Sor­cha Hamil­ton on su­per­mar­ket dashes

The Irish Times Magazine - - NEWS - SOR­CHA HAMIL­TON @ ITbeerista beerista@ irish­times. com

Su­per­mar­kets can be hit and miss when it comes to beer: of­ten you’ll find a few to­ken craft of­fer­ings among rows of the usual sus­pects. But it is get­ting bet­ter.

At Tesco this week I picked up a few bot­tles of Car­rig Brew­ing Co beers un­der the su­per­mar­ket’s four- for-¤ 10 deal. Car­rig, a fam­ily- run busi­ness in Drumshanbo, says it is the first brew­ery in Co Leitrim for more than 150 years. Its la­bels carry the Mi­cro Brewed in Ire­land logo, which is a handy way of spot­ting cer­ti­fied in­de­pen­dent brew­eries. ( The ICBI logo is an­other one to look out for.)

Car­rig Pil­sner, which is a bright golden colour, has the clas­sic sweet, grainy char­ac­ter­is­tic of the lager style. I’ve tried quite a few craft lagers re­cently and been dis­ap­pointed – the sim­ple and clean pro­file of the style is dif­fi­cult to get right – but this one is well made, crisp and very drink­able, and at 4.8 per cent al­co­hol it is a good one for sum­mer.

Poach­ers Pale Ale by Car­rig is a straight- up, ap­proach­able craft beer at 4.7 per cent al­co­hol. It’s a pale am­ber, light in aroma, with some nice flavours of mar­malade, a lit­tle bit of grape­fruit and cit­rus as you drink. There’s a bready, malty back­bone, and the bit­ter­ness builds, be­com­ing slightly tan­nic. Over­all, it’s a lit­tle dry for my tastes.

A black IPA is a kind of de­ceit, us­ing roasted malts for a darker colour but with all the fruity juici­ness of a hoppy IPA. Car­rig’s Coal­face is a 5.5 per cent black IPA, the name in­spired by Leitrim’s old min­ing in­dus­try. It has lots of roasted, choco­late flavour and smooth­ness, al­though I didn’t get a big fruity hop­pi­ness. ( That may be­cause this bot­tle was within two and a half months of its best- be­fore date, and the aroma and flavour of hops can dis­si­pate very quickly.) It’s more like a dry stout than a hoppy black IPA – but it’s a tasty one.

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