27 May 2016

Tastes of summer

It's bright and breezy brews today, for the longer, sunnier days. First up, Metalman Zwickel, the Waterford brewery's take on the German lager style. Though unfiltered it's not specially hazy and pours from the can a pale shade of yellow. The aroma promises hints of grass and lemons though the flavour is much more malt-driven. I get a wholesome and husky grain flavour foremost in the taste, properly smooth with a satisfyingly full body and not too much fizz. The sweetness levels edge towards candyfloss but there's a late smack of serious green bitterness on the finish that holds it in check. It's a beautiful beer, and totally convincing as a German knock-off. And despite the biggish ABV of 5.3%, it deserves to be quaffed in larger quantities: three cans will fill your Maßkrug nicely.

Sticking on the hazy and yellow theme, we have The Púca next, described by White Hag as a "Dry Hopped Lemon Sour". I found it on tap in The Adelphi on Abbey Street, recently refurbished following a short spell as The Jolly Monk and shaping up into a very nice venue. To be honest I didn't find a whole lot of hops in the beer, and the lemon takes a while to show itself, but it is substantially, deliciously, sour. It has that very straightforward tang that you find in Berliner weisse which is supremely refreshing. The lemons lurk behind this, creating an effect very similar to posh cloudy lemonade. A cereal crunch finishes it off. If I wanted to nitpick I'd say it is a little thin of texture, which I guess is perfectly understandable at just 3.6% ABV. But that's a very minor quibble: this is a beaut and perfect sunny day drinking.

 Galway Bay, meanwhile, has a new amber ale on the taps at its bars, named Althea. My pint in Alfie Byrne's arrived a somewhat murky orange colour. It's only 4.8% ABV but is very thick and chewy. There's lots of resinous dank and spicy pepper in the flavour and it almost tastes bright and juicy but there's a savoury fuzz from the yeast in the glass that gives it a much more serious edge. This got more and more pronounced as I moved down the pint, eventually becoming almost brett-like in its muckiness. There's a very good beer lurking in here somewhere but Althea just misses the mark to be worth the €6 they're asking for it. That's what Goodbye Blue Monday cost, and this is no Goodbye Blue Monday. Clean-up required.

Finally, and staying on a hoppy buzz, I chanced across Eight Degrees Citra on a quiet sunny afternoon a few weeks ago in The Hill. This IPA is 5.7% ABV and is very Citra indeed. All the Citra, in fact. Lemon candy meets herbal cannabis in a recently disinfected bathroom. For all the hop action it's surprisingly sweet-tasting, almost sticky, like a half-sucked boiled sweet, though also like resin, I guess. The texture is greasy, in a not unpleasant way. Citra is impressively put together and will keep the hop-lovers happy but one pint was plenty for me. Next in the brewery's Single Hop series is Mandarina Bavaria, which should be hitting taps over the coming weekend.

Regarding this lot, however, the lighter and cleaner beers are definitely my preference for summer drinking. Amber Ale and IPA can wait until the autumn. At the Killarney Beer Festival which starts today and runs to Sunday, look for me under the Púca tap.


  1. I thought you said those Maßkrugs were 'an abomination '? 😂