Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Beer: Two-by-Two New Brews - My Views

In case you think that I work in the PR department of O'Hara's - with two posts about them one after another - I can assure you that I don't! I just needed to get my detour to Brewery Corner out of the Kilkenny Craft Beer Festival post, which follows soon.

I found out a few weeks back that O'Hara's - Carlow Brewing - had brewed a collaboration with Starr Hill Brewery from Crozet, Virginia in the US but only discovered the day before travelling to the Kilkenny Craft Beer Festival that it was going to be on tap in Brewery Corner - O'Hara's own bar in Kilkenny - the same day. So, ever the beer ticker, I took a break from the festival and toddled off towards Parliament Street.

Arriving at the bar I spotted the sign on the pump - a hastily used bottle label - for the new beer and greedily decided to go for a pint, although my normal portion size on a day out like this is a half pint. Less quantity equals more variety in my book, er, blog.

After being informed that I was the first member of the public to try the beer, I sat there for a moment admiring my pint, and with a rare sense of superiority at having one over on the rest of the Bloggers, Tweeters and Beer Tickers in the country.
Was this how they felt all of the time?

So, Foreign Affair is a Red IPA (Which might make it a IOA - India Orange Ale?) made with the Falconer's Flight blend of hops from the US and I can only presume Irish malt. Whatever the ingredients, the beer tasted to me of ripe peaches with a splash of lemon, puréed and then sucked through a gingernut biscuit. It was super fresh of course, having only come out of the conditioning tank the previous day. (I think!) That combined with a nice juicy, full body made me doubt that it was only 4.8% abv. This is a beer I could happily drink a few pints of on a Saturday afternoon...

The pub was a little quiet but there was a steady trickle coming and going from the bar, especially for a Saturday afternoon. There were two groups of Americans in and a few locals came and went too. The friendly staff were kept busy; tasting trays and pints of their own cider seemed to be going well. Good music was seeping from the speakers and I felt relaxed, and in need of another drink.

I was tempted to get a pint of Leann Follain but was persuaded - quite easily strangely enough - to have another new(ish) stout instead; the second-coming of Lublin to Dublin, which I hope will continue on to become a series, made in collaboration with Browar Pinta from Poland. Last year's version was a gorgeous oatmeal version of the style and this year's is a 6% abv milk stout, and a 'robust' milk stout at that, or so the label said!

It was little cold to start, as personally I like my stouts off a cool shelf more so than out of a fridge, but even at that I was hit with a smooth and creamy, quality milk chocolate. As the glass warmed up the chocolate was even more evident, as was a bitter very slight black cardamom smoky/spicy aftertaste that stopped the beer from being sickly sweet. It was as gorgeous as last years stout but maybe more sublime.

I was two for two here, and sitting at home now typing this I almost feel embarrassed at finding two more O'Hara's beers to rave about...


But back at Brewery Corner time was ticking on and so I finished up and headed back to the festival - my next post.

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