sIREN CRAFT BREW
Dropping through the Letterbox thanks to the guys at Honest Beer, Vermont Tea Party was the standout offering of 6 piece sampler set. It wasn't the most eye catching or even the beer with the craziest name, but Earl Grey in a Pale Ale?
At only 3.6% ABV it may seem more suited to a group of ladies at Afternoon Tea than to anyone with a taste for booze, but then again the strength is not always the crux of the argument. Produced by Siren Craft Brew, a Brewery which in 2014 was named 2nd Best Brewery in the World. That's right the whole World. That accolade coming only 2 years after its official founding. Based in Berkshire, which is South West of London. We checked. This Artisanal Brewery lists a decent range of Beer, with Core Beers, Seasonal Offerings and Special Releases, we counted six categories alone.
The official blurb reads like this - The first time we brewed using Vermont yeast it was to produce the best possible character for Love of Work – a beer originally brewed in Vermont with Hill Farmstead. The yeast has gone on to become a big part of what we do, we now use our own unique house strain in the likes of Soundwave to provide glorious peach and apricot notes which complement the hops. Vermont Tea Party is a celebration of the yeast and an evolution of Love of Work
Back to the Party. Loose Leaf Pale Ale with Earl Grey & Lemon Zest, giving this its full description. Its has a very light, weak and cloudy yellow pour. A decent off white head. Floral scent on the nose and Bursting with hops plus the already mentioned Zest, its aftertaste is pleasantly bitter & the earl grey comes through, eventually. This is a great Pale Ale, easy to drink, with a well rounded overall taste.
The only problem I have with Siren Craft Brew, is having only tasted one of their offerings, I'm keen to taste the rest of the family. With the explosion of Craft Breweries in Ireland and the UK in recent years, the consumer is absolutely overwhelmed for choice. Which, when the offerings are middle of the road, isn't a bad thing.. Big problems come into play when you have so many top class Breweries.
I am going to need a bigger bar... and Wallet.
CARLOW BREWING CO. / O'HARA BREWING
Carlow Brewing Company, also known as O’Hara’s Brewery, is an independent, family-owned business established in 1996 and one of the pioneers of Irish craft brewing. Located in the heart of Ireland’s traditional malt and hop-growing “Barrow Valley” region which has strong historical linkages to the Irish brewing industry, we are proud to have been at the forefront of the new wave of Irish craft brewing for almost 17 years.
With the Quality of Beers available in our Aladdin's cave of Booze Shops, I don't have to go too far to find something new and something local. Browsing the Refrigerated shelves last night I found this 'Opsession IPA from O'Hara's Brewery. This 4.0% brew sets me back £2.50/$3.10 for a 50cl bottle.
Pouring light Amber with a thin head, this IPA is medium malty in its taste. Citrusy on the nose and refreshing finish. Its a run of the mill offering for an Session IPA.
I took the time to check out the Carlow Brewing company website and this Brewery have a number of offerings available. I counted 21 between Seasonal, core range and collaborations. Not to mention Draught only. I will be keeping an eye out for the Regular IPA and their Double IPA.
If that wasn't enough, these guys have their own Bar, something we know a little bit about, on a much smaller scale to be fair. The Brewery Corner opened in 2013 and is the top of my "Places to visit in Kilkenny" List..
Homed in a Grade II listed mill in the spiritual heart of the industrial revolution, Northern Monk takes thousands of years of brewing heritage and tradition and combines them with the best of both local and internationally sourced ingredients, crafting beers to excite, to savour, to taste and to remember… True North
Monks have been brewing up Beer across Europe since the 7th Century. Which without doing the math is a long long time ago. The Northern Monk Brewin Co. is nestled in historic digs in Leeds, England and aims to brew the best quality beers, using the age old techniques of the Monks before them.
When my Beer52 case arrived, a little green can was squeezed in amongst all the other bottles. New World IPA weighs in at 6.2% ABV and is wrapped in a can that immediately made me think it was American in Origin. Obviously the New World title sent me to the wrong side of the Atlantic, so It was a pleasant surprise to discover its a local brew (The Irish Sea is more like a big lake)
Described by the Modern day Monks who brew it as a brave and bold evolution to the India Pale Ale. Taking inspiration from vibrant "new world" hops but from the vantage point of the style's Saxon origin, our signature IPA features a combined profile of five hop varietals from the U.S., Australia and Britain. This modern English IPA drinks with a subtle sweetness from British pale malts which is balanced by a sturdy presence of hops bitterness that's shrouded in juicy notes of tropical fruits and grapefruit, thanks to our generous late copper and dry hop additions.
That's a lot to take in, and most of it I overlook until after I have tasted a beer.
There wasn't much of a head in the cloudy wheat pour, but that may have been more down to the way I tipped it in than the actual make up of the Beer. This IPA has a fresh and fruity scent, its citrusy clean and not overpowering on either the nose or the palate. I am fond of IPA and this one is middle of the road for what I have tasted before. I could easily demolish a six pack through a lazy Winter afternoon.
I have stopped by the Northern Monk website, which is quirky and cool, so take some time to have a look. Its a great design with lots to explore, you might even learn something.
Northern Monk Brew Co is a setup to keep an eye out for. I might ask Santa for some more of their cool cans
The Panda Beer Project wasn't even on my radar until I saw its logo on the back of a bottle of Beer. Which in my view proves my argument, that alcohol does in fact educate. Credit goes to The guys at Beer52 who slipped a bottle of Pilsner into my introductory box and sent it my way with FREE delivery, a bit of a rarity in this neck of the woods.
Panda Frog Project is a side line of the Mordue Brewery. A Micro Brewery established in the mid nineties and located in the North East of England. The Czech style Pilsner is one of four limited edition brews produced by the Project.
At 4.7% this light coloured straw pour is a refreshing Pilsner. Crisp with a balanced bitterness. Now that's the technical review over. In laymans terms, that I understand. This was a good Beer. Its tasted smooth and finished well. It was palatable enough to make me curious about the strangely named Panda Frog Project and with the Festivities just around the corner its the perfect time to seek out the rest. I'm told the are limited editions after all
"At Kinnegar we pair brewing tradition with a contemporary sense of adventure to produce clean, crisp, full-flavoured farmhouse beers. The brewery is named after the nearby Kinnegar Beach just north of Rathmullan in County Donegal.
On November 1st I hit the local Gas Station Off sales with dry mouthed anticipation. Sober October was finally over and my status a Sober Hero was about to be celebrated with a lot of Cold Beer. During my Hiatus, the off sales has been remodelled and is now twice the size it had been! The walk in cooler was bigger and the beer selection had grown too.
I decided to be selective and ease myself back into booze, so a selection of three Beer's from Kinnegar Brewing was perfect. Advertised as being Farmhouse Bars, brewed and bottled at an Independently-owned brewery in County Donegal, they carry the Independent Irish craft beer seal of authenticate approval.
The three I picked up, out of the six available, Limeburner Pale Ale, Scraggy Bay IPA & Rustbucket Rye Ale came in 500ml bottles ranging in strength from 4.7% to 5.3%.
Scraggy Bay IPA, 5.3%. I am definitely becoming a fan of Indian Pale Ale. Having sampled quite a few this summer, I can confidently say this is one of the best I have had. With a rich amber pour and a strong frothy head that stuck round for the pint. It has great balance, with a medium body and Hop Hop Hops like a bunny. Satisfying bitter finish.
Rustbucket Rye Ale, 5.1%
This was my first Rye Ale, my first of many. Its Beers like this that reinforce the self loathing you feel for drinking so many bottles of sub par mass produced fizz for so long. (sorry for the picture quality) Great white Head, with a amber almost orange pour. perfectly carbonated with palatable bitterness and a clean almost spicy finish.
Limeburner Pale Ale, 4.7%
A light gold pour with not much head to describe. Reasonable carbonation and a clean crisp if not slightly sour initial taste. It has a hoppy yet bitter finish and while its a fine ale in its own way, its our least favourite of the three. It lacks the stronger flavours of its stablemates.
I am glad I took the plunge on this Brewery and will actively seek out the other three Brothers in the Family.
More details available at www.Kinnegarbrewing.ie
Pumpkin Spice is obviously associated with Halloween and this release was intended to capitalise on the popularity of the Holiday in the USA and its ever increasing popularity in the United Kingdom. As I was busy being a Sober Hero throughout October, I can only sample this one now. To that end I am positioning this as an Autumnal Beverage, which takes away my Tardiness.
I was quite excited when I read the press release from Diageo announcing Baileys Pumpkin Spice. Baileys is a bit of a Christmas Indulgence, a rich liqueur that you enjoy around the Christmas Tree. Although there are a number of variations on the classic recipe, the thought of Pumpkin and Cinnamon was too good to pass up. This is where the cookie crumbled. Diageo announced that Baileys "Irish Cream" Pumpkin Spice wouldn't be available In Ireland, either North or South.
After a bit of a rant on social media and a three week huff, I unexpectedly stumbled upon a bottle in Tesco! In your face Diageo!!
The 70cl Bottle comes in at 17% ABV and retails with an RRP of £15, but I picked up a bottle on offer at £10. Every Little really does help.
Although served chilled, it has a warming festive smell of Nutmeg and Cinnamon. The Pumpkin Spice is a delicious smooth liqueur, it reminds me of Christmas more than Halloween. Its actually like Christmas in a glass, not unlike eggnog, quite possibly an improvement on eggnog.
Time to cut this short, I need a bigger glass