04 September 2014

Taking justice on the chin

Two more brand new bottled brands to finish off this week's epic crawl of Irish beers.

Another new brewery has opened in the Dublin hinterland in the form of Kelly's Mountain in Clane, Co. Kildare and they've called their first beer Justice. Though described on the label as a pale ale, the potential drinker is also helpfully informed that it's a mere 20 IBUs suggesting in advance that it's not going to be a palate-burner. And so it proves. Pouring a flawless rose-gold and topped by a generous pillow of off-white foam it smells quite husky: porridge and brown sugar with just a hint of sweetshop fruitiness in the background. The malt is unashamedly at the reins on tasting, the flavour profile much closer to an Irish red than most any Irish pale ale with lots of bourbon biscuit, some dry tannins and just a mild metallic tang from the hops. English-style bitter might be a better way to think of it, and I'm reminded of London Pride in particular. The texture is beautifully smooth, creamy even, and the strength a sessionable 4.5% ABV so it's by no means a chore to get through.

Jack Cody's is based in Drogheda and their first release is an amber ale called Smiggy. I love the artwork on this. The beer itself pours a murky brown with low carbonation resulting in a loose-bubbled caskish head. It smells spicy: enticing prickly barbs of raw hop, promising a workout to come. It's quite balanced however, perhaps disappointingly so. The bitterness is the first thing to jump out, fading quickly to allow warming toffee and milk chocolate malts into the picture too. These are complemented by zesty orange and mango juiciness in the finish and the end result is that bitter-sweet fruit-chocolate combination that amber ale does so perfectly. On the one hand, I think a bit more hop welly would do it no harm, but on the other we have here an amazingly complex beer at an extremely modest 4.8% ABV. There's also a Jack Cody's pilsner which I've not tasted yet but it has its work cut out to match this one.

The Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival, opening in the RDS at 5pm today, promises to be the biggest gathering of Irish beers ever seen under one roof. The last four days of posts on this blog are just a taster of the sort of thing to come this weekend.

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