Tobias from Danish gypsy brewing outfit To Øl was in Dublin recently, at an event organised by Four Corners and hosted in P. Mac's. He told us the To Øl story and introduced us to three of his beers. You can hear more on that in the interview he gave to the Irish Beer Snob podcast here.
Two pale ales and a stout were on the roster, starting with Friends With Benefits, a dense 5.1% ABV hazy orange pale ale. There's a heady aroma of aftershave and the flavour is mostly sweet, the Simcoe and Amarillo hops deferring to the Melanoidin and Munich malts. There's lots of toffee, a fair whack of honey and then just a tangy, pithy bitterness on the finish. Interesting, but it left me wanting more from those hops.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the second pale ale, Garden of Eden. This one's even cloudier, a lurid opaque orange colour. It smelled like runny Camembert at first which put me at some unease, but after a little time to warm up that gets replaced by lovely tropical fruit aromas. And it's the tropical fruit which dominates the flavour: loads of sweet mango and passionfruit to the expense of everything else except a mild peppery bite. I was impressed by the way they managed to get this intense juicy effect from hops until I learned that they simply added actual juice. As well as the two aforementioned, there's also apricot, guava and papaya in here, added right at the end of the brewing process. I feel a little cheated but can't deny I really enjoyed drinking it.
Finally By Udder Means, a big 7% ABV milk stout. It's a style which I'm fine with but have never been especially impressed by. This one was different. It's spectacularly bitter, with the intense green vegetal hop flavour more commonly found in first-rate black IPAs. There's a rich seam of dark chocolate and then the lactose sweetness just as an afterthought. A very grown-up beer overall, despite the slight candy flavours. Highly recommended.
Cheers to Tobias for dropping by, and to Paul and Amy from Four Corners for setting it up.
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