In these lockdown times it’s now becoming more important than ever for local beer fans to have their tipples of choice delivered to their door. Popping into the off licence is gone, as the delivery driver is now king. As mentioned in my previous blog post, there are numerous local breweries and off licences dealing with online and telephone orders. Of course there are many more outlets in GB and the Republic of Ireland and one such place I had the joy of ordering from recently was the excellent Craft Central from Dublin.
Twelve beers easily ordered – some from Ireland and throw in a few from Scandinavia, Spain and USA for good measure. There’s an excellent range available but let’s concentrate on the Oirish fer now.
I’ve been a fan of County Kildare’s Rye River brewery for quite a while, especially the Crafty Brewing range produced for Irish Lidl stores (we’d like them up here in NI, if Lidl bosses are reading this!)
I’d been wanting the limited edition Miami J New England IPA for a while and was very pleased to finally crack one open. Now when I say limited edition, I mean limited edition that’s not really limited but rebrewed when stock runs out and the customers demand more. You know? That kind of limited edition. Limited or not, Miami J is soft and bouncy, full of pineapple and light tangerine with a zing of pine at the back. At 6.5% ABV it feels a lot less alcoholic and you’re in danger of quickly sinking a few of these at your socially isolated barbecue.
Let’s stay with the fruity ones for the minute and from County Meath, Brú’s Tutti Frutti 5.5% ABV tropical pale ale. Brú and Leitrim’s Carrig brewery recently merged, with some of the Carrig brews now selling under the Brú label. Tutti Frutti is one of them.
The side of the can blurb says it’s part of their new Urban Jungle adventurous range, so let’s see how adventurous they can be. It’s very bitter and took me by surprise. I thought a beer called Tutti Frutti would be more, well, how can I put this, fruity? I’ve certainly had fruitier. Any essences of orange or mango in there are quickly suppressed by a green and spicy bitterness and while I would still say it’s a tasty beer it certainly isn’t a Tutti Frutti. Little Richard would be disappointed.
I’d never before had the pleasure of drinking a Ballykilcavan beer. The County Laois farm-based brewery has been around since 2017 and I must hang my head in shame at only now getting round to having its Bambrick Brown Ale.
Sometimes in this FOMO obsessed world it’s lovely to have a beer. Just a beer. No messing, no BS. This 5.8% ABV American brown ale sits wonderfully in the aforementioned no BS category. Chocolate, toffee, brown sugar, malty, sticky, delightful. The head sticks to the side of the glass as it goes down. Perfect. There aren’t enough brown ales around – let’s start a brown ale campaign (scurries off to think of a revolutionist slogan)
Like the previous breweries, finding Third Barrel beers in Northern Ireland is also a challenge. It’s a Dublin based collaboration of Stone Barrel and Third Circle and I first had the joys of their wares at the 2019 Portrush Beer festival when they made the trip up. They’re as mad as a box of frogs.
Craft Central had the 7% ABV Plastic Paddy black IPA in its online store and one duly found its way into my cart. There’s an initial big bang of face-smacking piney bitterness which is tongue tingling and lingers longer than an early ’90s Cranberry tune. This is followed by a malty roastiness with a whiff of sweet dark fruits – think of a thin Veda bread beer and you’re somewhere along the right track. If you don’t know what Veda is, you need to sort your life out by getting that online too.
Finally we’ll crack on to what I hoped would be the Daddy of the online order, Larkin’s Barrel Aged Lore. This 11.5% beast lured me in with the words ‘rye whiskey barrel aged doppelbock’ on the can. You have my attention, I love doppelbock.
Despite sitting out of the fridge for ten minutes, I was disappointed there was no head when poured. I get worried when that happens. This beer is the result of Larkin’s Lore doppelbock sitting in whiskey casks for 10 months and as I love whiskey and doppelbocks, this should tick my boxes. First off is the whiskey hit. A big hit. Then more of a big hit. A doppelbock is boozy enough to start with and usually has a deep caramel sweetness with the odd fig or date popping its head up. BA Lore has all of these but there’s more. Toasted coconut? Hmmm. Then the whiskey comes back and punches the fig and coconut out of the ring. I like it but feel there’s something not quite right about it. Is the whiskey too prominent? Does it detract from a lovely beer underneath? Probably, yes. Lovely art work on the can though.
Wherever you’re getting your deliveries from, be it local or much further afield, you’re keeping businesses afloat and thanks for doing that.
Stay safe, follow the rules and enjoy your delivered beers.