Dead Centre is on the go now for two years! As they are my nearest brewery I probably began to take them for granted. Alas, you can’t currently call in for a casual pint but hopefully we’ll be able to get in again before the summer is out. I tried their latest three releases last weekend and I enjoyed them so much that I picked up another few. Gentle Chaos is a long awaited New England IPA that ticks all of the boxes as a hazy joose bomb.
Concrete Jungle is a more old school beast, hoppy, crisp and clear. It’s a very enjoyable beer.
The beer brewed to mark Dead Centre’s second birthday is Preciou2 Cargo. It’s a 9.2% Sherry Barrel Aged Tripel. Lovely drop. This one is quite limited, you’ll find it locally in O’Brien’s and Supervalu. You’re also able to order these beers to anywhere in Ireland from Beer Cloud. This is just one development which has kept Dead Centre busy for the last year. And they have some big plans for expansion this year. Hopefully they’ll all come to pass without a hitch. Best of luck to Dead Centre and all who sail in her. Sláinte!
O’Hara’s have broken new ground as the first Irish craft brewery to can their stout with a widget. This results in a wonderfully smooth stout. Great job.
In the interest of balance I also picked up Hope’s Nitro Stout. This one didn’t have a widget. I poured it hard into the glass but it didn’t settle like a nitro beer. As a stout it was grand but there was very little to indicate that it was a ‘nitro’.
The fourth in Ballykilcavan’s Clancy’s Cans series is a Walnut Whip Stout. This is a lovely sweet dessert beer. Nice work from their new Head Brewer Joe O’Driscoll.
To finish I had one of the newly released Double Barrel Aged Leann Follain Stouts. This had no carbonation at all. It wasn’t bad but I’m not sure that the extra time in the barrels improved the beer. That said, I’m glad to have tried it. Perhaps you could pick up some of these beers to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Sláinte!
Pauric Brennan got in touch recently about his new film The Crafty Irish. He tells the story of some of our brilliant Irish breweries. Or rather, he lets them tell their own stories, in their own words. As I’m not a film critic I’m going to borrow something from a cinema classic:
The style is very relaxed and the chats seem quite natural and unscripted. Given that I know all of the subjects on one level or another I can say with a fair amount of certainty that this is close as you’ll get at the moment to having a cup of coffee or indeed a pint with these brewers. Speaking of which, I should tell you who’s involved.
You have the legendary Richard from Black Donkey in Roscommon. The lads Barry, Brian and Rich from O Brother in Wicklow. Paddy from 12 Acres in Laois and David from Ballykilcavan, also in Laois. Actually, they’re all legends.
There’s plenty of humour along the way and this helps to leaven the reality of the brewing game, which is very much a labour of love.
The Bad and the Ugly
On International Women’s Day I feel like I should mention that there are no women featured. And there are women working hard in the Irish brewing industry. They’re definitely in the minority, but still. And lads, it has to be said, none of you are going to win any beauty contests!
Treaty City have just launched their core range in some very snazzy cans. They very kindly sent me out some to try, addressed to ‘Simon Says Beer’! I popped open Outcast first. It’s labelled a Juicy IPA, and at 3.8% you could say a perfectly sessionable one too. It’s hazy and has a great floral aroma. Refreshing and crushable, you won’t go wrong with this one.
Harris Pale Ale was probably the first beer I had from Treaty City way back in February 2015. Back then it had a weird bubblegum flavour which is thankfully a distant memory. It’s now a very solid easy drinking pale ale. Perfect core range beer that deserves to be highlighted as part of Flagship February.
Invasion IPA was formerly known as Shannon River IPA. They’ve upped the abv slightly from 5.8 to 6% but retained the piney Centennial hop aroma and citrus bitterness. This makes for a very enjoyable American style IPA.
The accompanying letter states that the ‘…move to cans is based primarily on Quality and Environmental basis.’ I can confirm that these are quality, cans are definitely the best way to keep beer fresh as they keep out oxygen and light. And the new can artwork will brighten up a dull day or a dark evening. They are available in several good off licences and will also ship nationwide: https://treatycitybrewery.ie/product/new-core-cans/ Sláinte and sure look, yurt!
Once upon a time, about a year ago an old* friend got in touch to see if I’d like a bottle of Pliny The Younger from Russian River. Of course I would. As you may be aware certain events have disrupted travel somewhat. So fast forward to this year. Did I still want that beer? Yes please! Anything else? Oh, anything at all, maybe a Blind Pig…
And she delivered! The Blind Pig was bottled on the 4th of January so it was nice and fresh. I opened it first as it is a mere 6.25%. This is a proper old school West Coast IPA. The aroma is a blast of freshly cut lemon and lime citrus. It has a pleasant slightly oily mouthfeel. The bitterness is bang on. This is a fantastic beer and I was very impressed.
This year’s Pliny the Younger release wasn’t in person and the online demand was absolutely huge. Think Bruce Springsteen playing Vicar Street. Last year was only the first time it was bottled since being brewed first in 2005. My bottle was from the 5th of February last year. So I was opening it exactly a year later. The label included the usual advice to drink fresh for the best hop aroma. But, as it was 10.25% I was pretty confident that it would have held up well. **
Yup, there was still a nice amount of pine on the nose. The bitterness had mellowed a good bit, but it wasn’t overshadowed by the caramel sweetness of the malt. So, I’d imagine that it would be a far bit different fresh. That said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the beer and count myself lucky to have gotten to try it. One day, I’ll be there in person for the launch. Sláinte!
*when I say old I just mean that we know each other a long time.
**I normally wouldn’t review a beer that’s past its prime but chose to make an exception.