bitter

Barleywine: Brehon Brewhouse Red Right Hand Barley Wine Beer

Brewery of the Year: Wicklow Wolf

Cider Corner

Cider: Cockagee Irish Keeved Cider 5% Simply outstanding

Ciders to note: Killahora Bottle Conditioned Dry Bittersweet Cider 2019, 5.9%, 750ml (champagne style) bottle; Longueville House Cider 5.9%; Longways Medium Sweet Elderflower Cider.


Craft on Draught:

The Maritime, Bantry: 9 White Deer Kölsch

The Lake, Killarney: Ale and Lager by Killarney Brewing Co.

Merry’s, Dungarvan: Wicklow Wolf Ale and more

The Shelbourne, Cork: Beamish and more

The Cotton Ball, Cork: Lynch’s Stout, Indian summer and more

Mellet’s Emporium, Swinford: Reel Deel Jack the Lad, Mescan Seven Virtues Lager.

Keenan’s, Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon: White Hag Little Fawn; Kinnegar’s Scraggy Bay.

Finín’s Midleton: Black’s KPA

Franciscan Well: Original 7 Weisse and more

Elbow Lane: Angel Stout and more

The Mad Monk by Quinlan’s, Killarney: Killarney’s Casey Brothers Extra Stout and Golden Spear Blonde

Castlerosse Hotel Bar, Killarney:  Killarney’s Golden Spear Blonde

Celtic Whiskey & Larder, Killarney: Tom Crean St Brigid’s Lager and Rascals Black Horse Stout 4.4% and more

Café Pigalle Cork: White Hag’s Atlantean NEIPA (also White Hag lager)

Blairs Inn Cloghroe, Co. Cork: 9 White Deer Stout and Kolsch

Monday, December 5, 2022

Beer of the Year 2022. The Final Selection (16 of the best)

Beer of the Year 2022. The Final Sixteen


Beer of the Year 

The Final Selection (16 of the best)

November: Kinnegar Rustbucket Rye IPA 

October: Wide Street Coolship Spontaneously Fermented Ale 

September: Bradleys with Dot Nice One IPA 

August: 12 Acres Pale Ale 

July: Wicklow Wolf Locavore Summer 2022 Foraged Elderflower Saison 

June: Wicklow Wolf Mescan Wit or Without You Belgian Wit 

May: Wicklow Wolf Locavore Spring 2022 Barrel Aged Farmhouse Ale 

April: Whiplash True Love Waits Dry Hopped Pils 

March: Lineman Schadenfreude Schwarzbier 

February: Wicklow Wolf  “Apex Cherry” Black Cherry Oatmeal Stout. 

January: Whiplash Dry the Rain Double Decoction Dunkel 

December 2021: Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut 



Amber Lager: Hope Limited Edition 26 Born To Be Free


 Pale Ale: Whitefield “Eastwood” 


 Belgian Pale Ale: Wide Street Spéciale 


IPA: Lough Gill If I was in LA Californian IPA


November Short List

Rye IPA: Kinnegar Rustbucket Rye IPA

IPA: Lough Gill If I was in LA Californian IPA

Belgian Pale Ale: Wide Street Spéciale 

Session: Third Barrel Day Drinkin 111 Revenge of the Hops Session IPA

Stout: Sullivan’s Black Marble Stout.   

Black IPA: Wicklow Wolf Sirius Black IPA

IPA: Blacks Stratasbeer Intergalactic IPA. 

Marzen: Kinnegar Leaf Kicker 2022 Marzen

Export Stout: Whiplash The Wake Export Stout, 7.0% 

Red Ale: Galway Bay Bay Ale Red Ale


Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #133. On the craft journey with Kinnegar, Wide Street, Galway Bay, West Cork, and Bradleys

 A Quart of Ale± #133

On the craft journey with Kinnegar, Wide Street, Galway Bay, West Cork, and Bradleys.


Kinnegar Rustbucket Rye IPA, 5.1% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys.

This old reliable, the Rustbucket, is well into its second decade now. The brewery tell us “it was inspired by an old friend - a real character and independent spirit, but always a faithful companion. This description also fits our friends at An Grianán Theatre for whom we originally developed this special beer.”

Amber is the colour and it has a big soft head. Malt heads the aromas with rye offering a little spice. And you meet that spice again in the mouth. And it’s all a little bolder, a little spicer, on the pleasing palate. The American hops come on with a citrus contribution. All’s in balance here though. It is an excellent beer. “A fresh and hoppy drink with a complex flavour profile that never disappoints”, they say themselves and I’ve no problem agreeing.

Once our wandering ancestors settled down, they began to grow grain to make bread and beer. Which came first? I’m not going that deep here. But, in any case, the kind of beer made depended on the local grain. Rye, which thrives on poor soil, was the local grain in much of northern Europe, especially in Russia and Scandinavia. Wonder if those early brewers made anything as good as this Rustbucket!

So how do Kinnegar humans (quite an inventive tribe) go from rye to rustbucket? Credit goes to a Donegal madra (his pic is on the can). “This is where the story gets obtuse, winding a thread around a beloved Irish Terrier, Rusty, or as he was affectionately called by many, Rustbucket. Irish Terriers are renowned for their intelligence. Some, like Rusty, are also very well-known for their tenacity and downright stubbornness. He was a great dog, but he sure did require a lot of patience!”

Quite a storied beer then, though many of the yarns might have never been written but for the crew at An Grianán Theatre calling for encore after encore (read can after can) on that Rustbucket opening night so many litres ago.


Wide Street Spéciale Belgian Pale Ale, 4.7%, 440 ml can Bradleys

Longford brewery Wide Street introduce this Pale Ale: “S P É C I A L E is our nod to the Belgian Pale ales brewed in the Flemish provinces of Antwerp and Brabant. Traditionally amber in colour despite the Pale Ale name this beer is medium bodied and malt forward with medium bitterness. One of Belgium's session beer styles.”

Colour is a coppery/amber with a white pillowy head. It is more murky than hazy. Aromas and flavours are both fruity (apple and pear, even banana and orange). The first hit on the palate is the malt but this easy-drinking beer is certainly well-balanced, medium malty yes and with just enough bitterness to balance. A terrific alternative to IPAs and the brewers indicate it pairs well with poultry, pulled pork, curries or a cheeseboard.

Of course, the Belgians would argue that all their beers are spéciale. The two parts of the country may speak in different languages but that doesn’t prevent them having a common pride in their beers. Despite having a relatively short national history, it has one of the oldest brewing traditions in the world. And one of the characteristics of their beers is the extent to which they get the most from their yeast.

The label mentions fruity esters without elaborating (in fairness, there’s only so much you can print in a can). Esters are a fruity flavour produced primarily through the action of yeasts during fermentation and are influenced by the fermentation process. They are formed in beer by the “esterification” of ethanol which is the primary alcohol in beer.

Another excellent beer from Wide Street who can be found on a very wide street indeed in Ballymahon, County Longford.


Galway Bay Bay Ale Red Ale, 4.4%, 330 ml can Bradleys

The crew in the brewery are very happy with this long-standing stalwart: Bay Ale is brewed with a complex malt bill and a savvy dose of subtle American hops for a modern spin on this traditional style. This beer has stood the test of time in our range and we are proud to see it still flying the flag for red ales.

Their Galway Bay “Bay Red Ale” has quite a strong red colour and a soft off-white head that slowly waltzes away. Aromas are mild and mostly malty. On the palate, you immediately note a smooth and well-balanced flavour from this well rounded ale. British and Irish malts get a chance to shine here and give this beer a strong backbone but the hops (European and American) get their share of the spotlight and the balance is excellent.

Irish Red ales are noted for their food-friendliness and this is no exception. Try it with salads, roast meats, cold meats, simple cheeses and salmon dishes.

Founded in 2009, Galway Bay is an independently owned and operated brewery based in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. “From classic styles to big barrel aged beers, we brew the full spectrum of beer with a passion for quality and innovation.”


West Cork Brewing Cape Haze West Coast IPA, 4.7% ABV, 500ml bottle Ballymaloe Craft Fair

This comes in a gold orange robe, hazy of course, with a fairly big bubbly white head. Hints of orange and resin in the aromas (as you’d expect with the German pair of Mandarina Bavaria and Hercules in the recipe). And the duo of orange and resin also feature in the mouth, accompanied by a dank sensation and some vegetative input that I couldn’t put a finger on. Overall though, it is bright and fruity and quite a decent IPA, especially considering it weights at just 4.7% ABV.

By the way, the third hop is Yellow Sub (which as been described as “Amarillo on steroids”) is also of German origin. The brewery recommends food pairings for this beer as mussels, chicken & caramel cakes. 

Like all of their beers, this is brewed using their own spring water, is bottle conditioned, unfiltered and vegan friendly. Current brewer at West Cork is Terra Brookins. She grew up in San Diego "where you can’t swing a cat without hitting a craft brewery”.