Life Food & Drink

Saturday 20 September 2014

Nine of the best Irish craft beers

Liam Campbell lists his top homegrown brews...

Liam Campbell

Published 17/08/2014 | 02:30

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Bottles of beer in ice bucket
Bottles of beer in ice bucket
Liam Campbell, wine columnist chooses wines which are low in alcohol, but not in taste. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
Liam Campbell, wine columnist chooses wines which are low in alcohol, but not in taste. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
BO Bristle, €3.25 (500ml) nationwide at Marks & Spencer and most independent off-licences.

The growing family of Irish craft breweries is making a steady impact on the consumer with their innovation and creativity, widening beer's choice and appeal.

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The essential cereal for all beers is barley; called malt when its starch is converted to fermentable sugar. Flowers from the hop plant are added for fragrance, a light tannic texture and an attractive bitter taste to counter the richness of the malted barley.

India Pale Ale/IPA is a style of beer brewed in England from malted barley since the 1840s and specifically for export to the colony in East India. IPA attracted reduced tariffs because the alcohol was at lower levels around 4pc. Whereas Double IPA was a more recent innovation in the early 1990s in California and included four types of malt with higher alcohol over 7pc.

Here's nine homegrown heroes for you to try:

1) Black IPA, Blacks of Kinsale. 5pc. 
A pale ale that's shockingly black from heavily toasted malt. Richly flavoured treacle and malty with an attractive dry bitter finish.

€3.25 (500ml) in Dublin at Molloy's Liquor Stores citywide.

2) Brú Rí Irish Craft IPA, Brú Brewery, Trim. 5pc.

The hops play a gentle background melody from the floral scent to a gently bitter flavour to savour.

€2.59-€3.29 (500ml) nationwide at Supervalu, Centra, O'Brien's, Carry-Out, Next Door and independent off-licences.

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3) Bristle IPA, Bo Bristle Brewing Company, Banagher. 5pc.

Creamy texture, delicate and feminine with orange zest and the floral hops highlighted on the finish.

€3.25 (500ml) nationwide at Marks & Spencer and most independent off-licences.

4) Full Sail Dry Hopped IPA, Galway Bay Brewery. 5.8pc. Bitterness balanced by malty mellowness and reinforced with extra hop assertive flavours.

€3.29 (500ml) in Dublin at Molloy's Liquor Stores citywide.

5) Scraggy Bay IPA, Kinnegar Brewing Limited, Rathmullan. 5.3pc. Smoothly textured and well-integrated bitterness mid-palate to finish. A good introduction to an IPA.

From €3.29 (500ml) nationwide at independent off-licences.

6) McGargle's Knock Knock Ned's IPA, Rye River Brewing Company, Kilcock. 6.5pc

Fuller-bodied with malty and mellow smoothness, finishing with a hint of caramel.

€8.99 four-pack (330ml) nationwide at Tesco, Dunnes, O'Brien's, Eurospar, Spar, Carryout, selected Mace stores and independent off-licences.

7) O'Hara's Double IPA, Carlow Brewing Company, Bagenalstown. 7.5pc Exceptionally creamy in texture and full-bodied with alcohol. The malty richness is complemented by a subtle caramel sweetness.

€3.69-€3.99 (500ml) nationwide at Dunnes, Tesco, O'Brien's and independent off-licences.

8) Hairy Goat IPA, Mountain Man Brewery, Cork. 4.5pc. 
The attractive bitter olive character persists, finishing with smooth caramel.

€3.79 (500ml) at mountainmanbrewing.com

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9) Of Foam and Fury Double IPA, Galway Bay Brewery. 8.5pc.

Full-bodied and as lush as crushed velvet. Well-balanced bitterness, harmonious to the end.

€5.79 (500ml) at Molloy's Liquor Stores Dublin citywide.

Irish Independent

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