New Beer October 2019
First up this month is a beer that is close to our hearts. A little while back the O’Briens team headed out to Third Barrel brewery to brew up a collaboration beer. We settled on a soft and hazy IPA, something Third Barrel are adept at. The result, Third Barrel ONE is packed full of fruit aromas and flavours with soft peach from the yeast coupled with big juicy citrus (lemon, lime and grapefruit) from the hops, all on a smooth and soft fluffy base. Exceptionally easy drinking! Pick this up exclusively in O’Briens.
We have two breweries celebrating birthdays with limited releases. On the IPA front we have the latest in the RACK EM’ UP series from Eight Degrees, this time with a Belgian twist. Green Ball is brewed in collaboration with Breandán Kearney of experimental Belgian brewery Siphon. Lots of sweet, ripe stone fruit is matched with spicy and menthol herbal notes. Finishes with spicy lemon sherbet
Wicklow Wolf celebrate their 5th birthday in style with a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, called Pointy Shoes.This release is limited to just 1,700 can, each individually numbered. This is a big beer coming in at 12.5% alcohol but it’s exceptionally balanced. Flavour is sweet and boozy with molasses, raisins and vanilla bourbon tones. The sweetness is countered with dark chocolate and roast coffee notes.
My final pick this month is from Blacks of Kinsale. What marks them out is their constant experimentation both with their beers but also their distilled spirits. Their latest release, Pineapple Express, is brewed with the addition of terpenes (flavour and aroma oils) from the Pineapple Express strain of cannabis. The aroma is deep, dank and herbal. There beers opens up and changes on taste with plenty of pineapple with juicy ripe citrus.
New Beers May 2019
Some great new brews have landed on our shelves this month. Here’s just a few I’ve sat down with. First up,12 Acres brings us a hazy IPA, The Far Side. As with all 12 Acres beers this is brewed with pale ale malt from their own farm along with some oats, rye and wheat. And a whole lot of hops! Tropical juice on the nose with heady pineapple, guava and ripe mango. Smooth and full bodied. Zingy tropical fruit flavours to start leading to smoother/cooler fruit on the mid-palate. A tingle of dill-like spice mixed with zingy fruit again on the finish before a long bitter hop note.
Wicklow Brewery take a different approach with the newest sub-style of IPA: Brut IPA. the style borrows its name from the world of champagne. As with champagne it is bone dry, pale and highly effervescent. As expected Brute Force is dry & fruity. The aroma is of delicate citrus and tropical fruit with some malty hay beneath. Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Hoppy flavours of passion fruit and mango with hints of white grape. Snappy and bone dry on the finish with hints of spruce
Meanwhile Dot Brew lays on the malt with an excellent new American Amber. Dot Brew Intersection is an American Amber and one of a trio of new core beers. Citrus and tropical fruit meld with toffee and bready notes on the nose. Those malt characteristics are evident on the palate with a caramel biscuit backbone along with a smooth oaty softness. The malt is balanced with juicy grapefruit and mango hops which, along with a little light pine, carries all the way through the finish.
To round out our selection this month we have two very different limited release beers; a fruit sour from Rye Rive and a low-alcohol coffee ale from Wicklow Wolf. Both make great after dinner drinks.
Wicklow Wolf Moonlight is a low alcohol coffee ale, coming in at just 1% abv. Brewed with Rwandan coffee from Java republic, and Tanzanian cocoa nibs from the Proper chocolate company. Aromas of light roast coffee, hints of milk chocolate and biscuit. Flavour follows from the nose, think iced mocha! Light bodied with a crisp finish of coffee bitterness alongside hints of red fruit and nuts.
In early 2018, Bill Laukitis took over as head brewer of Rye River, eager to set his stamp on the brewery. They began their range of Limited Editions. Rye River Mother Pucker is now the 6th release in the range, a blackberry sour. Pours an intense pink with a dense pale pink head. Aroma is full on blackberry with noticeable lactic sourness. The flavour is again full on blackberry but the addition of oats in the brew gives the palate a creamy texture that allows the fruit to shine before the tart sour bite comes in. Refreshing and snappy finish
New Beers March/April 2019
Disregarding the occasional snow flurry, it looks like spring is here and with it comes some great new beers. March saw some great new seasonals but also some great new core releases. Here is a small selection of new beers on the shelf now.
Galway Bay has brought us another big and bold double IPA - Sans Juice, this one in collaboration with American brewers New Realm. As the name implies this is crystal clear, none of your haziness here! It also wears its ‘West Coast’ credentials on its sleeve, dialling up the hops with Simcoe, Amarillo and Chinook on a base malt of Gold Promise. This is full on citrus, light tropical with a resinous bite. Finishes decidedly bitter!
March saw the re-introduction of another blast from the past. ‘Where’s Wallonia?’ was first released in bottle form in July 2016 as a once off special, and according to the brewery it was their ‘first attempt at being sued.’ This is a modern take on saison with all that brings: aromas of candied lemon, pear, sherbet and orange. The flavour is a delicate balance of honey, melon, pear, and of course orange from the addition of the fruit. Finishes long and dry with hints of spice and white pepper.
Wild Weather’s King Street IPA was originally brewed only for the Kings Street Tavern, Portsmouth and Southsea. However, it proved so popular it’s now in the core can line-up. This IPA is brewed with Ekuanot, Citra and Simcoe to compliment the prevalent Mosaic, plenty of fresh, zesty hop notes. Aromas of bruised peach, pineapple and grapefruit with subtle pine. Zesty on the palate opening up with more tropical fruit character. Very soft, medium body. Softens out to stone fruit on the back end before a full-on zesty and mildly bitter finish.
Brewdog have produced a number of lagers over the years but they seem to have nailed it with their latest offering, a hoppy pilsner, Lost Lager. They have used the renowned Weihenstephan yeast strain producing a super clean lager and hopped it with contemporary German hop variety Saphir. Floral hoppy on the nose with some zingy lemony-citrus notes. Medium bodied with medium carbonation displaying the biscuity pale malt. Some peach and hints of orange on the palate. Crisp and refreshing on the finish with a light touch of herbal and peppery tones.
New Beers Winter 2018/2019
The winter period has seen a bumper crop of limited release beers arriving on our shelves. The sheer range and diversity of beers produced, particularly from Irish brewers, has been a joy to see. Here is just a small pick from a host of incredible beers, released over the last few weeks.
The winter season usually means the release of big and bold beers and we haven’t been left wanting this year. My first pick is certainly big and boldly flavoured, however, even at 8% abv this West Coast style double IPA is exceptionally easy drinking. Five Fingers DIPA is the latest seasonal release from Rye River. Expect a super smooth mouthfeel with juicy, tropical stone fruit and citrus.
Going a little darker next with Boyne Brewhouse’s Belgian Dubbel. This beer does exactly what it says on the tin; a full, soft beer with rich malt, dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. This brew was part of a series from Boyne Brewhouse labelled ‘Winter Warmers’, where it was accompanied by an Imperial Stout and a Winter Ale. Worth checking out all three.
This winter also saw a tranche of new barrel aged limited releases from Dot Brew. One of the most intriguing was Red Rum Dark. This is a red ale aged in Irish blended whiskey barrels which previously held rum. Expect a complex mix of flavours with caramel, raisin and woody tones, finishes with sweet rum and warming whiskey.
Finally, no winter beer list would be complete without featuring an imperial stout. We got a superb one this season from Eight Degrees in the form of Blowhard. This stout was aged in Jameson Irish whiskey barrels for a month and comes in at a whopping 12% abv. Though on taste you would be hard pressed to find all that alcohol, this full-on stout is certainly one to take your time with. It will reward that time with rich and complex flavours of espresso, dried fruit, milk chocolate and walnuts.
In case you missed these, be sure to pick them up soon as they won’t be around for long. Enjoy.
New Beers October 2018
In this blog we take a look at recent beer additions to our fridges. From new core additions to limited releases. Beers to pick up now
So just in case you missed them this month
First out of the traps this months is a collaboration brew with Dutch brewers Big Belly and Wexford’s own YellowBelly, aptly named Belly Dance. This lime and white grape IPA takes inspiration from classic South American cocktail, Pisco Sour, with grape and lime juice added to the beer after fermentation. Hoppy, tart and tropical!
Porterhouse Brewing are a true pioneer in Irish craft brewing setting up their first brew pub in Temple Bar in 1996. They have just released their core range now in 50cl bottles So, a great time to revisit a classic in their Plain Porter. A classically styled dry porter, all about simplest balance. The taste is dry with roast malt to the fore along with chocolate, coffee & earthy tones. Slight bitter finish with a light touch of spice.
Another re-release comes from Whiplash with High Cotton. If you missed it first time, then do yourself a favour this time around. Originally brewed in collaboration with Max Lager’s of Atlanta, USA. This is labelled a Belgian Single in style but as you can imagine with Whiplash it hasn’t been spared the hop treatment, zesty orange meets Belgian yeast and pepper.
Rounding out this month’s selection is a real winter warmer, Ballast Point Tongue Buckler. This is an Imperial Red Ale and there simply isn’t enough of those around if you ask me. As you would expect the body is full and silky smooth. Toffee and caramel flavours abound with dark red fruits, nuts, and light citrus hops. Long finish with sweet boozy tones and a touch of bitter pine.
New Beers August 2018
This is a great time of year for craft beer releases with a great variety of styles as we move through the seasons, from fresh hoppy summer styles to heartier Autumn beers. Here are my picks of just a few great seasonal releases that have come through our doors recently.
Third Barrel brewing is a collaborative brand between two breweries, Third Circle and Stone Barrel. They came together to share resources and expertise, subsequently building a physical brewery together in Bluebell, Dublin. Billed as a ‘hopped up lager’, Third Barrel’s latest limited release Poppin’ Pils, may make you rethink the style. Traditional pilsner Saaz hops come together with Motueka and Wai-iti hops from New Zealand. Clean and bright on the nose with some grain with floral, spicy hop notes with a touch of zestiness. The hops shine on the palate finishing slightly spicy and dry.
Number 12 in Hope Beer’s limited release series is a double IPA called Hop Hash. Taking its name from its key ingredient ‘hop hash’ is concentrated hop resin that is produced in small quantity. Essentially a by-product of milling when producing hop pellets. However, ‘by-product’ is underselling it, this is seriously hoppy stuff! Expect some big tropical hop notes from this beer.
Turning away from hops for my last pick with Black Donkey Underworld. This is a brewery that loves working with yeast strains and they have taken this a step further using local wild yeast, harvested from a cave not far from the brewery in county Roscommon. The result is a farmhouse style ale displaying plenty of fruity and funky tones. Flavours of citrus fruit, pepper and earthiness with light barnyard note lead to a long bitter and refreshing finish. Underworld is the first beer from Black Donkey’s wild yeast project, expect more releases and more styles using this yeast in the coming months.