All of Ireland's beer nerds get the same new stuff at the same time, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it more of a challenge to find different things to write about. This post isn't one of those different things, rather it's a brief assessment of a trio of beers on the tips of people's tongues of late.
As well as the backs of their gobs.
It's the Beer Camp series from Sierra Nevada, a sort of experimentalish range, I guess, with an IPA, an Imperial Red and a Belgian Style Black IPA - yeah, another one of those.
The Imperial Red (#95) was first from the fridge, and despite chucking half of it on the floor with my clumsy fumbling, I did manage to get a decent glass. And thank god, because it's gorgeous. Dark red with a beautiful coppery, grapefruity and tropical hop aroma, with burnt caramel and brown sugar lending more conventional 'red ale' character to proceedings. The punchy fruit that opens the palate gives in to hot toffee with hints of coffee lingering long after the finish. This is very tasty stuff, definitely one to try with it's relative freshness at the moment.
Next up is the IPA (#93), which again has a lovely punchy aroma of citrus fruit rind and lemon and orange juice, with that nice fruit expression turning up again on the palate. There's a decent round of oily bitterness and a bit of warm malt, but the alcohol of 6.9% feels like it should be delivering more. Not bad, but not totally remarkable either.
Finally we reach the Black IPA (#94), Belgian-style no less. It pours black and tan and yet again we're greeted by a hop-forward aroma, albeit with more herbal in mint overtones than before. Silky milk chocolate, coffee and vanilla make brief contributions to the otherwise green hoppiness on the palate, and I have to say that while it's not incredibly complicated, it's very enjoyable. Another one worth trying.
So there you have it. To be honest, you can't go too far wrong when buying Sierra Nevada beer, so picking up the three would make for a lovely evening's drinking. Otherwise, the Imperial Red seems to be the cream of the crop.