Its been a while since I've featured Irish beers on this blog; so hopefully this post goes some way to redressing that omission. As I mentioned in my post earlier this year, Carlow were the first brewery in Ireland to collaborate with an international brewer (to my knowledge!) with Lublin to Dublin, an oatmeal stout brewed with Pinta last year ( which was very well received, coming in as 4th best Irish beer on RateBeer). I've just received a bottle of this year's release sticking to similar themes but as a milk stout this time around. Last year Polish hops were used, I'm not sure what they brought to the party this time as it was again brewed at Carlow.
So how does this years stack up? In my mind it betters even last years excellent release, with a full bodied chocolatey slightly milky mocha taste. This is no sickly sweet dessert beer however, being a proper robust porter first and foremost with the lactose accentuating rather than dominating the flavour profile. Seems the Beer Nut agrees with me.

Carlow also teamed up with American brewer Starr Hill to brew foreign affair, a red IPA. Of course IPA these days is a catch all term and often the beer is very different from even the modern reinterpretation of India Pale Ales. Colour aside, this one makes a good fist at the style being both hoppy and bitter thanks to the Falconners flight hop blend employed; though perhaps a little excessively due to an ABV on the low side at 4.8%. I'm a big fan of hoppy amber ales and there's much to like however with a decent level of carbonation, Big body for its strength and fresh hoppiness with red berry notes. but there's something in this one that doesn't sit right for me with a savoury almost meaty quality that jars somewhat with a tannic nettley bitterness.

Carlow also sent me a cider and hop adventure sorachi ace which I'd previously tried with my own coin. The former I found to be an entry level dryish uncomplex affair but rather enjoyed the latter, the malt bill allowing sorachi ace hops to work their magic - but very much an acquired taste. I'm looking forward to seeing more collaborations with from Carlow, particularly the promised Beoir beer. I also hope to hear whether they decided to use blogger input they gleaned from the conference in Dublin last year to inspire any of their beers.

Thank you to Carlow for sending me the samples, all the beers featured in this post are available bottled from all the usual suspects.

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