Sorcha Hamilton on supermarket dashes
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.