Moonshiners and Pirates

I hadn’t had a new Farmageddon beer in quite a while so was pleased to see a double header hit the shelves about May time in the form of Lockdown pale ale and Bondurant IPA. The 5.5% ABV IPA, presumably named after Jack Bondurant and his moonshine-making brothers during the USA’s prohibition era, starts off with an earthy bitterness which develops into a green, herbal sensation. There’s a faint touch of black pepper spice at the back of the tongue and a dollop of dryness at the front.

In a world of citrus beers, this is a welcome good old fashioned maltier IPA – more from this side of the Atlantic than over there due to the bitterness, but hey, what do those moonshining Americans know about beer anyway?

The second offering from new Donaghadee brewery Twisted Kettle is also an IPA, Deadman’s Island, named after the area where the brewery is situated. I enjoyed the first brew, a coffee milk stout at the tail end of 2019 so was very much looking forward to brew #2 when I picked it up at Grange Wines in Donaghadee.

Labelled as a 7% ABV East Coast IPA (is that USA east coast or Northern Ireland east coast?) it’s hopped with Simcoe and Citra so we know what to expect. It pours thick and murky and there’s a bang of grapefruit rind wafting out of the glass as I pour. It tastes the same, mellowing slightly with some sweet orange juice soon running in tandem with that grapefruit. A mild onion edge quickly pulls up alongside the fruitiness and the three of them have an enjoyable swashbuckling battle in the pint glass. It’s unrefined but, for a second commercial effort, it’s definitely worth your few quid.

While we’re on the pirate subject, Wexford’s YellowBelly brewery completes today’s IPA round up with their 4.5% ABV sessioner Pirate Bay. It starts off with a heavier than expected malty base and a subdued citrus fruity hop profile. The Pirate is quite dry and watery, if that makes sense.

It just doesn’t hit my spot. Am I looking for a bigger whack of hops? Is the flavour a bit wanting? Of course you can make up your own mind if you see it for sale but if you’re a fan of YellowBelly’s Citra pale ale, grab a can of that instead.

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