18 January 2010

In which I run out of adjectives

The bottle of Irresistable Premium Ale from Chichester's Natural Brewing Company came from a random shelf-sweep in Sainsbury's. There was very little of interest and I took this just because I'd no idea what it was. With the rather drab labelling I wasn't expecting much from it

Following a sniff and a sip I was struck by a descriptor which suits it perfectly but is probably damn all use to the rest of you: this beer is beery. I think my concept of beeriness goes back to very youthful experiences of things like Bass and Smithwick's, most probably from cans. Like cigarette smoke, it's a very grown-up taste and smell, and is obviously lodged somewhere deep in my consciousness. I'll try and unpack it using my own grown-up beer vocabulary.

Beeriness is very close to skunkiness -- it's a pungent hops thing, though hops of the earthy, funky, and rather dry variety, rather than the zingy fruitsome sort. But there's also a light caramel malt thing going on too, a sweetness that I'm putting down to crystal malt -- the driving force in much late-20th-century Irish ale. And then there's a mild mineral undercurrent as well, perhaps related to the famous sulphurous Burton vibe, but a lot less pronounced. Put these together and you have something that tastes and smells like beer. It's quite rare, in beer.

Dark gold Irresistable adds honey-ish herbal notes to this -- that sort of dry waxy honey flavour with an overlay of tannins which you get in bitter like Timothy Taylor's (and in a much bigger way in Landlord). It's softly carbonated and has a satisfyingly chunky body, with 4.3% ABV. All together this makes it a marvellously drinkable beer -- understated yet complex; light but filling. A real pleasant surprise.

On an unrelated note, as Barry mentioned on Saturday, we've just taken the first step in setting up a beer drinkers' union for Ireland. You can read more about Beoir and its first baby steps here. And if you have a serious interest in helping ramp up Ireland's craft beer revolution, then give us a tenner and jump on board.


  1. I think I know what you mean. A mate of mine described Brakspear Bitter as "really old school". I have the same feeling about Adnams Bitter. Brown tasting, sulphurous, and not at all flowery? Is that it?

    Congrats on becoming the Irish Roger Protz.

  2. Yes, it's along those lines. Adnam's bitter is quite beery.

    I'm not sure what to make of being "the Irish Roger Protz", especially given what Alan's been saying about him recently.

  3. "the Irish Roger Protz"

    Very good! :)

  4. Perhaps more Proger Rotz, then, than Roger Protz.

  5. Should I just stick a tenner in an envelope and post it to you? For Beoir membership, I mean.

  6. Might be safer to use the Paypal dealy on the right-hand side of the ICB front page.

  7. Beoir? A good thing but how is it pronounced?

  8. Here you go. Hasn't she got a lovely voice?

  9. Re: tenners, at the moment only registered members of IrishCraftBrewer.com can subscribe via the PayPal doo-hickey, but I can change that if needed (it makes it easier to keep track at the moment, but we'll let anyone donate! :)). As I recall, you're a user Ron.

  10. Anonymous12:01 am

    Hmmm - you won't like the blog I've got lined up for the near future suggesting that when beoir first came into the Irish language it didn't actually mean "beer", then …

  11. Ha! Way ahead of you.

    For a group that supports craft beer, cider, perry, mead and even Irish wine, I think it's ideal.

    We won't have the problem of other groups who made the rookie mistake of putting "Ale" in their name. Amateurs.

    Really looking forward to that post, btw.

  12. "when beoir first came into the Irish language it didn't actually mean "beer", then"

    But it does now, or at least in common use it does, right? Which for our purposes will do fine :)

    The fact is used to also mean Woman is a little more worrying, and apparently in Cork it's still used as slang for a woman. The langers!

    I think I will like that blog post, too, as I like all myth-busting posts :D