Two weeks ago the Bierhaus celebrated their 8th birthday, and rather fittingly, they featured Eight Degrees heavily on their guest tap list to help things along. Sure enough, I was there.
The Irish Craft Beer and Cider Fest was going on in the RDS at the time, and two new beers the Mitchelstown outfit were exhibiting there were on tap here. First up was the third (and final) entry to the single hop series, this time with Nelson Sauvin in the starring role of a saison. It's pale, cloudy and orange and produces a gorgeous aroma of bitter lemon rind and curd, sweet pineapple and an acidic tang. I can't help but make comparisons with the Magic Stone Dog of the previous week, itself a hopped-up saison, and this beer comes out on top. Sharp, tangy acidity at the start, almost to the point of being cheesy, before abruptly switching to coriander and clove spiciness and a cool, herbal bitter finish that suggests flashes of mint. The ABV is an overshot 7.4%, but the beer remains far more drinkable than you'd think. Layered, refreshing and an outright success.
The other beer on show was Alba Abú, a 'Scottish Independence ale' brewed with pine needle and heather, the effects of which are felt to varying degrees in the finished product, but that's not to say that it isn't delicious all the same. This dark red ale gives plenty of pine, grapefruit peel and sweet bubblegum on the nose while the flavour is propped up by a caramel backbone but supports a decently bitter, citrus fruit and piney hop presence; the piney-ness could be down to the addition of actual pine needle, but having never tasted a beer with pine needle added, I can't tell. Either way, there is pine. Of heather there's nary a whiff, but the 'green' leafy dryness at the finish may have something to do with it. A punchy opening peels off pretty early to feel a tad light, but never does the beer stop being delicious. Another success.
Pair these two with a silly amount of the phenomenally good Simcoe, and a good night was had by all. Eight cheers to the Bierhaus and Eight Degrees, two stalwart proponents of good beer in Cork.