Metalman are celebrating 10 years of brewing this year! The Waterford brewery has launched some special beers to mark the occasion and they very kindly sent me out some to try. Included in the box was their iconic Pale Ale which was the first Irish craft beer to hit the shelves in cans back in January 2015. I remember bemoaning the fact that it was never bottled as it was rare enough that I’d come across a tap but they showed remarkable foresight in investing in a canning line.
Windjammer is a NZ Amber – hopped with very tasty hops from New Zealand. It tastes great on a sunny evening in the garden.
Giant Molecular Clouds is the first in their Galactic Voyager Series. It’s a New England style IPA with Amarillo, Azaca and Huell Melon. It’s very enjoyable. And juicy. Keep an eye out for this hoppy series and the very fetching artwork over the course of the summer.
Decade is a beer in lieu of a tenth birthday cake but imagine a Black Forest Gateux with an espresso chaser. This Tart Cherry Coffee Porter is exactly how you’d imagine it to be. Waterford’s Coffee House Lane lent a hand with this one and I’ve drank enough of their coffee too! So join me in raising a glass or two of Metalman beer to help them mark ten years of brewing. You can find them at http://metalmanbrewing.com and in good off licences. Sláinte!
King of Kefir contacted me a couple of weeks ago and said they had a new bottle and new label and asked if they could send me out some samples. I replied that I wasn’t sure if I liked kefir, as I think the last time I tried it was a fairly ropey home brewed version. They still sent me out a package with a nice hand written note. So I’ve spent the weekend drinking them.
Oh, and, don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a lifestyle and wellness blog. I started with the Cucumber, Mint and Thyme as I expected it to be my least favourite. I’m not a huge fan of cucumber but it proved to be a pleasant, refreshing beverage on a sunny afternoon. Not a million miles off gin and tonic flavours.
I was very interested in popping Hopped Culture open as it was hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Mosaic. To answer the question which I posed in the title – Kefir is a fermented beverage, these are non alcoholic and if you’re diet conscious they have only 7 Kcal per bottle. Personally, I’m mostly concerned with the taste. If diet or alcohol are a problem I can drink water, or, indeed coffee! I must say I was impressed. This is a very tasty drink and the hops work well in it. I will definitely keep this on hand as a non alcoholic alternative to beer.
The Lemongrass and Ginger had an intriguing blend of cardamom, fennel, star anise and cloves in the mix. It also ticked the boxes as a dry, refreshing, grown up beverage. You certainly don’t have sticky teeth after drinking these.
Lastly, I popped open the Chilli and Ginger with some homemade pizza this evening. And I can confirm that it was a successful pairing. Nice little tingle from the chillies. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this range. If you want to give these a try you’ll find them in all of the fancy food shops: Bradley’s, Fallon and Byrne, 57 The Headline and in Supervalu Food Academy fridges. Sláinte!
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!