O’Hara’s Irish Stout (254 of 1001)

July 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.0

Now for a trip to Ireland and a review of one of the four remaining Irish beers from the 1001 beers list that I’ve yet to try, this one my third beer from the Carlow Brewing Company that follows quickly on from their Pale Ale that I just reviewed and their Irish Red that I tried earlier in the year. This one is the brewerys dry stout and is one that seemed to be available in plenty of Dublin bars on my most recent visit, a far cry from when I was last there back in 2008 although Guinness still dominates the drinking scene there. For a while Carlow beers weren’t even available in the local town and the company has relied on the export market with their beers making it as far away as Australia and the United States, despite the fact that at one point the brewery had to send its fresh beer to England to be bottled before being re-imported to Ireland. This is one that I’ve been wanting to try for some time, mainly down to the fact that I’m almost finished the relatively few Irish beers that make up the 1001 beers list with only three more to go now; sláinte.

O'Hara's Irish Stout

Appearance (5/5): Very dark, almost black looking and opaque with tinges of red. The beer is topped with a creamy, beige head that’s about a thumbs-width tall with excellent retention and a layer of creamy lacing on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Medium strength roasted malts on the nose initially, there is some darker notes and hints of chocolate along with some sweetness. I could detect the odd creamy, almost milk chocolate like smells and there was and earthy bitterness towards the end as well.
Taste (7/10): This one started with a light malts and roasted taste that also featured earthy flavours and some coffee too. I could detect some sweetness and chocolate with touches of bitterness and creamy flavours. The beer was a lighter than expected one on the taste buds but it went down well and was quite enjoyable.
Palate (4/5): Very smooth, this one went down incredibly easily as I’ve come to expect from the style of beer. The body was about medium which was lighter than I would have expected and the carbonation levels were soft before a dry and light bitterness rounded things off.

Overall (16/20): This one was a pretty good beer and definitely a nice alternative to Guinness, particularly while in Ireland where that one seems to be everywhere. The beer was a little lighter than you might expect but it was full of flavours and very easy going down; definitely a beer worth getting your hands on.

Brewed In: Muine Bheag, County Carlow, Ireland
Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company
First Brewed: 1998
Also Known As: O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
Type:
 Irish Dry Stout
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: The Ha’Penny Bridge Inn, Dublin, Ireland
Price: €6.00 (approx. £4.76)

O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale

July 28, 2014 1 comment

Rating: 3.95

Another of the beers I managed to try whilst in Dublin now, this one being my second from the Carlow Brewing Company based in the county of the same name. I previously tried their Irish Red earlier this year when in the north of Ireland but it’s not a brewery whose beers seem to make it to the Scotland, hopefully that will change at some point though. This one is a dry hopped American pale ale, one that I tried on-tap in a Dublin restaurant and enjoyed so much that I tried it a good few more times over the course of the weekend with it quickly turning into one of my go-to beers.

O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale

Appearance (4/5): Sits as a clear, light amber colour in the glass with a creamy white head that is about two centimetres tall and holds great with almost no initial movement and some nice bits of lacing left on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Sweet with some good earthy notes coming through right at the start, there is also a freshness from the background fruits and some malts with further sweetness to back this up. There smell isn’t overly strong but manages to strike the right balance with a nice, slightly bitter finish and a few extra fruits thrown in for good measure.
Taste (8/10): The first thing that struck me with this one was that it was quite hoppy tasting, certainly more so than I was expecting with the dry hopping paying off here. There was a solid bitterness with some citrus and pine coming through alongside some of the earthy malts that featured on the nose. There was also a sweetness throughout and plenty of background fruits with some caramel too; great stuff.
Palate (4/5): Smooth on the palate with a bitter and quite hoppy feel thanks to the dry hopping. The beer was dry with medium carbonation but held a good balance from the start.

Overall (17/20): This one was a very nice tasting American pale ale and one that surprised me in just how good it was, I wasn’t expecting anything like this. The beer was hoppy and bitter from the start but had some good malts to balance things out with the finish leaving you wanting another. A beer I hope to pick up again at some point and I undoubtedly will if I can manage to find it in Scotland.

Brewed In: Muine Bheag, County Carlow, Ireland
Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2010
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: La Bon Crubeen, Dublin, Ireland
Price: €5.70 (approx. £4.52)

J.W. Sweetman Weiss

July 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

I think this one was the first beer I had on my recent trip to Dublin, a pint on-tap at the J.W. Sweetman brewpub based in the city centre. I visited the place after reading some reviews online and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed with the pub offering several of their own beers on-tap as well as a decent Irish and international selection. I had originally been wanting to try one of their special beers, the one for the World Cup initially taking my fancy but seeing as it was a Friday night when I got their I understood when it wasn’t available. The replacement for it through, this hefeweizen from them done a very good job of keeping me happy; my only regret is that I never made it back for a second pint over the course of my weekend in Dublin but there is always next time I guess.

J.W. Sweetman Weiss

Appearance (4/5): Pours a very cloudy looking and light golden colour that is light with tinges of yellow featuring. The beer almost looks like a glass of mango juice and it is topped with a small, white head that is foamy in texture and leaves some lacing on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Not the strongest smelling wheat beer I’ve encountered but the smell is noticeable with a little effort. I could detect some bubblegum and banana initially with some clove and light fruits following soon after, as does some hints of spice and a little pepper.
Taste (7/10): The taste matched the smell well, although thankfully it was also a little more pronounced with the banana seeming to play second fiddle to the bubblegum. There is a touch more spice than from the nose too and I felt the background fruits made more of an impact here as well.
Palate (4/5): Very smooth to drink, this one had touches of fizz and a slight citrus tang but it went down easily. The beer was a fresh one with some sweetness throughout and a light-medium body.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice summertime beer that went down very well indeed, I felt the beer had a good balance and there was a good helping of fruits throughout as well. It wasn’t quite up there with some of the beer German offerings of the style but it was a great beer and one I wouldn’t mind trying again at some point.

Brewed In: Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: J.W. Sweetman
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Hefeweizen
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: J.W. Sweetman, Dublin, Ireland
Price: €4.90 (approx. £3.88)

Früh Kölsch (253 of 1001)

July 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

Früh Kölsch is a beer that I’ve spotted a number of times and never really been inspired to pick a bottle up but given the fact I was about to visit Germany again prior to drinking it and I thought it would be best to accustom myself with some of their more readily available beer with the hope that I’ll be able to try the ones that are harder to find ones when I got over there. Früh is the third biggest producer of the style in Germany and was one of the few breweries in Cologne to survive the bombing of World War II, going from strength to strength after the war allowing them to introduce this beer in bottles for the first time in 1969 and in 1991 they introduced the first alcohol free version of the style. I’m pleased to say that this one marks a new style of beer for me, an increasingly rare occurrence but this one will be my first ever kölsch. The style is not one easily found in the UK given the fact that since 1997 the style has been given a protected designation of origin meaning only beers produced in the Cologne area of Germany can use the name (when sold within the EU at least). There does appear to be a number of US breweries and at least one based in the UK that do make kölsch style beers but it’s not a style often found outside Germany so maybe I’ll stumble across another few this month.

Früh Kölsch

Appearance (4/5): This one pours a very light and clear golden straw colour with a thumb-sized, very bubbly head that is quite fine in texture and white in colour. There is a lot of visible carbonation with plenty of fine bubbles in the body and head retention is relatively good with little movement over the opening couple of minutes.
Aroma (5/10): Quite like a lager on the nose with some light, sweet malts and a hint of floral, there is some subtle and grassy hops in there as well but the aroma isn’t the most pronounced in truth. There is plenty of grain, some further sweetness and some bread with touches of yeast in there as well.
Taste (6/10): The taste matches the nose fairly closely with this one, there is some light malts with touches of sweetness coming through and I could detect some bread as well. Quite a lot of grain is present as well, there is some faint floral flavours and fruit with some citrus too but again nothing is particularly strong or in your face. It’s a slight improvement on the nose but again it’s not exactly a classic.
Palate (4/5):
The beer is a light bodied, almost thin one with some grain and medium carbonation. It proved quite easy to drink with light bitter finish that is slightly tangy as well.

Overall (13/20): Very similar to a pale lager in a lot of ways, if this one is anything to go by then the two styles of beer are very similar in taste with light malts and a slightly bitter finish. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the smell of this one and but thankfully the taste was a little better and began to grow on me as I worked my way down the beer. It still wasn’t a great offering but it was certainly drinkable and well worth trying, if only to get another style under my belt.

Brewed In: Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Brewery:
Cölner Hofbräu Früh
First Brewed: 1904
Type: Kölsch
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.80

Categories: Kölsch Tags: , , , , ,

Hofbräu Maibock (252 of 1001)

July 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

This one is the second of the four German beers I picked up in Glasgow this at the end of last week, it is another hailing from Bavaria and this time coming from Hofbräuhaus in Munich. This one will be my fifth from the brewery after picking up their Oktoberfestbier in Glasgow a couple of years ago and trying the other three whilst in Munich back in 2011. Obviously being such a famous Bavarian brewery, when I spotted this from them it was an easy decision to pick it up and one that was helped not only by the fact that it features in the 1001 beers list but also because I was hoping to have found it in Munich on my last visit since I was over there in May. Sadly I couldn’t find it at that time but three years later I’m glad to get my hands on a bottle and to tick another one of the 1001 list while I’m at it.
Hofbräu Maibock

Appearance (4/5): Clear and red tinged amber with a fairly large, foamy white head that forms a dome shape on top and sits about four or five centimetre tall before eventually starting to subside after about three minutes with no movement. There is the odd touch of lacing on the sides of the glass and some visible carbonation too.
Aroma (7/10): Quite lager like on the nose initially, albeit a slightly stronger smelling lager with some solid malts and hints of sweetness coming through at the start. There is some background fruit and a pleasant freshness to the beer with some subtle grassy hops and very faint hints of alcohol too.
Taste (7/10): This one start with quite a malty taste combined with some sweetness from the fruits and some spice. It’s definitely quite clean and fresh with some bitterness towards the end but in truth this is minimal. Grassy hops feature from about the middle on and are fairly subtle with the balanced malt taste grabbing all the headlines here.
Palate (4/5):
Clean, well balanced and quite a full bodied beer with quite light carbonation and an pleasantly bitter aftertaste that compliments the beer very well indeed. The beer is ridiculously smooth and goes down very easily making it a pleasure to drink.

Overall (15/20): Quite an enjoyable one from Hofbräuhaus despite the fact that there wasn’t exactly a whole lot going on with this one other than the balance malts throughout. The beers most appealing aspects were the full bodied and smooth taste as well as how easy it was to sip away, this heller bock going down particularly easy with a great, lingering bitter aftertaste that stays with you; definitely a beer well worth grabbing if you get the chance.

Brewed In: Munich, Germany
Brewery:
Staatliches Hofbräuhaus München
First Brewed: 1614
Also Known As:
 Hofbräu Urbock
Type: Maibock / Heller Bock
Abv: 7.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £3.60

6-Korn Bier (251 of 1001)

July 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.2

This one is a beer that I only picked up at the end of last week having popped into my local bottle shop to grab a few German beers to set me up for my trip to the north of the country starting this week. This is one of four German beers I picked up, this one along with two others feature on the 1001 beers list which is part of the reason for starting with this one. The beer is marketed as a specialty grain but I couldn’t work that out from the bottle, instead thinking it was a hefeweizen going by the picture on the back label of the beer. I was intrigued by this one having a screw cap with a tamper-evident band on it, something I’m used to seeing on only the cheapest beers in litre plus bottles when abroad; the fact that this supposedly good beer has one is something new to me. The beer takes its name from the fact that six different malted grains are used in the brewing process. I’m glad I picked this one up before going to Germany again as I believe it only normally makes it as far north as Bremen which is a city I’ll only be spending about a day in so I doubt I’d be lucky enough to find it there, and if I do then at least I’ll know what to expect.
6-Korn Bier

Appearance (4/5): Pours a dark amber colour that is quite cloudy and is topped with a fingers-width tall, foamy to creamy white head that holds pretty good over the opening minutes before eventually having in size.
Aroma (6/10): This one starts with a lot of malts and some bread coming through, there is some sweetness present as well but it’s the malts that the beer takes its name from that truly dominate proceedings. It’s not particularly strong on the nose, there is some bitterness and wheat with the beer almost hinting at being a hefeweizen with some background fruits and further grain.
Taste (6/10): Wheat and banana kick things off with the beer again seeming like a hefeweizen but the grains and some strong malts soon take over with touches of sweetness as well. Around the middle some caramel and further grains start to come through and although the beer wasn’t the greatest to begin with, almost seeming bland, it did pick up around the middle with some spice featuring as well.
Palate (3/5): Lots of grain and some sweetness on top of a light-medium body and medium carbonation. There is some spice and a dry finish that is followed by quite a bitter aftertaste.

Overall (12/20): This one is a fairly average offering in truth, it starts with some wheat and spice with background fruits but it still seems to come across as quite a bland one before improving some around the middle. The aftertaste was really bitter and lingered with it seeming overdone slightly. The beer was definitely drinkable but it wasn’t overly enjoyable and won’t be one I’ll pick up again.

Brewed In: Thalmässing, Bavaria, Germany
Brewery: Pyraser Landbrauerei
First Brewed: 2003
Type: Specialty Grain
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £3.00

Dead Metaphor

July 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Another one-off Brewdog release here, Dead Metaphor is a joint effort from two UK based beer bloggers (Rob from Hopzine and Rich from The Beer Cast) brewed at Brewdogs Fraserburgh brewery last year. The beer is a coffee and chocolate infused, Scottish breakfast stout with the Scottish part taken from the fact that they used some oatmeal in the brewing process to give it a nice twist. This one was released back in October last year and I believe I grabbed a bottle earlier in 2014 but I can’t honestly remember all that well. It’s one that I had been saving for a lazy morning/early afternoon whilst enjoying a day off but I recently realised that it was one of the few bottles I had left that comes in at under 9% abv. and decided this one might be best for a school night whilst enjoying some World Cup action; this one clocks in at a more reasonable 3.4% for those interested.
Dead Metaphor

Appearance (4/5): A deep black with a thick and creamy looking head that is a light brown in colour, starting about two and a half centimetres tall before settling down to a thin lacing that covers the surface of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Roasted malts and rich, dark chocolate notes initially with a solid coffee aroma and some earthy notes coming through. There is a little sweetness from the chocolate and a little lactose comes through as well but the smell is pretty much as you’d expect from a stout with nothing out of the ordinary really. The nose is rounded out with some liquorice and touches of sugar as swell before some bitterness closes things out.
Taste (7/10): Dark chocolate and some sweetness coming through along with some coffee but the chocolate seems more pronounced. There is a few earthy malts and touches of bitterness with a definite lactose and milky taste with some cream too. The taste was a good, well-rounded one and it went down well.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, soft carbonation with a semi-sweet mouthfeel and a dry, clean finish that is incredibly smooth going down.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a good stout from Brewdog, it had a good balance and was very easy-going down. I was struggling to detect much in the way of the oatmeal mentioned on the bottle, the beer almost tasted like a milk or sweet stout in places but it was a taste that I enjoyed despite the fact there wasn’t too much out of the ordinary with this one; a good beer but probably not a classic.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2013
Also Known As: Brewdog Scottish Chocolate Breakfast Stout
Type: Oatmeal Stout
Abv: 6.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

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