Northern Ireland

South Down to Finland

Another mixed bag as we randomly flit from south Down to Finland. Yep that’s me, it’s all about keeping the theme, if there ever is one. And there’s not here.

Warrenpoint’s Mourne Mountains Brewery recently joined forces with the Belfast Homebrewers Club to brew a 4.5% ABV American pale ale. “Here, what will we call this pale ale?” “Aye that’ll do” is how I imagine the conversation went.

There’s a mild peachy aroma wafting out of the glass but it’s more of a freshly cut grass beer when tasted. Well, I’ve written down bitter, earthy, spicy and dry – in that order. So maybe they all combine to make grass. The bitter Simcoe hop earthiness hits the cheeks, leaving spicy black pepper on the tip of the tongue before the dryness crashes into the back of the throat. Yup, definitely grass. A pleasing pale that’s best enjoyed while your next door neighbour is mowing your lawn.

Let’s stay in that area and pop over to Kilkeel, home of Beer Hut where another collaboration was on the go. Lacada were the brewing partners this time, releasing an 8.1% ABV double IPA called 2 Player. It’s big on pineapple and mango on the nose, followed up by sweet caramel, almost toffee crisp on the first sip.

There’s a tasty creamy backdrop with more of the mango coming through further down the glass. Alcohol burn isn’t an issue here, you’d probably not guess the ABV if you didn’t already know. 2 Player is deep but light – let me know if you know what that means.

Finishing up (obvious pun alert) is my first beer from Finland – Pacific pale ale from Pyynikin Brewery. This is just one of a whole raft of new European brews (macro and micro) available in my local Lidl store in Carrickfergus. And at a mere £1.79 for a 5.5% ABV 500ml can, picking one up is a monetary chance I’m willing to take, chancer that I am. I needn’t have worried.

There’s a light peachy start followed by even lighter black pepper. It’s biscuity and darker brown than I expected but a very acceptable supermarket beer for the price. It’s not going to set the craft beer world on fire but if you want a slightly fruity pale ale that’s a talking point with your mates, you could do a whole lot worse.

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