View From an Irish Back Yard


On the Beer Part 2: The Reviews

As promised, here are the beers we tried over the last two weekends and our corresponding reviews. Slainte!

Contenders 1 – 5

Contenders 6 – 10

 1. Banana Bread Beer - Wells & Youngs, Bedford, UK
Light perfume of banana on smelling with a subtle sweetness of bananas mixed with a light ale, a bit like Newcastle.  Little bit of artificial aftertaste.  Frank says, “When you burp, it tastes just like banana bread.” Nice, thanks Honey. :)  This was nicer than I thought it would be and not sickly sweet.  I would definitely get it again, but I wouldn’t drink more than one or two in a single sitting.  M – 8/10, F – 7/10

Wychwood Lid

2. Ginger Beard - Wychwood Brewery, Oxfordshire, UK
I was a bit afraid this one would kick me across the room with its promise of fiery ginger, but it was more sweet and smooth than spicy. Smelled lovely and fresh, with a nice head on top. Not what I expected, but not bad. If you’re going purely by the label (or the website), this beer is very exciting to drink.  I think it’s probably what hobbits drink.  And Dumbledore.  M – 7/10, F – 8/10

3. Clotworthy Dobbin - Whitewater Brewing Co., Northern Ireland
A strong, russet coloured ale that rivals Smithwicks and comes out with a nicer, more dominant flavour.  This was one of my favourites because it is just the kind of beer I most like to drink.  It was named after an actual 1800s brewer from the area.  M – 9/10, F – 7/10

4. Courage Directors - Wells & Youngs, Bedford, UK
This superior ale had a wonderful carmelly, buttery smell off it.  It was light amber coloured and had a stronger taste of roasted hops than the previous beers we tried.   This was another good, full-bodied yet easy-drinking beer with a good, smooth aftertaste. M – 8/10, F – 7/10

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

5. Young’s Double Chocolate StoutWells & Youngs, Bedford, UK
As you would imagine with a beer of this name, the Chocolate Stout poured thickly out of the bottle and had a frothy white head atop a nearly black liquid.  It smelled of coffee and chocolate and gave a strong stout flavour with a bitter roasted aftertaste. M, F – 7/10

6. Fursty Ferret - Hall & Woodhouse Brewers’ Badger Ales, Dorset, UK
How could we not buy a beer called the Fursty Ferret?!? Irresistible. :) The first striking feature of this beer (besides the name) was that it smelled like really nice buttered toast.  Seriously! It was a crystal-clear tawny reddish-gold, slightly fizzy with what they refer to as a good “sweet-bitter balance.”  The Ferret was refreshing and nice, not overpowering and not too lingering.  It definitely quenched my Furst. (he he he, sorry.)  M – 8/10, F – 6/10

Badger Ales – Fursty Ferret

7. Wells’ Waggle Dance - Wells & Youngs, Bedford, UK
This was a very light golden beer with a beehive on the label.  It was quite floral but I didn’t detect any notes of honey.  Overall it was fine, but nothing amazing.  M, F – 6/10

8. Young’s London Gold - Wells & Youngs, Bedford, UK
As with all the Wells & Youngs beers, this was not what I expected, though I’m not sure what I expected, exactly.  It was cloudy and golden, and tasted like a mild IPA.  It wasn’t bitter, but it was definitely citrusy, almost reminiscent of Blue Moon.  Frank said it tasted “clean.” M – 6/10, F – 7/10 

A Cozy Drink

9. CopperheadWhitewater Brewing Co., Northern Ireland
Copperhead had nearly no head at all when it was poured – coincidence? It was very earthy, nutty, and unusual in flavour, almost sort of “skunky” if you know what I mean.  It was unexpectedly strong (at least for my somewhat limited palate) and harsher than other average red beers.  M – 6/10, F – 7/10

10. Moonraker - J.W. Lees, Manchester, UK 
This was the strongest beer we tried, coming in at 6.5% and boy could you taste it! It looked black when poured, but if you held it up to the light it was ruby red! Gorgeous.  This was a very rich, very strong ale, barely fizzy and probably best suited to cold winter nights.  The label even said it’s been used in award-winning pies (probably the world-famous UK meat pies).  This beer was amazing, but I was too wimpy to even finish a small glass of it.  M – 8/10, F – 9/10

BONUS BEERS: There were a couple of random extra beers we tried during the week, just to add to the mix.

Porterhouse Pilsner

A: Hersbrucker PilsnerPorterhouse Brewing Co., Dublin
We go to the Porterhouse restaurant and pub in Dublin at least a few times a year and usually order the Oyster Stout on tap, so I thought I’d try the Pilsner for a change when I saw Tesco stocking Porterhouse brews.  It was a nice change from “ordinary” beers, good flavour, nice carbonation.  I don’t drink a lot of Pilsners so I don’t think I can compare it to others from that family, but it was a good bottle of beer and I’d get it again.  I also dig the pop top lids on the Porterhouse bottles.  It all suggests a vibe of young and cool.  Me?  Ha ha ha.  8/10

B: Strawberry Belgian White Beer, Fruli – Huyghe Brewery, Belgium
Um, yeah, if you thought the Banana Bread Beer was a bit cuckoo, this one was totally screwy.  But we had to give it a go! It smelled like kool-aid and tasted like strawberry bubblegum with a beerish aftertaste.  It actually wasn’t terrible, and might be refreshing on a hot day with some ice, but it was very, very sweet.  This is one to give girls who say they don’t like beer. :)  M, F – 5/10

C: Shipyard Export – Shipyard Brewing Co., Portland, Maine, USA 
This was a good, fun American beer.  It gave off a burnt sugar smell when we popped the lid and had a lovely, classic beer colour.  It was smooth and inoffensive, lightly carmelly and easy to drink.  Frank said it reminded him of the beer he drinks in American bars, you know, the ones you can’t remember the name of but are local microbrews that just taste nice.  It didn’t pull any punches or deceive on taste, it just was what it was. M, F – 8/10

Fruli and Shipyard Export

*    *    *    *    *

As a final note, I should also mention we have not reviewed any O’Hara’s (Carlow Brewing Co) or 8 Degrees beers, which are really nice Irish microbrews and were also included in the current offer that got me going on this taste/reviewing binge in the first place! This is simply because we drink O’Hara’s in particular quite often so we wanted to try something different.  I highly recommend either of these Irish microbrews as well and hope to write more about them in future.

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1 Comment so far
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Ah, loverly. Good reviews. Makes me want to find some of these and do a tasting myself. We are always on the lookout for a good new brew :)

Comment by Havilah




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