Monthly Archives: December 2013

Galway Bay Of Foam and Fury 8.5%

Well, I haven’t posted anything for nearly 3 weeks, so I’ll be doing a flurry of posts during the Christmas period. The next beer I’ll be reviewing seemed to create quite a stir when it was launched in Dublin last month. I stayed over in Galway early this month, where the Galway Bay Brewery have 4 pubs. First visit was to the Salt House – unfortunately, the beer was sold out – I was told it would be in again probably around January (grrr!). Luckily, a subsequent visit to The Cottage pub, to the east of the centre (which has excellent burgers btw!) – there was a fresh keg of their new double IPA on…..

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(It’s not bottled…I was handed an empty bottle to enhance the (not great) picture)

Great looking beer, deep hazy orange, dense fluffy white head with great lacing. After a second ducking my nose into the fruity fumes this beer was giving off  – hey, this was something special – BIG tropical citrus fruits, lot of sweet fruity malts, grapefruit, pithy resinous fruity hops, lots going on here, super fresh too. All really good so far, hopefully the flavour matches the aroma (it’s so disappointing when this is not the case…).

WHAM! POWWW! Just as the aroma – big rich tropical citrus, fresh grapefruit zest, sticky pithy resiny hops, sweet fruity malts, quite a complex flavour, lots of sweetness, lots of bitterness – the balance was just right. And the booze was well hidden too. Not too fizzy, nice soft carbonation, full bodied, smooth finish with those intense bitter citrus hops tempered so well with a big sweet fruity malty backbone that isn’t overly caramelly (which I dislike, like in old imported US IPAs).

No doubt the best Irish beer I’ve had so far, and it beats many of the top beers in it’s category in the UK. Probably world class. If this is the direction ‘craft’ Irish brewing is heading there are really good times ahead. Another chink in the vast macro machine’s iron grip here in Ireland is certainly welcome.

Whitewater Clotworthy Dobbin 5%

Here is a beer from Whitewater Brewery, based in Kirkeel in County Down, which was voted as one the ‘Top 50 Beers in the World’ at the International Beer Challenge in 2007. The brewery has been going since 1996 and claims to be the largest micro-brewery in Northern Ireland. I purchased this bottle in Tesco, so let’s see what it’s like…

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The beer was a vibrant ruby brown colour, very clear with a big, quite fizzy, frothy head that dissipated fairly quickly away leaving a thin layer. The aroma was rather light overall, caramel malts, quite sweet dark fruits such as raisin and some tangy red berries with a dose of toasted malts. The taste delivered as was expected from the aroma. I got some more toasted malts, touch more tangy dark fruit, raisin and soft toffee caramel malts. It had a light bitter palate.

I found it a little fizzy in the mouth which gave a slight thin mouthfeel. The finish delivered more toasted malts, a touch of coffee and a few more light bitter hops. What I couldn’t understand is that it’s sold a ‘ruby porter style beer’. The overall aroma and flavour profile is difficult to pigeonhole – I certainly wouldn’t consider it a porter – more a ‘Irish red ale – Brown bitter’ hybrid. Again, I’d like to try this cask-conditioned where I hope it will have a bit more richness, but as it bottled beer it’s no way world-class, but worth checking out as it does have its own unusual edge a little way from the norm.