Patreon’s Choice: The Irish Set

These days, Irish beer isn’t all about Guinness, as demonstrated by this interesting bunch which ranges from rye ale to ‘ice cream IPA’.

Of course we used that awful, cliched open­ing line pure­ly to troll the Beer Nut whose sug­ges­tion it was via Patre­on to try some of the Irish beers in stock at Hon­est Brew.

  • Yel­low­bel­ly Cast­away Pas­sion­fruit Sour, £2.79, 330ml can
  • Boyne Brew­house Vien­na Lager, £2.39, 330ml can
  • Kin­negar Rust­buck­et Hopped Rye Ale, £2.49, 330ml bot­tle
  • Whiplash Scaldy Split Ice Cream IPA, £4.59, 500ml can
  • Gal­way Bay Solemn Black DBIPA, £3.69, 330ml bot­tle

We drank them over the course of a cou­ple of nights while we were tied to the house for one rea­son or anoth­er, tack­ling them in ascend­ing order of ABV, except that we got Rust­buck­et and the Vien­na Lager the wrong way round because we weren’t pay­ing atten­tion.

A glass of flat, orange beer.

Yel­low­bel­ly’s pas­sion fruit sour, at 4.2% ABV, fizzed like e a bon­fire night sparkler then went com­plete­ly flat in about four sec­onds. It had a great pas­sion fruit aro­ma, bil­low­ing and beguil­ing, and, crikey, did it taste sour. Ray found it less heavy going than Jes­si­ca because he drinks soft drinks and she does­n’t (tea, please!) and what it resem­bled more than any­thing was some new vari­ant grown-up ver­sion of Fan­ta. In fact, we picked up two types of sour – the cit­ric acid of fruit and the kind of sweaty funk we asso­ciate with Gose. On bal­ance, though we found plen­ty to enjoy, we both want­ed it to taste more like beer, and would prob­a­bly rather have a can of Rubi­con at a fifth of the price.

Kinnegar Rustbucket glowing in its glass.

Kin­negar Rust­buck­et, at 5.1%, was more our kind of thing. It smelled won­der­ful, tak­ing us back to those days of a decade ago when Goose Island IPA was con­sid­ered Way Out There, all orange and pine. Red-brown in colour, it tast­ed like a well exe­cut­ed, tongue-coat­ing, jam­my IPA of the old school, and gave the impres­sion of being a much big­ger beer. It was per­fect­ly clean, nice­ly bit­ter, and just a touch pep­pery by way of a twist. What a breath of fresh air, and good val­ue, too. We’d drink more of this.

Boyne Brew­house Vien­na, at 5%, had the sex­i­est graph­ic design of the lot with its black and pur­ple can, and looked great in the glass, too, being a gor­geous gold with a cap of thick white foam. But unfor­tu­nate­ly it tast­ed weird – bad weird – in a way we’ve nev­er encoun­tered. Some banana, maybe? Apple? Grit­ty, grainy, unfin­ished. As if it was a lit­tle unwell, and threat­ened to send us the same way. We could­n’t fin­ish it. Sor­ry!

Whiplash Scaldy Split had about it the air of the main event: it came in the biggest can, cost the most, and is billed, rather excit­ing­ly, as an ice cream IPA. The ingre­di­ent list includ­ed mul­ti­ple malts, vanil­la and lac­tose (milk sug­ar), as well as reli­able old Cit­ra hops. The beer was a sort of queasy, home­made cus­tard yel­low, cloudy but not soupy, with an attrac­tive, sta­ble head. The prob­lem is – and this does hap­pen from time to time – we each per­ceived it quite dif­fer­nt­ly. Jes­si­ca found it a mess, from the petrol aro­ma to a flavour so exces­sive­ly dank it seemed to have gone through hop­py and come out the oth­er side at stu­dent bed­sit car­pet. Ray, on the oth­er hand, used words like smooth, sub­tle, taste­ful, and fun… Again, we won­der if his rel­a­tive­ly sweet tooth might make him feel warmer towards this kind of beer. Or maybe that long list of ingre­di­ents com­bined to cre­ate par­tic­u­lar unusu­al flavours and aro­mas to which we might be respec­tive­ly more or less sen­si­tive. Any­way, if you like thick, hazy, hop­py beers, you’ll prob­a­bly enjoy this one; if you don’t, you prob­a­bly won’t.

A glass of black beer with a huge head.

Final­ly, there was Gal­way Bay’s Solemn Black dou­ble black IPA at 9%.  Phew, what a mouth­ful, and that goes for the descrip­tion and the beer. From the first sip, we just straight up liked this one a lot. (Both of us, thank good­ness – much sim­pler that way.) Thank­ful­ly its sup­posed sta­tus as a black IPA did­n’t mean lots of clash­ing, clat­ter­ing hops trip­ping over dark malt flavours, as is too often the case, and it struck us as an impe­r­i­al stout to all intents and pur­pos­es. We found it a silky beer that was all melt­ed milk choco­late upfront, and turned to port wine the longer it sat on the tongue. And it sat on the tongue for a good long time, rever­ber­at­ing almost for­ev­er. When we left it long enough, and it’s not a beer to rush through, some grassy hop char­ac­ter even­tu­al­ly sug­gest­ed itself, along with a burnt-toast black malt note. A hap­py place on which to con­clude this whirl through the world of Irish beer.

One thought on “Patreon’s Choice: The Irish Set”

  1. Inter­est­ing. A style purist might con­tend that a BIPA that’s all dark malt and bare­ly any hops isn’t a very good exam­ple of the style, even if it’s enjoy­able regard­less. Makes me think of a very pleas­ant brett IPA I had a few years ago thatcwas sup­posed to be clean – nice, but not how it’s sup­posed to be.

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