Two beers at the weekend, both consumed after a few hours in the garden. I also tried out the Herbal Crest tonic water, made with kefir water, with my Bertha’s Revenge gin. It was excellent.
Eight degrees Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner
Lightly spicy with a subtle bitter twist. Perfect summer drinking.These guys really make great beer in every style.
Wicklow Wolf A Beer Called Rwanda
I had a bottle of this coffee flavoured beer lying around; I had forgotten how good it is. Lovely medium-bodied ale with a very pleasant fruitiness.Wicklow Wolf are another of our best craft brewers.
Goisot 2008 Bourgogne Aligoté
I bought a case of this and have been slowly consuming it over the last five years. It is still very good, but starting to fade a little. Lovely crisp slightly nutty fruits. Light and very enjoyable.
Delheim Chardonnay sur Lie 2013, Stellenbosch
A sample from O’Briens (€21.95) that went perfectly with my salmon cutlets. Rich and creamy with toasted nuts and some spice. Lovely wine.
Domaine d’Eole 2015, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
€16.95 from Whelehans. A lovely rosé full of exuberant young strawberry fruits. Also matched very nicely to my salmon cutlets.
Fleurie2014 Domaine de la Madone
A wine of the week in Saturday’s Irish Times. Light vibrant and deliciously fruity; it improved as the evening went on, suggesting it will be even better with a little time. €17 from Mitchell & Son.
Maison Plantevin Côtes du Rhône 2014
An organic red from Wines Direct (€13.95) and great value for money. Rich and warming with lovely ripe red fruits. Went really well with my barbecued chicken.
Fernando de Castilla Antique Amontillado
The leftovers from a Spanish wine talk I gave down in Ballymaloe last week, this is a brilliant sherry, all grilled almonds and other nuts with a crisp bone-dry long finish. €39.95 per 500ml bottle from Searsons.
First published in the Irish Times, Wednesday 16th March, 2016
Children of the Revolution India Pale Ale, Wicklow Wolf
The Craft Brewers of Ireland love an excuse to come up with a seasonal brew, preferably with a pun or two in the name. A combination of St. Patrick’s Day and the 1916 celebrations has provided plenty of scope.
Children of the Revolution ‘salutes the bravery and vision of our countrymen and countrywomen who made possible the Ireland we live in today’. I am not sure they had today’s Ireland in mind back in 1916, but the politicians had better watch out – as Marc Bolan sang in 1972 ‘you won’t fool the children of the revolution’. This is a medium-bodied (5.7%) pale ale with a really enticing aroma and flavour of mandarin orange alongside a nice citrus bite and a smooth hoppy finish. Nice beer. ‘We were lucky enough to get a smallish amount of Amarillo hops, so we thought ‘let’s do something special, lets dump it all in to the IPA,’ says Quincey Fennelly of Wicklow Wolf.
Apparently someone took offence to the name of the beer, arguing it encouraged underage drinking. After an appearance on Joe Duffy, it went viral online. Quincey Fennelly says his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since. ‘We are all our mother’s children whatever age we are. I don’t think the name would persuade teenagers to pay €4 for a bottle instead of several cans of cheap larger.’ As the label says, the bitterness ends here!
Feeling a little jaded after all those celebrations? Need a little boost before the New Year’s revelry? What better pick-me-up than the hair of a dog combined with a dose of caffeine? A Beer called Rwanda is just that; a collaboration between Bray brewer Wicklow Wolf, who make a string a very tasty beers, and coffee importer and roaster Java Republic. It is 5.1 per cent in alcohol with light coffee aromas and an enticing mix of blackcurrants, redcurrants, lightly toasted coffee bean and a touch of caramel.
“We wanted to do a seasonal and we are friendly with some of the people in Java Republic,” says Quincey Fennelly of Wicklow Wolf. “It was kind of on the cards for nine months but we couldn’t fit it in. Rather than doing the obvious coffee porter we decided to do a brown ale.”
Java Republic recommended the Rwanda coffee. “The name was really just a working title but we liked it and so did they. The beer has gone down extremely well and is almost sold out. We may brew it again for next Christmas. In the meantime we have a few other ideas up our sleeve for 2016.’