Wednesday, 29 August 2012

#76: Second Tier Beer

OK, maybe I'm being harsh by referring to these next two beers as 'second tier', but in my defence, my previous experience of this brewer set expectations high. The brewer is the Carlow Brewing Company, and those past beers are described in all their lovely glory here and to a lesser extent here. As such, I suppose these following two are maybe not second tier in a general sense, but they certainly don't compare favourably to their brothers.

First up is Curim Gold, described as a Celtic Wheat Beer. When I first tried this as an innocent craft beer beginner, I thought I was getting an Irish brewer's interpretation of what I understood to be a wheat beer - a German Hefe or Belgian Wit. Alas, what you get is a simple wheat ale. It pours a very fizzy golden/amber, with a creamy, bubbly white head. On the nose I got faint bubblegum and lots of fruit, with a slightly grainy lager-like aroma throughout. The taste opens with malt akin to the English ale toffee flavour, and proceeds through refreshing, light citrus fruit to the metallic hops and biscuit finish. The body's light, and far too gassy for my liking. In fact, it felt like sparkling water at times. The website suggests that it would by a good accompaniment to hot, spicy foods, but I think I'd rather stick to a quality lager or IPA. 

This next one was always going to have it's work cut out. Generally, I don't go for an Irish Red, and the only one I think I've really enjoyed is the Fran Well's Rebel Red. This is precisely why this beer was the last to be purchased, but every beer deserves a fair chance, so let's get to it. O'Hara's Irish Red pours a surprisingly dark red, with lots of bubbles sticking to the glass and a very small bubbly head. On the nose it was hops first, and like the Curim above, they gave off a metallic note. Other than that it's very balanced between malty toffee and sharp bitter fruit. Here my notes peter out, and I describe the taste as being much like the aroma. Again the beer has too much carbonation for my own personal taste. It's not at all a terrible beer, but it's so very ordinary.

That being said, I reckon I'd pick it up over the Curim any day. Both are lesser beers than the Leann Folláin, Irish Pale Ale and Irish Stout.

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