2013 has certainly been a good year in beer south of the border and I've had another few tasty morsels arrive since my last Dublin visit.
First up is Eight Degrees Amber Ella brought to me by The Beer Nut. Cheers! Its an amber ale very much in the vein of 5AM saint, but with a fairly different hop character bought to you courtesy of new star Ella (aka stella...) ably supported by fellow antipodean hop Galaxy.
Its a dark hazy ruby with fluffy amber head which collapses to a lacing. Rich peaches and mango from those Aussie hops on the nose. Medium carbonation and body, fruity gooseberry, fairly bitter but balanced by digestive biscuit malt and red berry flavours from hops. The strength (5.8%) is expertly hidden and I could easily have had a few of these or drunk by the pint and I hope it joins the core range. Here's Reuben's thoughts on this one
The other newbie for 2013 (and just released in bottle) is Carlow O'Haras Double IPA. This was launched on draught at Irish Craft Beer Village in March this year and is the first Double IPA to appear on the market. At 7.5% its certainly one of the strongest though at the lower end of the DIPA spectrum. Thanks to Patricia and Julie a carlow for the sample bottle.
Pours slightly hazy mid amber with minimal lacing of head. Some pineapple and lemon cheesecake on the nose. Overwhelmingly sweet at first, fairly heavy body, low carbonation. As it warms some lemon pith and mango comes through with a touch of balancing bitterness, but very much a bulked up UK style malt led ipa and a sipper. Its good to chill this one down then see how the flavour evolves as it warms up. Great to see a complex beer like this emerge amongst the usual reds and blondes.
Launched yesterday in bottles is seasonal beer Winter Star (4.3%). I tried this last year at the Irish Craft Beer Festival in Dublin. Its a fairly interesting brew with cinammon, orange juice and for some reason coconut. On keg its a hazy medium brown beer with a fairly full body. Coconut is the dominant flavour on the nose and in body, with perhaps a touch of cinnamon. No sign of the orange to me, but perhaps teh bottles will be different anyway?
And finally the third in O'Hara's Barrel aged series is due out next month. Details are under wraps as yet, but if its half as good as the aged Leann Folain's we have already seen it'll make for a great Christmas beer.
I particulalrly like Carlow's website which has plenty of information on each beer plus some useful food pairing tips.