St Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us. Across the land, streets will be overrun with excitable drunks sporting daft green hats, dancing ridiculous jigs and spilling huge amounts of booze. Some of these revelers might even be Irish.
To herald the onset of the biggest stout guzzling celebration in the world, we’re giving a first ‘beer of the week’ recommendation in an Irish brew. And it’s not Guinness.
As much as we like a good pint of the Dublin produced black stuff, it’s another stout that has caught our attention this time. O’Hara’s in the label-name for the Carlow Brewing Company, based in County Carlow to the South East of the capital. They’re a well established brand with a good range of beers, including a splendid Irish red ale, and there are plenty of Irish folk who will declare this stout the finest in the country.
It’s a deeply dark brew with a noticeable, yet discreet bitterness, well roasted toasty flavours and a tart twang of barley. Its entrance is crisp and fizzy, but this bubbly excitement soon smooths out – less viscous than some stouts, but still with a touch of creaminess. But perhaps it’s most noticeable for its dryness. From the moment it tap dances on the tongue, until long after the liquid has been polished off, it imparts a deliciously dry feel throughout the mouth.
We hardly ever take to the streets in drunken revelry; singing in public is strictly forbidden; and we certainly would never be seen wearing daft green hats. But we might just acknowledge St Patrick if only as an an excuse to sneak open a bottle of this while relaxing at home, well away from the drunken mayhem outside.
Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company, County Carlow, Ireland
Beer name: Irish Stout