Stay Alert Roundup #1

New brews have been a surprising and reassuring feature of the Lockdown/Stay at Home/Stay Alert period. Plenty of beer has been brewed with more new titles on our off licence shelves. Unsurpringly no-one has yet called their beer ‘Do Not Inject Disinfectant’. *double facepalm gif*

Bullhouse participated in Other Half Brewing’s All Together worldwide collaboration, more on that here, with a 5% ABV IPA called, er… All Together.

Expect soft, subtle pineapple and Galia melon coupled with a light pine bitterness. It’s a real sunshine beer and even more enjoyable to drink knowing that £1 from every can purchase goes to the South Eastern Trust’s Community Specialist Palliative Care Team which is dealing with those affected by Covid-19.

Another new brew from Bullhouse is the first in its Triple Fruit Series, a 5.5% ABV Double Raspberry/Blackberry Gose. Isn’t that a touch on the high side for a gose? I’d normally expect below 5%.

Anyway, it pours a lovely deep pink colour and possesses a smooth and understated sweet/sour, yin/yang combination that those fruits naturally possess. I’d have expected the sour factor to be higher when adding the fruit so the base gose must have been really light. However it’s not as fruity as I wanted. Claiming to be a double raspberry/blackberry I was expecting a much deeper gose with the red/black fruit to be more intense. But that’s my personal choice, I’m sure the brewers will claim it turned out exactly how they wanted it, right?

Early May saw Mourne Mountains Brewery release a trio of new IPAs in cans with new shiny can art, depicting various climbing routes of the Mournes – Poetic Justice, Graffitti Limbo and the one I had last and decided to make some notes on, Divided Years.

The label says this New England IPA is the strongest of the three at 7.3% ABV (the others are 6.5%) and I enjoyed the other two so I was really looking forward to this. It doesn’t pour anywhere near as hazy as I’d expect for this style of IPA (the photo was taken a couple of seconds after pouring and the beer cleared within a minute) but let’s crack on into the glass.

It’s another new beer with Sabro hops in the dry hopping mix and there’s a big piney bitter bang from the start. Divided Years is a melting pot of many flavours – malty, smokey, black pepper spice and faintly dry. It’s a grand beer as it is if you don’t read the label but it’s nowhere near being a NE IPA.

Finally Lacada has released its very first canned beer. Shacked is a 4.4% ABV pale ale that’s now in cans due to the temporary closure of Portstewart Strand restaurant Harry’s Shack. The beer is made especially for the venue and when lockdown happened, the brewery found itself with filled kegs of beer that were just about to be taken to Harry’s but now not needed. What’s that about necessity being the mother of invention?

The beer itself has a light, sweet peach and oranginess about it with a good wallop of earthy bitterness at the back end and it’s that bitterness that starts to take over halfway down the glass. It’s easy to see why this is originally a beach venue exclusive beer – it’s a no fuss pale ale that would go down so well with a bowl of mussels or a plate of fish, chips and mushy peas as the sun sets on the north coast.

Ahh we can dream of happier times ahead, eh? Stay safe folks.

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