Radikale is Cork's newest brewery, currently contracted by award-winning homebrewer Alain in a couple of brick-and-mortar setups in the county. Having launched last month and already moved on to the second beer of the line, there's some catching up to do.
Thankfully, the catching up is all taken care of in the notebook; I was at the launch of Hopster, a single hop American pale ale, at the Bierhaus, where I sampled a bottle, a keg and a cask version of the beer. All were good, but the bottle paled in comparison to the other two. First, the keg. It arrives clear and orange with a small head and produces an aroma that is slightly subdued but that has flashes of juicy citrus fruits. It's properly bittersweet to taste; a chewy and chunky body gives you orange and mandarin skins and pith with a round sweetness following through to offer serious balance. The mouth is left with a tingling bitterness after, letting you know you've had plenty of the beer's single hop variety, Chinook.
It may not be a world beater, but as an American pale ale and a first ever commercial brew, it's pretty damn good.
And it's even better from the cask. At first it seems there's more sweetness to this one, but it eventually finds its hoppy feet. The creamy texture does wonderful things for the astringent and zesty hop profile that elevate the beer to greater things. The fact that it was dry-hopped with Simcoe may have helped things.
For his second beer Alain has rather unusually opted for a Belgian dubbel. Rubenesque is the name, named for the Flemish Rubens, and it weighs in at 7%, served by the half litre, no less.
Rubenesque certainly looks like a dubbel, pouring a clear mahogany brown with a small had that, alas, fizzles away. The nose is all raisins covered in toffee chocolate and a slight blackberry jam thing. Very appealing, of course. And so too is the palate; chocolate and raisins in an overall satisfying round sort of way, with surprising cleanliness and restraint. It's simple and goes perfectly with some candlelit reading in the garden on a summer's evening. But perhaps the most impressive thing about this beer is the way it avoids the cloying sticky sweetness that characterises the only previous Irish dubbels I've had from White Gypsy and Eight Degrees, both of which had more than a little bit of 'wit' or 'hefe' -like esters in them.
A bloody good show from Radikale then.