Northern Ireland beer company number 32 (according to my rough figures) has launched its wares onto local shelves so what’s a man to do when passing McGlone’s off licence in Dunmurry? One of each please, and a 5p bag if I must. Why do I keep forgetting to put my beer carrier back into the boot of the car?
Contract brewed in east Belfast by Knockout, Samuel’s Brewing has three brews on offer, so if you’re sitting comfortably then we’ll begin – with a 4% ABV Helles Lager. True to style, this is a clean, crisp, bright golden start with a slightly sweet maltiness giving way to a subtle floral and grassy hop bite. It’s a decent beer that I fear wouldn’t appeal to the plentiful craft beer w@π#ers among us. However this is more than your average lager and more than a pint could easily be swallied.
Moving on to a 4.5% ABV wheat – this is clearer and thinner than I expect and want from a bottle conditioned wheat beer. It’s a long way from the likes of a hefeweizen and this wheat feels too bland with little of the traditional banana and clove elements coming through.
Finally a 4.0% ABV red. A sliver of dark red fruit hides under the expected caramel base but again it’s thinner than I’d hoped – if I was ordering a red ale I’d want one that’s darker and has a shed load more oomph and “oh yeah” about it. This didn’t. It’s average if that’s not too bland a verb. There are plenty of reds on the market and this would need more bite to make it stand out from the crowd.