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Posts Tagged ‘northern ireland’

InishMacSaint Pure Foundered

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

A fourth beer from Fermanagh based InishMacSaint here and my first from them since trying their Muck Savage wheat ale on Christmas Day back in 2015. The first beer from the brewery that I ever tried, their self-titled InishMacSaint proved to be quite an enjoyable offering but the Muck Savage as well as their Lough Erne Porter that I have tried since never really excited me much; both were drinkable but nothing special sadly. I picked this one up when I spotted it at a local bottle shop in Fermanagh last month with the hope that it would be an improvement on the last couple from the brewery; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it a couple of weeks ago.

Appearance (3/5): Bright golden to yellow in cloudy with a cloudy body but a head that disappeared quiet quickly, even after an aggressive pour from the bottle. It more of a thin and bubbly white lacing that formed above a few fine bubbles that were rising to the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Quite light on the nose with some citrus and floral touches opening things up alongside a faint hint of orange and some cloves towards the middle. There was an almost witbier like aroma to this one at times with some background fruits helping to keep things fresh but it was far from the strongest beer out there.
Taste (7/10): Quite fruity and opening with a nice combination of citrus and orange flavours before the cloves from the nose started to come through. There was a little wheat this time around too which lent weight to the beer seeming like a witbier at times as well. There was some floral bursts around the middle with the odd pale malts and some grassy flavours sneaking in too but again it wasn’t an overly pronounced offering from the brewery.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied but perhaps a little lighter than I’d have liked to see, the beer was quite fresh and lively though with above average carbonation and some good floral bursts too. There was a dry and crisp feel to this one that seemed to have a nice balance as well; decent stuff from InnishMacSaint.

Overall (13/20): This one was a slightly better than expected offering from the brewery, I’d not been overly optimistic about this one after the last couple from them weren’t overly enjoyable but this one turned out okay without ever really exciting or hitting the heights of their original InishMacSaint beer. The beer started relatively poorly thanks to its lack of head and weaker than expected aroma but things definitely picked up a little with the nose and some nice citrus flavours started to appear alongside basic fruits. At times the beer was much closer to a witbier than a Belgian pale ale with wheat, cloves and the odd spice all featuring but it proved an easy one to drink whilst staying fresh throughout.

Brewed In: Drumskimly, Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Inishmacsaint Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Belgian Pale Ale
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.49

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McGrath’s Irish Stout

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

My third beer to fall under the McGrath’s banner and my second in relatively quick succession, this one follows on from the Clanconnel  brewery’s McGrath’s Irish Blonde that I tried only a couple of years ago; the other beer from the brewery that I have tried was their McGrath’s Irish Red Ale that I tried just over two years ago in the summer of 2015. This particular beer is actually one that was recommended by a friend and I was on the lookout for it on my recent trip to Ireland, luckily I found it in a local Tesco supermarket without too much searching and was able to give it a try. I’ve also noticed that the odd one of this brewery’s beers are starting to make appearances in Scotland from time to time, hopefully that means I’ll be able to try a couple more from them without searching for them when I’m next in Ireland.

Appearance (4/5): Opaque black in colour and quite thick looking too, this one is a very dark beer with a large head that sits about three centimetres tall in the glass. It’s a tan brown coloured head with a foamy texture and it seems relatively thick too, as well as hold steady it also leaves touches of lacing on the sides of the glass and looks good.
Aroma (7/10): Quite dark on the nose with a lot of roasted notes coming through in the early going with touches of sugar and coffee not too far behind; it’s a relatively strong nose initially. I detected a few earthy malts and faint touches of chocolate towards the middle as well but it was definitely the coffee that seemed strongest without overpowering; nice stuff.
Taste (7/10): Roasted malts and quite a bit of coffee kick things off here, there was some sugars and a touch of sweetness as a result too. There beer was faintly spiced around the middle with some earthy malts and dark flavours in there as well. Towards the end I got some toasted flavours that came through a little stronger than the coffee and chocolate ones with some nice liquorice to round things off with.
Palate (4/5): Sitting around medium bodied and quite lively for the style, this one had above average carbonation levels and a semi-sweet feel to it, thanks mainly to the chocolate and sugars in the early going. There was a roasted feel to the beer from the middle on and I managed to detect the odd grain towards the end of what was quite a dry finish; the balance of the beer was a good one too.

Overall (14/20): This one was a very nice stout from Clanconnel, definitely much better than either of the two beers that I had from the brewery previously and one that I’ll likely find myself drinking again at some point in the near future. The beer p[opened with some great roasted flavours along with subtle touches of sugar and chocolate to add a little sweetness; there was some pleasant coffee flavours too which helped impact just a touch of bitterness. It was relatively complex, especially when compared to previous offerings from the brewery and it went down very easily as well; great stuff.

Brewed In: Craigavon, County Armagh, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Clanconnel Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2011
Full Name: Clanconnel #6 McGrath’s Irish Black Stout
Type: Irish Dry Stout
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.80

Hilden Irish Stout

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.2

My fourth beer from the Hilden Brewing Company now and my first since last July when I tried their Headless Dog English pale ale. Prior to that offering I tried their Belfast Blonde and their Twisted Hop golden ale in 2014 and 2015 respectively so it would appear that I manage to try one new beer of theirs each year but as yet I’ve not really been impressed with anything the brewery has had to offer. This one is a beer that I stumbled across in a Tesco supermarket while over in Ireland late last month and although I recognised the brewery, this wasn’t a beer of theirs that I’d spotted before so I decided to give it a try despite the fact that the last few from Hilden have been relatively poor; my thinking was that hopefully this one would turn things around.

Appearance (4/5): A very dark brown coloured beer that was opaque and just about bordered on black. There was some bubbles rising to the surface of the beer and the head was a thin, half centimetre one that was an off-white colour and managed to hold slightly better than anticipated before eventually turning patchy and leaving some lacing on the sides.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a nutty and dark beer on the nose with some fainter chocolate and dark malts coming through in the early going. There was a nice helping of coffee to back things up and I managed to detect some roasted malts too. It wasn’t an overly strong beer on the nose really but some sugars and earthy notes do come through around the middle before some faint sweetness featured but the nutty, roasted malts seemed to come through strongest with this one.
Taste (6/10): The taste opens with more of the same nuttiness from the nose, there was some roasted malts and an earthy bitterness in there again too; this time both were a little stronger as well which was nice to see. There was a few of the coffee flavours the nose hinted at as well but less sugars this time round which impacted the sweetness a little too but not overly so. Towards the end some caramel flavours featured alongside a subtle bitterness but overall it was quite a basic tasting stout.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and perhaps a little thin for the style, the beer was balanced but a little bland and unexciting with some watery touches coming through as well. There was quite a lot of carbonation showing with this one though which was surprising and a slight disappointment but the beer was still a drinkable one.

Overall (12/20): A fairly average Irish stout from the start here,t his one opened with plenty of roasted flavours and a nuttiness about it that was quite enjoyable too; these coupled with some subtle sweetness got the beer off to a good start but things faded a little after that. The beer seemed quite basic and ordinary with little else beyond what featured in the early going to keep you interested sadly. It remained a drinkable offering throughout but definitely seemed uninspiring and it’s not likely that I’ll pick another bottle up again either.

Brewed In: Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hilden Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Irish Dry Stout
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.89

Knockout Middleweight IPA

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

My second beer from my recent trip to Ireland now and also my second from Belfast based Knockout Brewing, this one following on from their Hefeweizen Max that I reviewed here previously. Their Middleweight IPA is another that I picked up from a local bottle shop, mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t a beer that I’d seen before and it came from a brewery that I’d never heard of either. An English IPA by style, I was hoping this offering would prove itself to be a little better than the last from the brewery that I tried and here’s what I thought of it when I tried it late last month.

Appearance (5/5): Quite a fizzy and active beer, this one wasn’t as foamy as the previous from the brewery but it managed to form a two and a half centimetre head that was dome shaped and quite foamy looking. There was a thick and cloudy look to the body of the beer and head retention was good too, there was almost no movement at all over the opening couple of minutes.
Aroma (6/10): Citrus notes and some faint pine opening things up here, I got a little orange and some lemon with the odd biscuit note not too far behind. Some subtle background fruits and juicy aromas feature around the middle of the beer, I managed to detect some grapefruit too but it could definitely have been a touch stronger at times as well; towards the end some earthy malts and bitterness seen things out nicely though.
Taste (6/10): Following on well from the nose, the beer starts with citrus and orange flavours that were backed up by a few pine hops and touches of grapefruit but neither were particularly strong initially. There was some biscuit and earthy malts around the middle before some hints of sweetness made a brief appearance too; towards the end there was a nice bitterness to round things off.
Palate (3/5): Quite crisp and fresh with lively carbonation and a nice tang to proceedings, the beer was semi-sweet and had a nice floral touch at points thanks to the background fruits and hops. There was a faint bitterness from the middle on and although it could have been stronger, the balance of the beer was a good one and I enjoyed it more than expected.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a nice IPA from Knockout, it was definitely an English style IPA but had leanings towards an American version at points too, particularly when the pine and grapefruit bitterness started to come through but it was just a touch weaker than I’d have liked. The citrus and orange flavours were well received and the beer was an easy one to drink throughout.

Brewed In: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Knockout Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Type: English IPA
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.49

Knockout Hefeweizen Max

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.6

This one is the first of roughly ten new beers that I managed to try towards the end of last month when I was visiting the north of Ireland again. My first beer from Belfast based Knockout Brewing, this one was a beer that I picked up alongside their Middleweight IPA when I spotted the pair in a local bottle shop. Not a brewery that I’d been aware before my recent trip, this one is a rare Irish brewed hefeweizen and one that I was looking forward to when I picked it up.

Appearance (3/5): A cloudy golden colour that is quite bright and looked active in the glass but was topped with a ridiculously large head that sat about five inches tall when I initially poured the beer; this being despite giving it the slowest pour I could manage. After leaving it for quite some time it eventually settled to leave a thick looking head that left plenty of lacing on the sides of the glass as I worked my way down the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Strong citrus notes with a lot of wheat and some fresh touches in the early going, there was a few grassy notes and a little spice coming through. The beer did seem a little one-dimensional as I got closer to the middle, there was a few hints of clove and background fruits coming through but nothing concrete other than a touch of sweetness and some banana right at the end.
Taste (5/10): Fresh with a lot of citrus and grassy flavours to open things up, there was some slightly off-flavours too though and hints of what felt like a metallic taste at points too. The middle featured some wheat but was more like a toned down version of the nose with some spice and hints of clove along with some lemon touches. Towards the end the banana from the nose also featured and was a little stronger this time too but it’s not a standard hefeweizen taste nor a particularly good one sadly.
Palate (2/5): Strongly carbonated with a lively feel but it was probably overdone in my opinion and still didn’t seem as crisp as I’d have liked. There was a one-dimensional feel to the beer with only a slight tang featuring and the balance seemed a little off too; poor stuff throughout sadly.

Overall (10/20): This one was definitely an average to poor hefeweizen and not at all like the better German version of the style that I’ve tried previously. The beer featured some basic wheat and citrus flavours in the early going with a little banana that seemed too light on the nose but wasn’t too bad come the taste. It wasn’t really an offering that I enjoyed much either, I’m just hoping the next beer from the brewery that I try is a little better.

Brewed In: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Knockout Brewing
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Hefeweizen
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.49

McGrath’s Irish Blonde

August 30, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.0

Following on from the recent review of the very disappointing Blanche de Namur, this one is the second of two beers that were picked up on my behalf from a local Home Bargains store recently and again it is another beer that I’ve spotted in the past. The beer is brewed in County Armagh in the north of Ireland and is the second from the brewery that I’ve tried, I previously enjoyed their McGrath’s Irish Red Ale back in July 2015 when I picked it up over in Ireland, I actually remember this particular offering being available alongside that one and I almost picked it up but now I’m finally getting to give it a try.

Appearance (3/5): Pouring a blond looking golden colour that was quite clear, the beer was topped with a three centimetre tall head in the early going. The head was a bubbly white one that quickly halved in size over the opening couple of seconds and then settled as a thin, half centimetre one from the on.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some fresh citrus notes and a little bitterness from the hops, the beer seemed lively in the early going with a faint bit of funk or tart in there too. There was some biscuit notes towards the middle with a few pale malts showing themselves as well before some lemon and background fruits seen things out.
Taste (6/10): Kicking off with some biscuit flavours and a couple of citrus hops, the beer didn’t seem quite as fresh or tarty as it did with the nose but there was some lemon coming through in the early going at least. There was a subtle bitterness coming through with touches of pale malt and cereal but nothing stood out beyond the citrus and lemon really. Towards the end there was perhaps a touch of sweetness but certainly not a lot before a few nondescript fruits finished things off.
Palate (3/5): Fresh and lively to start, the beer was moderately carbonated and the lemon flavours along with the tart made it seem fresher than it probably was in the early going. It was quite a one-dimensional beer for the most part but it was easy to drink as a result but the body was perhaps a tad thin at times sadly.

Overall (12/20): An interesting one from McGrath’s here and a beer that opened quite fresh and lively with a nice combination of citrus and lemon flavours alongside some tart and funk that seemed slightly stronger with the nose than it was in the taste, although it was still noticeable with both. There was some pale malts and biscuit in there too, not to mention hints of sweetness down the stretch but I couldn’t help but find it a fairly one-dimensional and average offering from the brewery which I probably wouldn’t have again; it wasn’t a bad beer by any stretch though, it’s just there are plenty of better ones out there.

Brewed In: Craigavon, County Armagh, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Clanconnel Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2010
Full Name: Clanconnel #2 McGrath’s Irish Blonde
Type: Golden/Blond Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Home Bargains (Scotland)
Price: £0.69

Farmageddon Mosaic IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Only my third beer from the Farmageddon brewery based in the north of Ireland and a beer that follows on from their very disappointing White IPA and their Gold Pale Ale, although it should be noted that this is the first of the brewery’s beers that I’ve tried outside of Ireland. I was surprised to find bottles this one available a local Irish bar over the weekend and decided to give it a go despite the fact the other beers from the brewery that I’ve tried have both failed to impress. Coming in at 6.1% abv., this one appears to be one of several mosaic IPA’s that the brewery produces and they do appear to be produces a lot more beers than I remember from when I was last in Ireland at the start of the year; hopefully that means I’ll get to try a couple more from them on my next visit too.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light looking beer, this one is a golden colour that sits semi-cloudy in the glass but is a relatively still looking beer. There is a thin lacing on top of the surface that manages to cover about half of it with a little more build up around the edges of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): The beer was slightly more malty than I’d expected going in and opened with a lot of caramel sweetness coupled with some bread malts in the early going. These were followed by a pleasant burst of citrus and hints of pine as well but it wasn’t an overly bitter beer thanks to the balance which held up throughout. Some floral touches featured down the stretch with some vanilla and butterscotch right at the death which was a nice surprise.
Taste (7/10): The taste was a slightly more sweet one than the nose let on and it opened with some good butterscotch and vanilla flavours before some bread and light floral touches came through nearer the centre. There was some pine around this point too and the grassy flavours make themselves more known too with a subtle burst of hops not far behind. Some citrus and pale malts showed towards the end which helped make this one taste much better than expected before some faint bitterness, a caramel sweetness and the odd herbal touch seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite sweet with some vanilla and caramel helping this in the early going. The beer was smooth and very easy going with a nice balance and the odd citrus burst adding a slightly floral tang. It was a well carbonated beer with subtle bitterness throughout and it was definitely easy to drink, very sessionable too despite the strength of the beer since the alcohol content was well hidden too.

Overall (15/20): This one was a surprisingly good offering from Farmaggedon and miles better than anything I have tried from them before, I almost never ordered this one based on previous beer from the brewery but this one has definitely changed my opinion of their beers and I’ll be on the look out for more of theirs the next time I’m in Ireland. There was a lot of citrus and pine but the biggest surprise with this beer was the sweetness thanks to tonnes of vanilla and butterscotch throughout. It was an easy beer to drink with a great balance and is definitely one I’d have again.

Brewed In: Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.1%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Malone’s, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.50 (approx.)