Connemara Cascade, Independent Brewing Company.
I am not sure Kevin O’Hara is talking to me. When we met at the Alltech Craft Brews Fair last week, I told him his label was boring. What looked like a tree on said label turned out to be maerl, a coral-like seaweed found at nearby Trá an Dóilín. Independent Brewing is based in Carraroe in the Connemara Gaeltacht, a mile from the beach. Kevin set up the business two years ago. ‘I came from a science and then home brewing background, and then I did a couple of courses to get me up to speed professionally’. The beers are widely available around Galway and in Dublin and they are exporting across Europe, mainly to Italy.
Independent Brewing do the usual range of craft beers, a stout, a red ale, a gold ale and an IPA, along with seasonal brews that have included a whiskey stout, and two barrel-aged barley wines. At the stand, I tasted his latest brew, Connemara Cascade made from the classic American hop of that name, and melba, a new Australian hop. ‘The melba brings a bit of fruitiness and is not as strong as the cascade,’ says Kevin. ‘Certainly the cascade is certainly more dominanting this one.’ The Connemara Cascade, released in October, has plenty of grapefruit, citrus and even pine, countered nicely by a smooth malty base. Nice beer.
Published in the online Irish Times, Wednesday 10th February 2016