Posts Tagged ‘northern ireland’

Ewe Rebel

Rating: 3.9

A second beer from Whitewater in quick succession, this one following on from their Maggie’s Leap that I reviewed here last and is another I picked up whilst in Ireland; my tenth in total from the brewery. This one is relatively strong from an Irish brewed IPA, coming in at 7% abv. and is one that I picked up pretty much for that reason alone, my thinking being that it would actually be more American in style which can only be a good thing for this type of offering; I’m quite a big fan of the brewery’s Hoppelhammer beer and that’s one I’ve picked up a few times now so hopefully this one turns out to be a similar offering and I can go back to again in future.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a hazy amber with orange and light copper tinges, the head is a centimetre tall one that sits quite foamy and covers the surface completely with little subsidence or reduction in height over the opening minutes which was nice to see.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh and quite fruity on the nose initially with some citrus hops and touches of pine coming through as well. The beer is sweeter than anticipated with a few caramel malts in the early going too, there’s touches of biscuit in there too though. Beyond that some mango and orange shows, as does a little grapefruit to add the the bitterness before some subtle spice and sugars see things out.
Taste (8/10): Opening with some nice citrus hops again, the beer was fresh but probably not quite as sweet at the nose with some orange and mango still coming through alongside a few other background fruits. It’s an balanced taste with the sweet malts and caramel from the nose still featuring with a few sugars further on too but they’re a touch less pronounced than the nose without being weak.
Palate (4/5): A medium bodied beer that was fresh and lively with fine carbonation and a nice tang. It opened very sweet before settling down some with a good combination of background fruits working well with the caramel and sweet malts. It was relatively well-balanced and easy going with a smooth, semi-dry finish as well.

Overall (16/20): Really nice stuff from Whitewater and easily one of their best, this one buck the recent trend from them and is a very enjoyable beer that kicks off with a pleasant sweetness from the caramel and sweet malts followed by some nice citrus hops and subtle tropical fruits. It was a balanced and easy-to-drink beer with a fresh feel and good carbonation levels, definitely one of theirs that I’ll pick up again when I’m back in Ireland.

Brewed In: Saintfield, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Whitewater Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Dolan Centra (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.00


Whitewater Maggie’s Leap IPA

July 5, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 2.9

The first of two Whitewater bottles I picked up recently in Ireland, this one and a bottle of their Ewe Rebel that I quick looking forward to were available together for a discounted £4 so I quickly grabbed the pair since I’d been looking to pick up this particular beer from the brewery for some time now after reading about it online a number of years ago. This one will be my ninth beer from the County Down based brewery with all ten of those being beers that I’ve picked up and tried in Ireland since they brewery doesn’t really appear to export anything over the Irish channel and I have seen a couple more of their beers in supermarkets in the north of Ireland so perhaps I’ll pick up a few more later this year as well.

Appearance (4/5): Pale golden amber and quite a clear body with a lot of fizz showing. The beer is topped with a very foamy, thick looking white head that’s got a few holes through it and sticks to the sides of the glass as well.
Aroma (5/10): Quite fresh and floral in the early going with a few biscuit malts but it starts to fade a little too soon after that. There’s some herbal notes and a touch of earthy hop around alongside some lemon from the middle on. It’s basic on the nose but balanced, nothing jumps out at you either though which was a little disappointing.
Taste (6/10): Biscuit malts and some bread ones too, the beer is floral and has some grassy hops coming through alongside quite an earthy taste. There’s some faint citrus and herbal flavours further on with lemon and background fruits showing before some subtle, almost roasted malts see things out.
Palate (2/5): Medium bodied and quite clean with a crispness to it and a subtle tang from the citrus as well. It’s earthy throughout with a moderate bitterness further on but I definitely found it a little bland and one-dimensional too.

Overall (12/20): Average stuff from Whitewater here, this one opened with some nice sweetness and a few earthy flavours as well as the usual grassy hops and background fruits but it was definitely a basic offering that didn’t offer much in the way of imagination. There was a few floral touches in the early going too and it was a relatively bitter beer but it seemed too weak on the nose and too one-dimensional tasting; it’s not a beer I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Saintfield, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Whitewater Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Dolan Centra (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.00

Massey Red Ale

Rating: 2.95

The third of three new Hillstown beers that I picked up in Tesco recently whilst visiting Ireland, this one will be my fifth overall from the brewery after I also tried a couple of there beers at the end of last year and into the start of this one. The last beer from the brewery that I reviewed here, The Goats Butt hefeweizen was actually the best that I’ve tried from the brewery so far and their The Spitting Llama before it was a decent beer too so I’m hopeful this one turns out decent as well. The beer itself is an Irish red ale and is one I picked up as part of an offer in Tesco, overlooking a pale lager from the brewery in favour of this one so perhaps I’ll head back at some point and try the lager too since I’ve enjoyed the last two from the brewery.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark amber that that’s somewhere between copper and mahogany in colour and topped with quite a thick head that’s a creamy texture and off-white in colour, starting about an inch and a half tall and managing to hold quite well over the opening few minutes which was impressive.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly floral initially which wasn’t expected but the caramel and sweet malts come through straight after with some nice earthy notes and a little citrus at this point too. It was a fresh beer but quite balanced too with a couple background fruits that included apple, light berries and some apple too. It wasn’t the most varied or pronounced offering on the nose but it got things started and wasn’t offensive in anyway at least.
Taste (6/10): Opening with some floral touches again and a few biscuit malts, the beer was more earthy tasting than the nose hinted it but for the most part it was quite sweet. Towards the middle some berries and fruity esters started to show but it was a relatively subdued taste for the most part with some caramel towards the end alongside some faintly nutty flavours.
Palate (2/5): Smooth and medium bodied but softly carbonated and a little bland at times, it was definitely a subdued beer and not the freshest feeling either. This was a subtle sweetness around the middle after a floral start but the beer seeemed a little one-dimensional and didn’t have enough going for it to really grab my attention sadly.

Overall (11/20): Quite disappointing from Hillstown again here, the beer was fairly one-dimensional and basic throughout with some floral flavours opening things followed by some biscuit malts and background fruits but not much beyond that. It was quite earthy yet bland at the same time with a few nutty flavours and malts coming through but it’s definitely not the best nor is it one that I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Randalstown, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hillstown Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Irish Red Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.75

The Goats Butt

July 5, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.8

A second Hillstown beer in a row and my fourth overall, this one follows on from their The Spitting Llama tripel offering that I tried last and is another that I picked up at a Tesco store in Ireland recently. The beer is an Irish brewed hefeweizen and follows on from the likes of J.W. Sweetman’s Weiss, Franciscan Well’s Friar Weisse and Knockout’s Hefeweizen Max as the fourth Irish hefeweizen that I’ve reviewed here although only the first of those three was a decent offering so hopefully this one can turns things around after two relatively poor Irish hefeweizen’s in a row. The beer is also one that has managed to win medals at the All Ireland Craft Beer Championships two years running as well as being rewards at the Great Taste Awards so I’m hopeful this one turns out to be a decent offering worth picking up again at some point.

Appearance (5/5): A really nice looking beer, this one pours a hazy amber colour that’s quite fizzy and pale in the centre. The head is quite a thick, tall one that’s about an inch and a half tall, quite creamy and dome shapes with it rising slightly long after the beer was poured; a great start from this one and exactly as you’d expect from a hefeweizen.
Aroma (6/10): Fairly light on the nose without being weak, the beer opens with some subtle banana notes and a touch of biscuit with some yeast and faint citrus sitting in the background. It’s a relatively fresh offering that has some lemon in there too but it’s definitely a subdued nose without being a bad one.
Taste (7/10): Fruity to begin with a lot of banana kicking things off alongside some background yeast and a nice citrus backing; there was some orange and lemon showing in the early going. Around the middle some wheat did show with a little spice in there too but it’s the bananas the dominate with this one.
Palate (4/5): Medium, almost full-bodied and quite a smooth, creamy offering with moderate to fine carbonation but one that still seems quite lively and fresh. It’s a crisp beer towards the end with some nice sweetness from the bananas without anything overpowering; quite a balanced and easy-going beer that went down well.

Overall (14/20): Quite a nice hefeweizen without being anything memorable or quite on the level of some of the Bavarian efforts I’ve tried in the past, the beer is quite sweet with the banana flavours dominating for the most part but some yeast and subtle citrus flavours showing at points. It was quite a smooth and balanced beer that was easy to drink with a few fruits in the background too. Interesting stuff and easy one of the better Irish wheat beers that I’ve tried without being one that you’d rush out and buy again, certainly not when there’s a German wheat beer available too.

Brewed In: Randalstown, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hillstown Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Hefeweizen
Abv: 5.3%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.75

The Spitting Llama

July 5, 2018 2 comments

Rating: 3.65

My third Hillstown Brewery beer now, this is another that I picked up from a Tesco store when in Ireland and follows on from their Squealing Pig English IPA and their Horny Bull imperial stout from around Christmas time last year, although I wasn’t a huge fan of either of those offerings so hopefully this one will be better. I was attracted to this one as it’s labelled as a tripel which is an unusual style of beer from an Irish brewery and I’m interested to see how that turns out, part of me has a feeling that it will end up closer to a golden ale but the 7% abv. of this one is reassuring and I’m quietly optimistic that this could be a good one

Appearance (4/5): Quite a clear amber colour with a few orange tinges and a white head on top that’s foamy but quite thin, sitting a millimetre or two tall before turning patchy after twenty seconds or so.
Aroma (6/10): Disappointingly subdued on the nose for the style and the strength of the beer, there’s some light grassy notes and a touch of yeast in there early going but not too much else sadly. I got some apple with a faint sweetness that had touches of butter and background spice coming through. Towards the end some pear and a hint of alcohol shows but it was underwhelming for the most part without being a bad smelling offering.
Taste (7/10): A touch more pronounced and variety with the taste, there was some yeast and spices in the early going as well as some banana that I’d been expecting with the nose but that was sadly missing. There’s some apple and pear coming through as well with a slightly floral taste that has some butterscotch sweetness backing things up; a definite improvement on the nose with a touch of warming alcohol at the end.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and spicy with a lot of Belgian yeast upfront that works well with the citrus to provide a nice tang to proceedings. The balance wasn’t the best with the nose far too weak and bland but the banana and butterscotch sweetness around the middle was a welcome one. Overall the beer is quite boozy and warming, especially towards the end of what was a moderately carbonated but fairly crisp offering.

Overall (15/20): Good stuff in the end, the beer definitely didn’t get off to the best of starts with an average appearance and an underwhelming nose that was too weak and bland for a 7% abv. tripel but thankfully the taste turned things around with some good banana sweetness and background fruits. There was a good butterscotch backing with some apple and touches of pear in there, both of these working well with the moderate carbonating and the subtle citrus tang. A nice offering that went down well in the end but isn’t really a patch on some of the better Belgian offerings that I’ve tried of late.

Brewed In: Randalstown, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hillstown Brewery
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Tripel
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.75

Rathlin Red

January 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.8

The final beer of those that I picked up and tried while in Ireland over the Christmas holidays, this one is a County Antrim brewed beer from the Glens of Antrim brewery that I sampled on my last night in the country. Like a lot of the beers that I tried over the holidays, this one is another from a brewery that I’ve not come across before and is one that I picked up in a local bottle shop for that reason alone. The beer is an Irish red ale that I was surprised to learn uses Slovenian hops and will likely be one of my last new Irish beers until I return to the country later this year, mainly because I’ve tried most of the beers from the country that manage to make it to Scotland already

Appearance (3/5): A dark caramel amber that was hazy and topped with a half centimetre tall head that had a bubbly texture and white colour; it managed to hold well initially before a couple of patches slowly formed around a minute or so.
Aroma (6/10): Quite earthy with a lot of toasted malts and some background sweetness, the beer had some toffee showing initially with a touch less caramel following on behind. Around the middle I started to get some honey sweetness and a few biscuit malts with a roasted aroma seeing things out.
Taste (5/10): Sweeter than the nose with a lot more toffee showing and there was probably slightly more caramel coming through as well. These were followed by some biscuit malts, toasted flavours and a little bread with some nutty touches further on. Towards the end the sweetness continued with some honey and vanilla showing as well as some spice and basic malts.
Palate (3/5): Falling just shy of medium bodied, the beer was slightly lighter than I’d been hoping for but it was quite a smooth one with plenty of sweetness showing throughout. The balance wasn’t the best in truth and it wasn’t overly enjoyable either sadly but it was moderately carbonated and dry towards the end with a toasted bitterness seeing things out.

Overall (10/20): Quite a disappointing offering from Glens of Antrim and one that I’d been hoping for more from, it was a little poor with the sweetness a little more pronounced than expected too. There wasn’t a great deal of variety to the nose and although the beer did improve slightly with the taste, it’s not likely that it’s a beer that I’d go back to again.

Brewed In: Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Glens Of Antrim
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Irish Red Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.79

Lacada West Bay

January 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

My first beer from the County Antrim based Lacada Brewery in the north of Ireland and another beer that I picked up just before Christmas whilst visiting the country. I opened this one a couple of days after Christmas while it was still fresh and although it wasn’t a beer that I’d been aware of previously, I was looking forward to seeing how it turned out given it’s not one that I’m likely to see in Scotland anytime soon. Part of the Irish brewery’s Salamander Series, this one is a new citra pale ale for 2017 from a brewery that only launched back in October 2015 so hopefully I’ll see a few more of the brewery’s beer when I make return trips to Ireland later this year.

Appearance (4/5): A hazy, almost copper amber colour that had a centimetre tall, bubbly white head on top that started to turn foamy on the surface but managed to hold well initially without much break up.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a lot of hops open things up with some citrus and pine coming through strong and some touches of grapefruit not too far behind. The beer was definitely a fresh and zesty one with some lemongrass and a few pale malts towards the middle before some biscuit malts rounded things off.
Taste (6/10): Quite a zesty tasting beer with strong citrus/lemon flavours initially, there was some strong hops and grapefruit at this point too. Towards the middle I got some pale malts that seemed a touch stronger than they were with the nose and a hop bitterness started to appear towards the end alongside some lighter fruits.
Palate (3/5): Light bodied and a touch watery at points, the beer was moderately carbonated with a slight citrus tang and some hop bitterness but seemed quite basic and weak at points too sadly.

Overall (12/20): Quite an underwhelming beer that was interesting on the nose but faded come the taste with only some basic hops and citrus flavours coming through. At times it seemed closer an IPA than a pale ale but it started to fade towards the middle and end, seeming weak and bland at points; it’s not one I’d go for again.

Brewed In: Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Lacada Brewery Co-Op
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Lacada Salamander Series #5: West Bay Citra Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Winemart (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.39