Newcomer Modest Beer from Holywood has been steadily putting out good quality beers since I reviewed the first offering at the end of 2019. And my interest was piqued even more when brewer Chris became the first (to my knowledge) in Northern Ireland to produce a beer using the new-ish Sabro hop. Unfortunately due to lockdown, area of availability and other factors, I wasn’t able to get my hands on the Sabro beer but gratefully picked up a couple of his other newbies when visiting DC Wines on the Boucher Road in Belfast.
Strata is also a relatively new hop and with a description of ‘passion fruit meets pot’, this should be fun. The 4.2% pale ale does indeed provide an initial light and subdued passion fruit but then something else comes tingling in. What is that? Um, it’s herbal. Resiny. Earthy. Tingly again…
It’s light and definitely very moreish. Have I said tingly already? Yeah, I believe this is the first Strata hopped beer I’ve tried and I’m liking it.
I look at the ingredients of the DDH pale ale and this time there’s a hop mix of Sabro and Strata with Azacca at the end. I presume this is using up the leftovers from the previous releases so let’s see how they fuse together.
The 5% pale begins with a strange metallic twang but is swiftly followed by that tingle I had with the Strata beer. It’s not quite an 80’s spacedust tongue tingle but it’s a novelty feeling not experienced with many beers. Again there’s that herby, resin quality infused with some subtle orange and peach. Am I repeating myself here? It seems so.
There’s very little to choose between the Strata and DDH but I’d narrowly pick the latter. Maybe the DDH’s hop mix mellows out any rough Strata edges but what isn’t in doubt is that, despite its size or age, Modest Beer is proving to be a contender in the Northern Ireland beer scene.