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Kinnegar Devil’s Backbone

Rating: 3.15

My ninth from Kinnegar and beer that follows on from their Crossroads American IPA that I had last and very much enjoyed. This one is the last of the four beers from the brewery that I picked up in Donegal Town and might be my last new offering from the brewery for a while as very few of their beers make it over to Scotland. It’s a beer that I read a little about a few years ago and highlighted as a beer I was looking forward to trying from Ireland which is why it was one of the beers from Kinnegar that I was quick to grab.

Appearance (4/5):A caramel to copper amber, the body is hazy and the head sits about a centimetre tall and tan coloured with a foamy texture that covers the surface well and has a few bubbles sitting on top as well. Head retention is okay as well with about half the height disappearing over the opening minute but the surface remains covered for the most part before eventually getting thinner around one side.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some bread malts and biscuit initially but it wasn’t the strongest on the nose, I had to let it open up a little to let the aroma come through. There’s a few earthy hops showing and a slightly butty aroma too with hints of spice but I was really looking for this one to be stronger and show me something which it really didn’t sadly.
Taste (6/10): Thankfully a little stronger than the nose with some nice biscuit malts and earthy hops coming through initially. Towards the middle I got background sweetness and hints of caramel before a few bread malts and hints of toast started to come through; it’s definitely more pronounced than the nose but still not a strong beer really.
Palate (3/5): Earthy and quite sharp, the beer was a light-medium body that could have been a little fuller but it didn’t seem thin at least. The carbonation levels were moderate and there was a subtle bitterness throughout but it definitely seemed a tad bland at points. It’s relatively well balanced but still not the greatest, probably because it wasn’t as pronounced as I’d have expected or liked.

Overall (11/20): Quite a disappointing offering from Kinnegar, especially after how much I enjoyed their Crossroads IPA but this one was far too subdued and light, particularly with the nose which was bordering on weak at points. Things improved slightly come the taste with more of the bitter malts and earthy hops coming through alongside some biscuit flavours but it’s not a classic and I can’t imagine it’s one that I’d pick up again either.

Brewed In: Rathmullan, County Donegal, Ireland
Brewery: Kinnegar Brewing
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Paul’s Off License (Donegal)
Price: €3.25 (approx. £2.85)

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Kinnegar Crossroads

July 4, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.8

An eighth Kinnegar beer for me now and an American IPA from the brewery that I picked up in Donegal Town alongside their White Rabbit and Swingletree offerings reviewed here previously. The beer is a 2015 release from the brewery that was a special to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the McHughs off-license in Dublin before becoming a year-round offering from Kinnegar. The beer is one that I’ve spotted online previously but never in store anywhere I’ve been in Ireland so I was quick to grab a bottle when I spotted it. Previously known as ‘Roadtrip’, the beer has since been renamed Crossroads and has even been available in the UK via Brewdog’s website so I hope that means it’s a good one given it’s apparently better distributed than most Irish craft beers; fingers crossed.

Appearance (4/5): Quite bright looking and hazy, the beer is an orange amber colour with a large head that sits about an inch tall and looks quite foamy with a few bubbles through it. Head retention is quite good with a slight reduction in size initially but holds around two centimetres tall after that; a nice start.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh and fruity with some good tropical notes in the early going, I got some mango and apricot followed by a few citrus hops and touches of pine. It’s lively but not overpowering, there’s some pineapple towards the middle before a few light malts start to come through and help with the balance thanks to a touch of sweetness near the end. It’s a pleasant nose but it could perhaps have been slightly more pronounced, particularly with regards to the malts but it was enjoyable enough.
Taste (7/10): Tropical and fruity with some nice mango and apricot again followed by a solid sweetness that’s more pronounced than it was with the nose thanks to the caramel and sweet malts. It’s a slightly floral beer with citrus and pine towards the middle with a good hop bitterness backing it up; good stuff again from Kinnegar.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and floral with quite a sharp feel and strong carbonation, the beer is lively and gets more sweet as things progress with a nice citrus and pine bitterness as well as some faint spices.

Overall (16/20): This one is a very nice IPA from Kinnegar and one that went down easily after opening with some nice tropical fruits that included both mango and apricot. There’s some good hop bitterness and plenty of citrus flavours with the sweetness a little light on the nose but present before it started to become more pronounced and noticeable with the taste. It was lively and sharp with a dry finish but it was exactly what I’d expect from an American IPA and one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Rathmullan, County Donegal, Ireland
Brewery: Kinnegar Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Previously Known As: Roadtrip
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Paul’s Off License (Donegal)
Price: €3.25 (approx. £2.85)

Swingletree

July 4, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.7

A second of Kinnegar’s ‘special’ offerings now, this one follows on from their White Rabbit wheat ale that I tried last and is another I picked up on a recent day-trip to Donegal Town. This particular offering is a 7% abv. saison from the brewery and is one that I’m excited to try given it’s alcohol content so hopefully it won’t let me down. The beer with also be the seventh Kinnegar beer that I’ll have tried and after the disappointment of their White Rabbit I’m hoping this can turn things around for the brewery that I’m usually a fan of.

Appearance (4/5): A pale and very hazy golden colour with a large, two and a bit inch tall head that’s very foamy and white in colour with good retention too, there’s little movement initially and there’s a good bit of lacing on the sides of the glass as well.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh with a lot of citrus and yeast upfront, there’s some banana sweetness too with a lot of background fruits as well; I got some clove and apple further on with a definite hint of a wheat beer to this one in the early going. Towards the end there was some spice coming through as well but it was very lively over all with a few subtle hops dotted about the place too.
Taste (7/10): Opening with lots of citrus and Belgian yeast, there’s some lemon and orange coming through with some subtle hops and a couple of earthy malts as well. There’s more spice and sweetness towards the middle with the banana and clove from the nose featuring alongside some bubblegum and coriander too with some sour touches and funk right at the end.
Palate (4/5): Quite lively and crisp, this one is strongly carbonated and sharp too with a citrus tang throughout which helped give it a refreshing feel. Its as you’d expect from a saison with a slight sourness and some tart at points as well.

Overall (14/20): Fresh and lively, the beer is quite tang too with some funk and tart coming through but it’s lighter in that regard than normal for a saison. It’s a strongly carbonated offering with plenty of Belgian yeast and a nice citrus taste too but further on I got a combination of banana, clove and even some bubblegum that made it seem like a wheat beer at points around the middle. Nice stuff from the brewery and a solid saison, one that I enjoyed probably because the tart and sourness weren’t quite as strong as I’d have expected from the style though.

Brewed In: Rathmullan, County Donegal, Ireland
Brewery: Kinnegar Brewing
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Paul’s Off License (Donegal)
Price: €3.25 (approx. £2.85)

Kinnegar White Rabbit

July 4, 2018 2 comments

Rating: 3.25

The first of four beers from Donegal based Kinnegar Brewing now, this one is a beer that I managed pick up on a visit to Donegal Town were I stopped off an a bottle shop I visited a couple of years ago as well; this time grabbing the only four beers from the brewery I hadn’t already tried. The beer itself is labelled as a ‘White Session IPA’ but it’s basically a wheat ale when you drink it so I’m not sure how the brewery came up with the IPA part. The beer will be sixth from Kinnegar and my first since thoroughly enjoying a bottle of their Rustbucket beer back in the summer of 2015, also when visiting Ireland and again another beer I picked up in Donegal Town on my last visit there.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a clear but very fizzy looking beer, this one is a pale golden colour and it’s topped with a foamy white head that starts about two or three inches tall with a sloped surface and quite a thick texture to it. Head retention is much better than I’d have expected with no subsidence in the opening few minutes and still a tonne of bubbles rising to the surface too.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and floral with lemon notes dominating in the early going followed by some grassy hops and a further touch of citrus. The beer is lively with some background fruity esters and subtle wheat. It’s not all that complex a beer with very little beyond the initial lemon and grassy notes showing for the most parts but there was some light bitterness at the end too.
Taste (6/10): Zesty with some nice citrus and lemon initially followed by background wheat and a few floral flavours; there’s some faint spice here too. Around the middle some wheat, light biscuit and the odd earthy hop starts to show but again it’s basic with some orange and pine seeing things out alongside a soft bitterness.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and quite fresh, the beer is tangy with a crisp and sharp feel as well as lively carbonation. It’s not overly complex but remains easy to drink without really exciting at anypoint; a basic beer in truth.

Overall (13/20): Not the best from Kinnegar, the beer was quite fresh and floral with a lot of lemon and citrus opening alongside some background fruits and wheat but it was definitely missing something and seemed a little bland at points. It was crisp and well-carbonated with a crisp, sharp feel but it didn’t grab my attention at any point and I can’t imagine it will prove memorable either. There was a light bitterness seeing things out with some pine and grapefruit too but it’s definitely nothing special sadly and it’ll likely be a one-off trying this one for me.

Brewed In: Rathmullan, County Donegal, Ireland
Brewery: Kinnegar Brewing
First Brewed: 2013
Full Name: Kinnegar White Rabbit Session IPA
Type: Wheat Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Pauls Off License (Donegal)
Price: €3.25 (approx. £2.85)

The White Hag Little Fawn

June 29, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Only my second from The White Hag after seeing their beers a few times in Ireland now but never picking them up. This one follows on from the brewery’s Bran & Sceolan Irish IPA that I tried back in April after getting it as part of a Beer52 order and quite enjoying it, so I was glad to find this one available along with a few others from the brewery when I visited Sligo on a recent trip to Ireland, although this was the only beer from the brewery that I picked up on that occasion. The beer is another that I’d read about some time ago and decided to try if I managed to spot it in Ireland, the other of their beers I was hoping to try was their Black Boar oatmeal stout but sadly I couldn’t find that this time around so this one will have to do for now. The beer is a relatively light 4.2% abv. session IPA which as you know isn’t my favourite type of beer but I’m hopeful that the good reviews are accurate and this one goes down well; I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Appearance (4/5): Pale golden coloured with a thumb-sized, foamy white head on top that has a few bubbles through it and plenty rising to the surface too. Head retention is good for the syle with the texture changing to more of a bubbly one as a little of the height is lost but it still looks quite thick and covers the surface well.
Aroma (7/10): Very fruity and surprisingly strong initially for a session IPA, there’s some mango and pineapple coming through with some touches of apricot and peach too. Towards the middle it settles down ever so slightly with citrus and subtle grapefruit hops coming through at this point with some spice a little further on. It’s zesty and lively on the nose with a couple of juicy notes to round things off without it begin quite as pronounced as it started.
Taste (7/10): Matching the nose well, the beer is fruity with a lot of tropical flavours kicking things off and providing a nice hop bitterness at the same time thanks to the citrus and pine flavours, it even seems ever so slightly dank at this stage too without that taste coming through too strongly. There was a nice combination of mango and pineapple featuring around the middle with some peach and passion fruit too; it hinted at some resinous pine and grapefruit towards the end too but it wasn’t quite strong enough in that respect.
Palate (4/5): Fresh with a light-medium body and quite a lot of tropical fruits coming through to impart a touch of sweetness. It’s faintly dank and resinous but given it’s a session IPA it wasn’t quite strong enough there. There was moderate to fine carbonation level and it seemed quite lively and sharp towards the end, before fading right at the end.

Overall (13/20): Getting off to quite a good start, this one definitely seemed stronger than expected for a session IPA with some nice tropical fruits and citrus flavours coming through alongside a faintly resinous pine; I got some mango and peach alongside pineapple and quite a few other fruits sitting in the background too. The balance was quite good initially, although it did fade ever so slightly towards the end of the taste whilst remaining drinkable. I was surprised by this one a lot and if only it could have been a tiny bit more pronounced, or if it hadn’t faded right at the end then it would have been a must-try; it was still a nice beer though in spite of this.

Brewed In: Ballymote, County Sligo, Ireland
Brewery: The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2015
Full Name: The White Hag Little Fawn Session IPA
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Hargadon Bros (Sligo, Ireland)
Price: €3.10 (approx. £2.72)

Rockshore Irish Lager

June 29, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.05

A new beer from Guinness for 2018, this is a beer that I first spotted in a bar in Donegal Town recently but never ended up trying on that occasion but when I spotted it in another bar in Fermanagh where it was the only beer I hadn’t tried it was then that I decided to finally give it a try. I was a little worried that it would be a relatively poor lager from the brewery and one that tries to jump on the Hop House 13 bandwagon since that one has proved quite a successful beer for Guinness. Who knows if this one will become another permanent offering from the brewery so I guess it’s good I’ve been able to try it while it is but if the taste is anything to go by then I don’t anticipate it being around for very long.

Appearance (4/5): Pale, golden straw in colour with quite a clear body that has a lot of bubbles rising to the surface. The head is a foamy and straight looking one that sits about a centimetre tall and holds well throughout with some nice lacing on the sides of the glass too; not a bad looking effort for the style really.
Aroma (4/10): Plain, even for the style, with some straw and grassy notes opening things but it was definitely quite a light offering. There was some hay and corn towards the middle with a few adjuncts coming through but not a lot else beyond that other than a couple of subtle lager malts to see things out.
Taste (2/10): Grassy hops and a few light adjuncts kick things off alongside some hay and straw before the odd earthy malt features. It was definitely a light offering with a cheap and basic feel that had some bread flavours and touches of bitterness further on; it tasted awful though.
Palate (2/5): Light to light-medium bodied, the beer is quite basic but falls short of being thin. It’s a cheap and basic offering though and one that seemed bland with a light and faint hop bitterness on top of average carbonation for the still; very poor stuff sadly.

Overall (2/20): This one was an awful beer and every bit the macro-pale lager that I feared when ordering this one, a beer that I’d likely have avoided had there been anything else new available in the bar. The beer started poorly with quite a weak nose and it got progressively worse after that, the taste in particular being a bad one with an overload of corn and basic adjuncts. There was a faint bitterness alongside some hay and grassy flavours but there really wasn’t much to this one and it was a real struggle to finish, I ended up leaving half of it and it’s not a beer I’ll have again.

Brewed In: Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: St. James’s Gate Brewery
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: Keg (Pint)
Purchased: Frank’s Bar, Lisnaskea, North of Ireland
Price: £3.25

Boyne Session IPA

June 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

My sixth beer from the Boyne Brewhouse now, a brewery that I’ve no idea why I keep picking up beers from given the five I’ve tried already have been poor to average at best. This one is a beer that I picked up alongside the brewery’s very disappointing Vienna Lager whilst in Ireland recently, mainly because I panicked in the shop and grabbed two Boyne beers without thinking but my hoping was that they’d both be a turning point for the brewery in my eyes; the Vienna Lager was terrible so it’s all down to this one now. The beer is a Session IPA, a style of beer that I’m not usually the biggest fan of but I have tried a few good ones of the style and perhaps it’s a style this County Meath brewery can brew well; let’s find out.

Appearance (4/5): Light than expected for the style, this one pours a slightly hazy golden yellow to pale amber colour and is topped with a half centimetre head that is white and bubbly with more build up around the circumference but quite thin nearer the middle.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and quite hop-filled initially, this one is a dry beer on the nose with some citrus hops and lemon coming through alongside some faint grapefruit and peach. There’s a hind of tropical fruit initially with some orange and apricot before some background biscuit malts and grassy notes start to appear but it’s much better than the last few from the brewery so far and I’m happy with the start despite the fact it could have been a touch more pronounced.
Taste (5/10): More subdued than the nose with less hops showing but still somewhat fresh, the beer kicks off with some grassy hops and hay followed by faint citrus and floral backing. The tropical fruits seem to be missing come the taste though, something that was a little disappointing but not the end of the world; towards the end some lemon, melon and some sweet touches see things out.
Palate (3/5):Light bodied but pushing towards medium bodied and not quite getting there, this one was had some nice hops showing early with the nose but it died down a little soon after and seemed a little bland come the taste sadly. It’s was lightly carbonated but quite crisp and seemed fresh initially before fading towards the end; disappointing in the end.

Overall (11/20): I went into this one with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised in the early going when some nice hops and background tropical fruits started to come through but sadly this was short lived and the beer faded dramatically soon after. There was a freshness initially that subsided all too soon and the tropical fruits all but disappeared come the taste; a beer that could have been so much better but ended up finishing as poorly as the five other Boyne Brewhouse beers that I’ve tried before it; definitely a brewery I’ll try to avoid in future.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: Can (150ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67