Alltech's beery foody extravaganza is coming back to Convention Centre Dublin for the third time at the end of February. To mark the beginning of the end of the planning phase, the company held a launch event a couple of weeks ago at Sam's Bar on Dawson Street. Two beers from Alltech's Kentucky-based brewing arm were doing the rounds and new to me.
The first was Kentucky Peach Barrel Wheat Ale which has been available since the summer. It's a starkly pale yellow colour and smells very sweet and quite sickly. It's not so bad to drink but it really doesn't taste like beer: there's the intense sugary peach effect of peach schnapps, amplified by a whopping 8% ABV. I almost went looking for some orange juice to add to it. The texture is mercifully light but it's still far more of an alcopop than a proper beer.
Rather better suited to the season was Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale, a 10% ABV monster, orange coloured, and smelling strongly of the oak barrels it has been matured in plus a tiny whiff of autumnal spicing. The roles are reversed in the flavour: all the cinnamon, nutmeg and the like take over with just a trace of sour mash bourbon hovering in the background. There's absolutely no sign of all that alcohol, which is probably a good thing: the vital statistics suggest this could have been a sticky mess with added oak honk, but it's not. If anything it errs on the side of being a little characterless. Pumpkin beer for people who don't really like pumpkin beer, perhaps?
They put on a good show, do Alltech, and if past years are anything to go by Brews and Food 2015 promises to be a great event. Registration for both the exhibition and the Dublin Craft Beer Cup is currently open to breweries worldwide. If you're looking for a bit of international attention for your beer I strongly recommend considering it. It means I may get to have a go at your beer too: win-win.
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