On the eve of Alltech Brews & Food 2015, Grand Cru beers held a meet-the-brewer session with Thornbridge in Against the Grain, tasting the classic line-up of Chiron, Jaipur and St Petersberg and finishing on the 10th anniversary special Jaipur X. This monster is 10% ABV but really doesn't taste it, being the same innocent pale gold as Jaipur and exhibiting the same waxy, honey flavours as the basic edition, just a small bit more of them. I've never been much of a Jaipur enthusiast, but I think the profile works better in a mellower, stronger beer, like this.
Two other special editions were on: Eroica (left) is a 4.3% ABV golden ale with little by way of hop character. Some might call it simple and sessionable; I'm afraid I'll have to file it under watery and boring. The complete opposite can be said of Jehanne, an amber-brown bière de garde of 7.4% ABV and laying on that alcohol in hot and heavy fashion. The dominant flavour is green apples (acetylaldehyde, if my beer chemistry is correct) which I found drowning out any subtleties on offer. Still, it's nicely smooth and warming from the keg and a full pint (cheers Wally!) sent me home glowing.
And so to the main event. Alongside the Irish breweries, Alltech attracted a wide international selection from brewers brought in by their local distributor and those present off their own bat. From the Thornbridge end of the Grand Cru section I snaffled a taste of AM:PM, a 4.3%-er in the must-brew style of the moment, "session IPA". This is rose-gold in colour and has a lovely rich golden syrup aroma, with a matching weighty English ale body. The hops offer little more than a pleasant buzz, with a faint metallic edge. It's not boring and certainly not unpleasant, but it had its work cut out sharing space with the genre-defining Founders All Day IPA and didn't quite match up to it, in my estimation at least.
And that's where it started. There's more to come from Alltech Dublin 2015 next week. A lot more.
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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