Two new Irish craft beers today, something I haven't done in a while. Something I also hadn't done in a while is revisit Amber Ella, and once that glorious procedure was done my thirst for sweet amber only grew. Luckily, Carlow Brewing Co. have a new beer of just such a style on the market right now.
Amber Adventure is much clearer than Amber Ella, and makes quite a photogenic beer. The aroma is a million miles from the 8 Degrees offering, giving plenty of deep toffee, chocolate and caramel ahead of anything that could be considered a hop character. This is rectified in part upon the palate, where flowery hops come into play with orange marmalade, but ultimately the slow, unctuous killer tide of toffee malt overpowers. Like the Double IPA, this beer (at least in its bottled form, because draught DIPA was fantastic) doesn't hit the mark of its billed style and leaves me unsatisfied, even though the beer is objectively enjoyable.
Another of Irish craft brewing's leading lights released Mine Head, an American Pale Ale, which is a very interesting proposition indeed from Dungarvan. Helvick Gold is a beer that took its sweet ass time in impressing me, and when it did it was only to the point of being a rather good session blonde, something I rarely need or want. Since then, I've found myself much more pleased with the likes of Mahon Falls and Comeragh Challenger, both of which contain noticeable strands of Helvick and which led me to rediscovering my love for Helvick as an effortlessly quaffable blonde with that unique Dungarvan yeast character. As such, I was very interested to see would Mine Head be a step into the unknown for this brewery, with sweeter malts and more assertive hops. It looks like a Dungarvan beer; cloudy orange with a soapy head. It smells like a Dungarvan beer; citrus, lime marmalade and an alondy roundness with a yeasty, sandalwood thing going on the background. It tastes like a Dungarvan beer; at first it's not unlike Helvick, with citrus and earthy, flowery hops leading the charge. With time it gets more lemony with some mouth-watering peach notes, and only a hint of trailing bitterness to suggest a heightened hop bill.
As usual, a delicious beer from Dungarvan, but not quite like any American or American-style pale ale I've had, more in the regions of an Irish or British version.
And we don't mind that, do we.