A while back I tried Whitewater's unimpressive Belfast Lager, and as such, despite trying their brilliant Clotworthy Dobbin way back in the summer, the brewer hasn't been very well represented on this blog at all. Their Sanity Claus was average, so redemption is in order for this Belfast brewer.
Clotworthy Dobbin is first up, and it pours a nice dark mahogany with red highlights. A nice fruity character ushers in a generally sweet and dark malt aroma, with a woody bitterness peeking it's head above the surface. The taste is different. Part dark ale, part porter, it's good good bitterness from the hops and a delicious toffee and peanut flavour in the middle. The finish is chocolate, and all throughout there's a quiet presence of raisins. Very interesting, very tasty, and highly recommended.
Copperhead was also available, but I passed it up for a Belfast Black. This stout pours exactly as you'd like a dry stout to pour - black and tan, with it's true dark red colour visible against the light. The aroma gives a surprising amount of fruit and a muted coffee bitterness and hinted cocoa notes. The taste opens more or less the same, with that fruity character complimenting the darker roasted malts to a pleasing end. It's very smooth, very drinkable and very light, which may be a nice way of saying it's a bit bland. I reckon this belongs on tap, be it cask or keg, because it seems to be an enjoyable and effective sessioner while struggling to warrant another purchase of a bottle.
So far, the star of the range is Clotworthy Dobbin, and I can't see much competition coming from Copperhead.