Black's Brewery in Kinsale. Among the incentives was the opportunity to have a custom batch of beer made, and a group of Beoir members clubbed together to commission that. In the interests of transparency, I was one of the commissioning members, but also in the interests of transparency I had no input into the recipe (other than the occasional vote): all that was left to people much more adept at such things, nor did I attend the brewday, which happened on 8th March last (videos of the day from two of the attendees are here and here).
Back when we were discussing what sort of beer to make, it was mentioned that there was no big and hoppy double IPA being made in Ireland, so we decided to use the opportunity to send out a signal that this is the sort of beer that at least some consumers would like to exist. Of course, in the intervening months the Galway Bay Brewery pre-empted us with their amazing Of Foam & Fury, but we stuck to our guns, opting for a slightly higher strength (9% ABV) and a different hop bill: Citra, Galaxy, Summit and Topaz, for maximum fruit impact.
It arrived a dark orange colour, topped by the sort of light tan head you only get on the stickiest of strong hop bombs. It's not sticky at all, however: the texture is surprisingly light and masks the alcohol well. The aroma is very different to what I was expecting. Instead of citrus or pine, it smells of boozy warmth and gentle old-fashioned spices: a bit like hippocras, which might possibly be the worst descriptor I've ever used on this blog. And on tasting it's clear that the malts are very much in control. There are lots of dark flavours of biscuit and even chocolate, though that light texture and a strong tannic presence keeps things from getting cloying. And what are the hops up to while all this is going on? Well there's no doubting the bitterness: a sharp bite opens proceedings and it leaves a resinous coating in the mouth afterwards, but of the zingy zesty fruit I had been hoping for there is no sign, unfortunately.
Perhaps it's a good thing that it's so different from Of Foam & Fury, and indeed from O'Hara's Double IPA. Good for diversity in the Irish double IPA market (because that's a thing now), and good that each of these three beers are doing different things within the style instead of treading on each others' toes. If you want to try it next to Galway Bay's DIPA, you can do that today at The Salt House, and probably later in The Oslo. Beoir#1 is also pouring at The Bierhaus in Cork, and is expected at Farrington's in Dublin and the Franciscan Well Easter Festival in due course. We're doing our best to keep track of its whereabouts here.
Thanks, finally, to Nigel who led the recipe development, Andrew and Reuben who did so much in the background to make this happen and especially to long-suffering brewer Sam Black for coming up with this crazy idea and actually seeing it through. We must do it all again some time.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
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