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Farmageddon White IPA (Re-review)

October 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

Quite a rare re-review of a beer I’ve already tried here before, this one being my second go at Farmageddon’s White IPA that I first tried last July when over in Ireland. Since trying the beer back then, I’ve spotted several online reviews and posts mentioning how good the beer is and that it’s definitely one worth trying which got me thinking that the bottle I first tried might have already been past its best. The first time I sampled this one I remember it being far too funky and a lot more like a bad saison than a wheat ale or IPA but nothing obvious stuck out about it being off or a bad batch, this coupled with the fact that it was still well within its best before date meant I just assumed it was a bad beer, either way this re-review should clear things up and it’ll be interesting to see how it comes out this time around.

farmaggedon-white-ipa

Appearance (4/5): A hazy, golden amber colour with quite a lot of visible carbonation as I poured from the bottle; there was a huge white head as well that was very foamy looking and say about two inches tall in the glass. Retention was quite good from the beer with some touches of lacing on the sides and the head looked quite thick too; good stuff and already an improvement on last time.
Aroma (6/10): A hoppy open that was definitely complimented by some strong wheat notes in the early going, this one seems like a completely new beer this time around and there is some nice fruits coming through as well. There was a slight touch of funk around the middle but nowhere near as much as the last time, with some spice and orange notes following on behind. The beer seemed somewhat refreshing on the nose with some floral touches in there too. It’s still not the most complex beer that you’re likely to come across but it was a nice one.
Taste (5/10): Slightly more funky and some tart in there as well initially but the wheat flavours that the nose hinted at are present too. Some floral hops and a few bursts of citrus follow on behind before a faint hint of spice and some background fruits come through. It didn’t seem as strong as I remember from last time but the flavours themselves seem much better and the beer is actually drinkable this time around. There was some earthy hops and a light bitterness as we got nearer the end too but nothing really jumped out after the initial funk and tart.
Palate (2/5): This one was a very strongly carbonated offering and at times seemed to border on gassy. The body was quite a light one, perhaps even thin but not overly at least and there was some touches of funk and tart early in the taste; thankfully neither being as strong as the last time I tried this one though. There as a light bitterness towards the end and some dry touches too but the balance could probably have been a little better, it still wasn’t too bad though overall and some spice in there too seemed to help.

Overall (12/20): My second time trying this and it was almost like a completely new beer, it was so different from the first but there was just enough similarities to remind me I’d had this before. The beer was still overly carbonated but probably not quite as bad as last time, the balance still wasn’t great either and I could probably have done without the touches of funk and tart but both were thankfully a lot weaker than last time. There was some nice floral hops and the wheat seemed stronger this time which helped things considerably, I also got the odd citrus burst and some hints of spice at times which was just enough to keep me interested. It’s not one I’ll have a third time I don’t think but at least it was better than when I first tried it last summer.

Brewed In: Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Wheat Ale
Abv: 3.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

Gallopers Golden Ale

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A little bit of a strange one now and one that I initially wasn’t sure where I should list it under given that it is an Irish owned and based brewery that was founded in Belfast around October 2015 by TV personality Eamonn Holmes and his son Declan. Owned by the Night Cap Beer Co. based in Belfast in the north of Ireland, the beer is currently contract brewed by Sadler’s based near Birmingham in England but they hope to move operation to Belfast in the near future; for these reasons I’ve opted list the beer as one from the north of Ireland for the purposes of this blog. It is a beer that does only appear to be available in the north of Ireland though with most online reviews coming from the Belfast area so I doubt this will be a beer that travels much either. I managed to pick this one up in Fermanagh on my recent trip to Ireland though and it was the first time that I’d spotted the beer which is also the final beer I managed to try on my travels; I do have a couple more bottles that I picked up but haven’t sampled yet so at least you have reviews of them to look forward to next.

Gallopers Golden Ale

Appearance (4/5): A slightly hazy looking beer, this one is a light golden colour with some amber touches and it’s topped with a bubbly white head that borders on foamy. Retention wise the beer does okay with the head slowly shrinking to about half its original size and leaving a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Biscuit malts and the odd earthy aroma open things up here, there is a faint honey sweetness and subtle earthy hops coming through as well though. The beer definitely seems a little stronger than I’d been expecting thanks to this and there is some citrus aromas coming through too before a semi-fresh, almost toasted malt smell and some bitterness see things out.
Taste (6/10): Quite earthy and following on well from the nose, it’s also quite a sweet beer with some biscuit malts and grains opening things up alongside a bit of the honey from the nose. There was some earthy hops coming through and I managed to detect a little butterscotch before some grassy hops and a moderate bitterness started to come through nearer the end.
Palate (3/5): Definitely a sweeter beer than I’d expected going in, this one came through with a harsher than expected feel that wasn’t the most well-balanced either sadly. There was moderate carbonation and a few grains showing but overall the beer was fairly wet and moderately bitter as well but not entirely satisfying really; quite an average offering on the whole.

Overall (11/20): Quite a bitter and very earthy beer, this one started with a lot of biscuit malts and some toasted flavours but there was definitely a lot more sweetness than I’d been expecting thanks to the surprising addition of some honey flavours that also featured in the nose and were definitely welcome. Some butterscotch followed off the back of this and added to the sweetness with some touch of citrus and the odd grassy flavour featuring too but beyond that there wasn’t a whole lot going on and the beer faded fairly quickly I’m afraid. It was certainly a drinkable offering but I’m not entirely sure it is one that I’d opt for again given the choice.

Brewed In: Belfast, North of Ireland (Currently contract near Birmingham, England)
Brewery: Night Cap Beer Co.  (Contract brewed by Sadler’s)
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Golden/Blond Ale
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

Farmageddon Gold Pale Ale

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

A second beer from the Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op now and a beer that I really had to think twice about before picking up. This one follows from the same brewery’s White IPA that I reviewed last summer on a previous trip to Ireland and at the time I hated the beer, it still ranks as the 25th worst beer I’ve every tried, listed elsewhere on this site but it’s also a beer that a lot of people seem to like so it’s always been at the back of my mind that I might had got a dodgy bottle. For that reason alone, I decided to give the brewery another chance and picked up this one from them, their Gold Pale Ale in the hope that it would prove to be a lot better than the last from them. This one is a beer that was introduced back in 2013, the same year the brewery was founded and I’m hoping that being one of their first beers that it is also one of their best; we shall see though I guess.

Farmageddon Gold Pale Ale

Appearance (4/5): A light, slightly watery looking amber with a hazy body and a two centimetre tall, foamy head that forms a dome shape at the top of the glass and holds remarkably well over the opening couple of minutes. There’s almost no movement initially and the head even looks to have gained a little height after a minute or so.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and quite zesty on the nose with some orange and lemon notes coming through in the early going, followed quickly by some touches of  coriander too but they were quite light in truth. There was some biscuit notes around the middle with a few grassy touches too before some pale malts and earthy aromas started to appear. A couple of background fruits including some pear and apples followed nearer the end but as I’ve found to be the case with countless Irish beers, this one could have been fractionally stronger on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Quite a fresh and hoppy opening, there is some biscuit malts and touches of lemon in the early going. I got a faint, earthy malt taste coming through with some background fruits carried through from the nose; both the apple and pear featured. There was a slightly dry sweetness towards the end with a grassy taste but it wasn’t overly complex in truth.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite dry with a light-medium body, this one was zesty and fairly well carbonated with a nice tang from the citrus and a crisp finish to proceedings. The beer was also quite sharp and towards the end it came through with a moderate bitterness but as I’ve mentioned already, it definitely wasn’t the most complex beer out there.

Overall (15/20): Nice stuff from Farmageddon this time round, this offering proving to be miles better than their White IPA that I really didn’t enjoy at all; thankfully this one wasn’t quite as off-putting or unbalanced. There was a fresh and quite hoppy start to the beer as it came through with subtle bitterness and a few earthy flavours at points. There was a couple of background fruits that appeared around the middle and touches of biscuit featured heavily too. Without being an overly complex beer, there was still enough to keep me interested and I’d be tempted to try more from the brewery now given the vast improvement between this and the last from them that I tried.

Brewed In: Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op
First Brewed: 2013
Type: English Pale Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

Northbound 70 Magnum IPA

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

A twenty-first beer from the north of Ireland now, this one being my second from the Derry based Northbound brewery and follows on from their 08 Kölsch offering that I tried back in January of this year. This particular offering is an American style IPA from the brewery that appears to only have been launched around May this year and is as such a relatively new offering from what is still a relatively new brewery. Whereas the previous offering from the brewery took the number in its name from the colour of the beer, this time Northbound have used the beers bitterness to name it since this bottle comes in at 70 IBU’s. Although this is my second from the brewery, it’s not one that I know too much about and when I grabbed this one it was the first time I’d spotted anything from Northbound since last picking up one of their beers back in January; hopefully it’s a good one though and I start to see a bit more from them going forward.

Northbound 70 Magnum IPA

Appearance (4/5): Fairly cloudy looking and sitting as a golden amber colour in the glass, this one formed a thumb-sized, foamy white head on top that was part bubbly and slowly receded over the opening thirty seconds to settle about half its original size and leave some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Opening up with a somewhat subdued nose, there was a few pine hops and touches of apricot coming through in the early going before a hint of mango and some peach featured as well. Towards the middle it was the bread malts and a couple of earthy hops that were most noticeable before being followed by a mellow, fruity aroma nearer the end. It was a pleasant nose on the whole but one that I was expected to be stronger and I guess a bit more like an American IPA too.
Taste (6/10): Quite a fresh and bitter opening to the beer, this one opened up with some citrus flavours and a decent helping of grapefruit too. There was some slightly more subtle pine flavours and some oranges that followed around the middle, a bit of apricot sneaking in too before some pale malts and bread notes from the nose made themselves known. A few grassy flavours and the odd biscuit malt featured towards the end and overall the beer was quite tangy and fresh tasting.
Palate (2/5): Fresh and definitely a zesty beer, this one had quite a lot of tang to it and as a result it was also fairly dry on the palate. It was a light-medium bodied beer and there was some spice coming through in places and the beer seemed fairly well carbonated too with quite a fine feel overall, even seeming slightly refreshing at times but it was perhaps a little overdone and gassy too.

Overall (13/20): Quite a fresh beer and one that started fairly well with some nice hops and a couple of hints of pine coming through but it was a bit light in areas if I’m honest and not quite the hop bomb I was expecting given the name of the beer. There was some nice tropical fruits that came through to keep things interesting though and I enjoyed the citrus and orange bursts too, it’s just that beyond that there wasn’t too much else going one really save for some earthy touches and the fact that it was slightly gassy and over carbonated too.

Brewed In: Eglinton, Derry, North of Ireland
Brewery: Northbound Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

Hilden Headless Dog

August 9, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.95

Surprisingly this one will be the first beer brewed in the north of Ireland that I’ll have tried in a while, that being despite the fact I recently spent a week in the country. On my visit I had made a point of sticking to Irish beers but as it happened, most I tried were brewed in the south and this ended up being one of only four beers I sampled that were brewed in the north. I managed to find a bottle of this one at a Wetherspoons pub in Enniskillen, although it was one that I’d previously spotted in a couple of the supermarkets in the area as well. The beer itself is a Hilden brewed offering that I decided to try based on the fact I’d seen the beer listed on a ‘Best of Irish Craft Beer’ list recently and it follows on from Hilden’s Belfast Blonde and Twisted Hop beers that I’ve sampled here previously.

Hilden Headless Dog

Appearance (3/5): Quite a bright and cloudy amber looking beer, this one was topped with a thin, bubbly white head that faded to a faint white rim around the edges of the glass and left the surface looking quite patchy after about thirty seconds or so.
Aroma (6/10): A basic opening that consisted of pale malts and a few earthy hops alongside some citrus that definitely gave the beer an English style nose in the early going. There was some background sweetness and the odd touch of fruit but it seemed quite a subdued offering with nothing really standing out. There was some bitterness towards the end too and although it wasn’t a bad aroma, it could definitely have been much stronger.
Taste (6/10): Pale malts and some earthy flavours kick things off here, there was some decent bitter flavours coming through as well and I got the odd English style hop as well. There was some citrus following on behind and the sweetness from the background fruits carried through from the nose with the beer tasting ever so slightly smooth but again it could have been stronger.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite sharp with a crisp and dry feel that comes through with moderate carbonation that was just a fraction softer than I’d been expecting. There was a nice bitterness throughout the beer but it was definitely far too light and even a little bland at times.

Overall (11/20): Quite a disappointing Hilden beer if I’m honest, I was expecting a bit more from the brewery with this one if I’m honest and it just seemed far too light at times with both the taste and the nose seeming somewhat subdued and weak. There was some pale malts and the off background fruit coming through alongside nice helping of citrus but it all seemed a touch bland and flat at times and it was wasn’t one that I particularly enjoyed sadly.

Brewed In: Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hilden Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2006
Type: English Pale Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: The Linen Hall (JDW), Enniskillen, N. Ireland
Price: £2.99

O’Hara’s ‘OPsession

August 3, 2016 3 comments

Rating: 3.2

Another from a brewery that I frequently pick up new beers from every time I’m over in Ireland, this one being my eighth offering from the brewery and despite occasionally seeing their beers elsewhere on my travels, I believe all of them have been picked up whilst in Ireland. This particular offering is a new session IPA from the Carlow Brewing Company, having only been introduced around May this year and another that falls under their O’Hara’s banner. The beer is one of four new offerings from the brewery that I picked up on my recent trip to Ireland, the others being a wheat ale, a red IPA and a white IPA that reviews of will follow shortly. Despite not being much of a fan of session IPA’s, this one was probably the one I had highest hopes for before trying any of the new O’Hara’s beers but as it turned out, both of the other two ended up being better beers but here’s what I thought of this one anyway.

O'Hara's 'OPsession

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark, almost caramel amber colour that had a fairly clear body and was topped with a centimetre and a half tall head that was creamy looking and white in colour. Initially the head held pretty well with not much reduction in size whilst leaving a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass before it eventually turned into a thick looking lacing after a couple of minutes. It was a nice looking beer overall and one that I didn’t expect to be quite as dark as it was either.
Aroma (6/10): Pine hops and oils kick things off here but it’s definitely a more subdued nose than I’d been expecting, even taking into consideration that it’s a session IPA. There was some nice biscuit malts and a faint caramel nose with touches of bitterness as well and all of these seeming slightly more pronounced than the hops. It seemed very English IPA in style with an earthy nose and a touch of spice nearer the end.
Taste (6/10): Thankfully the taste was a little more hoppy than the nose and came through with some pine and citrus flavours early on but in truth neither were as strong as I’d have liked. There was some herbal touches with a bit of earthy malt bitterness coming through from the nose and this again seemed the dominant characteristic of the beer. Towards the end some grassy flavours and a touch of grapefruit appears, as did some orange but it was the malts that seemed strongest sadly.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite tangy thanks to the citrus that featured throughout, there was an oily feel to the beer from the hops and carbonation wise it sat somewhere around light-medium. The beer was a dry one nearer the end and it seemed earthy with a moderate bitterness throughout; quite a difference from the hop-bomb I’d hoped for.

Overall (12/20): Another O’Hara’s beer and sadly it isn’t one of their better offering really, although I might have guessed as much given it was labelled as a new session IPA from the brewery; to be honest, I’d probably describe it as an English style IPA myself. Overall the beer was quite a subdued and almost weak offering that opened with some pine and citrus but neither seemed particularly pronounced or noticeable. In fairness, I managed to finish the beer without too many problems but it just didn’t seem to be one that I particularly enjoyed; perhaps if it had been presented as an English pale ale or IPA then I might have enjoyed it more but as it stands, it was a pretty poor session IPA and one I’ll likely avoid in future.

Brewed In: Muine Bheag, County Carlow, Ireland
Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

Northbound 08 Kölsch Style

January 20, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 3.2

A first beer for me from the Northbound brewery based in Derry in the north of Ireland now, this one is their 08 Kölsch and it takes the number in its name from the measure of the beers colour as used by the European Brewery Convention. I believe this is my first beer to come from County Derry and is a German style brew that I picked up while in Ireland over the holidays. The beer will be my nineteenth from the north of Ireland and I believe that every one of them has been acquired from within the country so I don’t imagine this is one that I’m likely to find anywhere else either.

Northbound 08 Kölsch Style

Appearance (4/5): Quite a bright but very slightly cloudy beer with a one and a half centimetre head on top that is foamy and white with a few bubbles showing as well and a touch of lacing left on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Floral smelling with some biscuit notes and bread malts coming through as well, the beer featured some touches of sweetness and a couple of background fruits coming through. There was a slight touch of citrus and the beer seemed fresh with various grassy hops and subtle hay notes coming through around the middle before grain and an earthy bitterness rounded things off but it certainly wasn’t the strongest smelling beer that I’ve come across lately.
Taste (6/10): Fresh tasting with some nice biscuit malts coming through alongside a subtle sweetness and a few earthy malts. The beer also featured some sugars and a bit of citrus with floral flavours backing them up but it wasn’t the most pronounced really.. There was some lighter fruits in the background with a bit of bread and some earthy bitterness towards the end too.
Palate (3/5): Quite fresh on the palate with a light-medium body and moderate carbonation coming through. The beer was slightly dry, particularly towards the end and I got some light citrus providing a slight tang to proceedings. Overall the balance seemed okay but the beer could definitely have been a little stronger.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a fresh tasting beer with some nice biscuit malts upfront and a subtle sweetness throughout that was appreciated along with a few light sugars. My main gripe with the beer was that it seemed quite weak with too little coming through with both the nose and the taste really but it wasn’t a bad tasting beer really.

Brewed In: Eglinton, Derry, North of Ireland
Brewery: Northbound Brewery
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Kölsch
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: SuperValu (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.99