As I mentioned last week, Galway Bay's new double IPA is the talk of the Irish beer geek town at the moment, and as it isn't being bottled until January I felt compelled to make a day trip to Dublin to taste it. True, Christmas shopping also played a factor, but the beer was always going to be the decider.
Before we got around to that, however, we made the traditional stop in Porterhouse Temple Bar, where mine was a Hersbrucker Oktoberfest, the special of the day. It was just about OK, being biscuity and grainy and disappearing quickly leaving a decent lingering bitterness behind, but carrying none of the off-sweet slightly dark malt flavours I prefer in a good Marzen. A total bust in a place that sells so much good beer.
Moving on, The Black Sheep was the most convenient Galway Bay outlet before the 7pm train, so it was there we went. My last visit produced the lovely Voyager NZ, but I remember being disappointed with the prices of the draught beers. This time I was more forgiving. The prices were the same (rarely if ever going below the €5/pint mark) but I appreciated the number and excellent variety of taps much more than before. That and the chunky chips, which were perfect for the cold.
Of Foam and Fury pours a hazy amber and produces some wonderful tropical fruit hop aromatics. Pineapple, grapefruit, mango and orange pith are all there from the start, with some nice toffee and bubblegum sweetness coming into play as the beer warms up. On the palate, the malt backbone is sturdy enough but drenched in hop flavours, with the punchy orange skins, grapefruit and pine needle teaming up with the tropical fruit from before, all carried wonderfully on a full body.
Properly hop-forward and bitter in the nicest way, but retaining enough balance to remain smooth and drinkable beyond it's 8.5%.
Hats off to Galway Bay, and keep an eye out for the bottles in the new year.