24 June 2015

Birthday treats

My previous post covered the new (to me) beers available at the Killarney Beer Festival at the beginning of the month. But obviously any big international gathering of beer nerds like this is going to include the occasional sideshow. This post is about a handful of other beers that I encountered that weekend.

It started on the train down where the redoubtable Mr Lamond was passing around a bomber of Southern Tier's Mokah, a 10% ABV chocolate/coffee imperial stout. It was pretty hard going: extremely sweet and with that slightly sweaty taste you get from elderly lukewarm filter coffee, plus nasty wet cardboard. The flatness and massive hot booze effect did nothing for its drinkability either. Maybe the serving conditions weren't ideal for a fair assessment but I doubt I'd be running back to it again. Still, thanks for the tick Steve!

For my part I was carrying a beer that sometime visitor to Ireland from Israel Mr Tom Lahav had brought particularly for Steve's attention. I opened it on one of the festival evenings as things were winding down. It appears not to even have a name on it but seems to mostly go by Tuborg 6.7%. This was brewed by Carlsberg's Israeli arm in Ashkelon to celebrate 67 years of Israeli independence in 2014. And it's a pretty decent malt-forward alt-like dark lager: bourbon biscuit as the main flavour feature, a very slight burnt roast dryness and a nicely crisp finish. Maybe it's just the name, but it does remind me a little of Tuborg's classic Julebryg, though perhaps a little less sweet. Cheers Tom!

On the roster of official festival business was Beoir's commemoration of the European Beer Consumers Union's 25th birthday. EBCU headquarters has issued a 3L jeroboam of St Feuillien Tripel to each of the 13 member organisations, to open at an event of their choosing during 2015. I was there when Poland popped the cork on its bottle last April in Łódź but only realised after the event that I had no notes on the actual beer. I wasn't going to miss out in Ireland. And it's an absolute classic of a Belgian tripel: that perfect combination of floral honey sweetness and piquant yeast spicing with no trace of heat even at 9% ABV and served at ambient temperature. Those who look deep in search of complexity will find traces of aniseed and coconut oils too. It's a great beer for celebrating the drinkers who celebrate the brewer's art.

The Mokah wasn't the only beer I drank on the train to Killarney, however...

Carl Kins (EBCU Executive) pours for Reuben Gray (Beoir Chairman)