26 June 2018

Who wants some?

I've not visited the Third Barrel Brewery, but outbound traffic must be brisk, what with three in-house brands to keep stocked, plus numerous proxy arrangements for other beer makers. In my second post for Indie Beer Week 2018, I'm going to be looking at a varied handful of beers from the D12 brewer.

You rarely have to wait long for something hoppy, and the latest in that line under their own labels is Shut Up Juice pale ale. It's a dense opaque orange colour, 5% ABV and primed with Citra, Vic Secret, El Dorado and Simcoe hops, promising a smörgåsbord of citrus and tropical flavours. Juice is to the fore in the aroma but the flavour is more severe — sharply acidic lemon and lime plus a strong hit of yeast, almost to the point of tasting smoky. There's a great beer under here but I think it came out a bit rough and rushed.

Subsidiary brand Third Circle released a wholly unexpected golden English bitter recently, named AK, which turned up on cask at UnderDog. Bang on at 3.8% ABV and absolutely bang on with its waxy bitter opener — almost Landlordesque. There's a more modern lemon rind kick lightening the mood a little after that, and then it all fades away quickly, ready for another sup. Served a little cooler, somewhere with an outdoors option, it would be a summer belter, and the sort of beer no Irish brewery makes any more. As-was, it was still pretty authentic tasting, and much better than most of what goes through the pumps at Irish Wetherspoons.

I was also happy to chance upon Third Circle's Our Daily Brett at The Beer Market, having missed out on the event where it first appeared. This is another 3.8%-er, and a hazy pale orange. There's a highly perfumed aroma: sweet jasmine and heavier incense. The attractive exotic smell turns to a full-on musk on tasting, loaded with woody resins, all sandalwood and cedar. There's a slight peach tang, injecting a little sweetness, though it doesn't have the gummy thickness that often comes with Brett-derived fruit notes. An unfortunate savoury yeast twang sounds a bum note towards the end. It finishes quickly, entirely in keeping with the low ABV. This is decent, and cleaned up it would be superb.

Moving to the client brewers, but keeping that UK vibe alive, here's C'mere T'eme (should be "T'me", surely?), the second release by Crafty Bear Brewing. Though badged as an amber ale, I had it on cask at The Black Sheep and that very much turned it into a dark English bitter. It's smooth and fantastically tannic. Behind the tea there's an exotic spicing of sandalwood, frankincense and peppercorns. If it stopped there, it would be another great one, but the tannins just keep building out of control, becoming harshly astringent by the end. It was frustrating to see it just miss the mark, but it's an experiment worthy of repeating.

Established client brewer Two Sides has teamed up with Brickyard for two Third-Barrel-brewed offerings so far. The first is Two Sides's second coffee porter, called Bricks & Porter. It's on the high side for a pintable sessioner at 5.5% ABV but makes good use of the extra legroom to pack in loads of milk chocolate and coffee notes, with a sweet dash of hazelnut adding an extra, complementary, dimension. The texture is creamy and yet the body is light. A rock-solid coffee porter, and ideal if you value sweetness over dry and bitter roast.

Finally, for the sort-of heatwave we're currently going through, Two Yards, a 4.3% ABV session IPA. Details are scarce, but it's hella juice-looking and hella juice-tasting, beginning on real oranges and then calming down and thinning out to more of an orangeade thing on the end. In the middle there's a bright floral jasmine spice as well as a mild hit of alium and a naughty buzz of dankness as well. It's extremely satisfying when a beer packs all of this into just a light and easy-drinking package. Maybe there's something to this collaborative brewing lark after all.

The Indie Beer Week posts continue with more Dublin beers tomorrow.

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