01 June 2018

Good night, Vienna

Carlow Brewing Company has really begun to flex its international muscles this year. I covered the arrival of beers from London's Gipsy Hill a few months ago. Then Vienna-based brewery Muttermilch landed in to Urban Brewing for a night in April. They brought two from their core range and a collaboration they'd done with Carlow.

You won't find me passing up the opportunity to try a Mitteleuropa pilsner so I started with Bitta Von Tresen, a pale yellow 5.1%-er. It's as big-bodied as the ABV suggests, with a creamy butteriness not at all dissimilar to Pilsner Urquell. And like Urquell this is balanced against crisply bitter fresh-cut grass. The tap was playing up so servings were slow and foamy, but I could have quaffed a lot more of this, given the opportunity.

But I had to move on, to the inevitable Vienna lager, Wiener Bubbi. The copper colour was proper, though the aroma strangely sour. That was present in the flavour too, though toned down by more orthodox bourbon biscuit. The bitterness level was higher than I like in the style, and failed to bring with it any pleasant hop taste. The end result was a jangly disjointed beer, lacking smoothness and impossible to relax into. A taster was plenty.

The evening's novelty was Coffelia O'Hara, a stout which was a joint effort between the breweries. Its aroma is quite severe -- sharply metallic -- and the texture rather thin, even for just 4.7% ABV. The flavour rescues it somewhat, being sweet with a luxurious coffee-cream chocolate truffle effect. Subtlety and complexity are not included with the deal, and you really need to like coffee to enjoy this. I don't mind the occasional coffee sledgehammer of an evening, however.

Cheers to the Carlow Brewing team for the event. There was Hungarian cider too, which was enjoyable, but not my beat. And there's more to come from the O'Hara's import trolley in a future post.