Two new Irish beers now, from Limerick(?) and Donegal respectively, and both in bottles that suggest a helping hand from Mitchelstown, closer to home.
First up is Baile Brew. I had seen their first website, branding, beer labels, and even a description of their beer before seeing any actual product, but perhaps I wasn't looking hard enough, because there it was in the fridge in Bradley's. Pouring from the bottle, I am again reminded of Mitchelstown, as I was with Green Bullet. It smells like a toned down Howling Gale Ale, and it's wheaty body and lightly bitter fruitiness balanced with a firm malt backbone makes for a wholly familiar experience. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the brew, especially considering the lads have admitted to brewing the most cautious and accessible beer to start with, but it doesn't do much to excite a palate that's already been saturated with Irish pale ales.
On their website, Baile Brew promises more adventure - bring it on.
From further afield is Miner's Red, a red ale from Muckish Mountain Brewery in Donegal. Now, I'm sure I don't need to remind readers of my enthusiasm (or rather, lack thereof) when it comes to an Irish red ale. Usually, it's a whack of caramel with a metallic bitterness akin to the more forgettable British ales out there. Miner's Red starts off as expected, with both nose and palate finding caramel malt in equal measures, but there is a lovely hit of fruit in the middle of the taste, followed by a nice (albeit muted) soft bitterness. No tin foil at all! Hurrah!
Blow your mind it won't, but quench and satisfy a thirst it will.
Best of luck to the two new breweries, and I recommend that readers in Ireland give both of these beers a go. I look forward to seeing what they have for us next.