Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New UK Pale Ales

Saltaire Cascade Pale Ale 50cl 4.8% abv - €3.49
13 Guns American IPA 33cl 5.5% abv - €2.99
Hardknott Infrared IPA 33cl 6.2% abv - €2.99

As I wandered back from Noshington's on the South Circular Road last weekend, away from that Hipster central of dodgy shorts, ugly shirts and handlebar 'taches I happened upon O'Neills Off Licence which had a rather fetching selection of Ales, so I grabbed three I hadn't seen before and away with me.

Saltaire Cascade Pale Ale link
The label describes this as having "intense citrus hop flavours". Hmmm - I don't think so, more like moderate citrus hop flavours, but it's nicely balanced.  It comes in at only 4.8% abv and reasonably moreish so it's definitely something you could sink a few of, if you had a sink.

Crafty Dan 13 Guns American IPA link
Another "American" ale from the UK. This one's a bit stronger  at 5.5% and a lot darker, this is a proper red colour and a nice frothy head. I like this, it's subtle but with a nice depth of flavour and a hint of bitterness at the finish.

Hardknott Infrared IPA link
Well it's red and quite bubbly, similar in colour to the 13 Guns. Unlike the other two this is not subtle. It's quite big on the hops, but there's a little malt to round out the flavour. And it's strong at 6.2%, which for me is a prereq for a very good IPA. Nice one.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish Craft Lager Challenge - Final

The final will be contested by:

8 Degrees Barefoot Bohemian 33cl 4% abv €2.49 link 
Porterhouse Hersbrucker Pilsner 33cl 5% abv  €2.10 link
McGargles Gravy Maevey Pilsner 33cl 5% abv €2.00 link

I mentioned in the intro post to this particular competition I could only find six Irish Craft lagers, I think there are more on the way but for now I was gratified to find three good examples. I really don't have a clue how this is going to go, I think it will be close. As usual I had Herself set-up the blind tasting and also give her opinions on the beers.

Lager 1
YHB - It's a little sharp, not bad, but I ain't loving it. Guess - 8 Degrees
Herself - No, doesn't like it.

Lager 2
YHB - Rich and full flavoured. Guess - McGargles (also from the colour)
Herself - She likes it.

Lager 3
YHB -Also rich and full flavoured, some nice nice fizz too. Guess - Hersbrucker
Herself - She likes it the most.

It's very close between #2 & #3. Both are delicious, #2 has a great depth of flavour with the slightest hint of fruit, but #3 has fantastic mouthfeel and perfect carbonation; #2 is a tiny bit flat and while it's possible this particular bottle may not be representative, I have to judge on what I have in front of me. I'm gonna give it to #3 but it's agonisingly close. Time for the big reveal...

So I was right with my guesses. The Hersbrucker is the winner. It's a pity that it's not more widely available, apart from the Porterhouse I have only seen it in Baggot St Wines, although their other beers, particularly ales, I have seen elsewhere. The highest compliment I can pay it is that it reminds me of my favourite Pils, Krombacher , which won the International Lager Challenge.