It’s always the prerogative of breweries to release new beers, see which ones fare better than others, and then move on to the next new beer or trend. Usually all done while continuing to brew a core range alongside those one-off specials.
However there are some beers that our local breweries, for whatever reason, didn’t rebrew after what appeared to be a success with consumers. Or at least with me.
Here’s a quick run down of some stonking Irish and Northern Irish beers which came and went and I’d love to see return. Do you agree?
1. Kinnegar – Cage Fight (2016)
This 6% ABV Porter was brewed with the assistance of staff at Belfast’s superb Sunflower Bar and I was hooked from the second I read the words “Chocolate Cherry Chilli Porter” on the label. I really wanted this to be great. It was. Boy, it sooo was.
My notes of the time say “A bitter chocolate start with the faintest of sour cherry but this is swept aside soon after with a lingering chilli heat that stays on the better side of tasty rather than overpowering.”
Brewers find chilli beers difficult to gauge as everyone has their preferred level of heat. I like a level that is medium spicy. Y’know, a level where the heat doesn’t make you think you’re drinking pure Carolina Reaper juice, but it’s still quite obvious chillies were used in the brewing process. I loved Cage Fight. Please sir, can I have some more?
2. Boundary – Double Screwball (2018)
The anti-lactose brigade are gonna freak out now. Remember Milkshake IPAs? That was a thing for a while wasn’t it? Is it still a thing? I think so, but not quite as in-your-face a thing as back in 2018/19.
An 8.5% ABV Double IPA, Double Screwball was unsurprisingly a doubled up version of Boundary’s raspberry ripple IPA Screwball. I loved the ramped up raspberry jam and vanilla silliness of Double Screwball, lactose included. A re-run would be just spiffing.
3. Beer Hut – Double Galaxy/Mosaic Milkshake (2019)
Another Milkshake IPA. Aye, bite me. I love the style – some don’t – and that’s something they have to wrestle with. May they find peace in their soul. This 8% ABV beer first appeared at the 2019 Portrush Beer festival and it blew me away. I’m a big fan of the Australian Galaxy hop and everyone loves Mosaic, right?
Bursts of pineapple juice, peach, mango, even ripe banana in there and all on top of a subtle piney bitterness. But as the style suggests, it’s all about the fruity milkshake. If that sounds like your bag – as it was mine – persuade Beer Hut to do the right thing.
4. Boundary – Yeboah (2019)
A second listing from the Belfast brewery is hardly surprising when you consider they brew what seems to be a thousand new beers a year. My notes on this 10.9% ABV Imperial Brown Stout say “Yeboah is a stunning beer, to be remembered for quite a while. It’s a teeth sticker, deliciously dark and sweet with an air of light blueberry about it.” Surely the Boundary team can fit Yeboah back into their brewing schedule? G’wan, g’wan, g’wan.
5. Hillstown – 3 Bad Bears (2017)
Slovenian brewey Lobik teamed up with our own Hillstown to brew a really delicious hoppy Red Ale. At 8.4% ABV it wasn’t going to replace Smithwick’s in the pubs any time soon but what it was, was a really memorable beer. “The experimental piney Slovenian hops wallop your palate on the first swig and then keep walloping in between little bursts of warming spice. Well, it was a bigger and much tastier wallop than I was expecting for a red ale. Superb.”
6. Lacada – Ivy Honey Special (2016)
This 7.5% ABV Honey Beer made its debut appearance at the 2016 Custom House Square beer festival in Belfast and I really enjoyed it. It’s floral and honeysweet but not sickly. Brewer Laurie keeps his own bees and this one off special utilised ivy honey from those bees. Portrush beer made with Portrush honey. Sublime.
7. O Brother – Brutus (2015)
I first experienced beers from the County Wicklow brewery during the 2015 Irish Craft Beer Festival at the RDS in Dublin and Brutus was one of those first beers. At a festival you try to sample as many beers as possible and when I went back later in the night for more Brutus, it was sold out. Lesson learned. It was a cracker Double IPA. 9.1% ABV and full of thick tropical fruit and peach notes. I think Brutus hasn’t been brewed since about 2018 so maybe the O Brother boys could see about bringing back the mighty man? Maybe he morphed and became another DIPA.
There you have it, seven quality beers that deserve to make a reappearance. What’s your views on them? Did you get a chance to try any of them and which beers would you like to see make a return?