18 July 2011

Big red comes to town

The second of the three core beers from Mitchelstown's Eight Degrees brewery arrived on tap in Mulligan's recently. Sunburnt is (small sigh) an Irish red ale. They've promised us hoppy in the advertising copy, and it's got a fair bit more poke than the typical Irish red at 5% ABV. Putting my style-based prejudices aside, I went out to see how it measures up.

My pint came out very very cold, which wasn't in its favour. I got a sharp bitterness but not much else. So I sat and waited for it to come up to pub temperature. It was worth doing: buried under the ice there's a lovely rich strawberry fruit flavour, buoyed up on sticky caramel. The hops aren't up front as I was kind of hoping, but contribute a waxy bitterness to the finish. All-in-all, though, and true to style, the malt is still firmly in charge.

I can't help but think there are more things one can do within the confines of a 5% ABV Irish red. Personally speaking I'd be saying feck the style and dry-hopping the bejasus out of it, but no-one likes a back-seat brewer. If you're generally better disposed towards Irish red than me, this will give you a pleasant bang for your buck.


  1. I sometimes find that I can get more out of a malty, hop-light beer if I close my eyes and pretend I'm in Franconia.

    Hope your next beer is a corker. You're due one.

  2. I always suspected there was a Franconia-shaped hole in my drinking life. It's on the slate for next year. Maybe.

    In between ticks, however, I've been filling up on Schlenkerla Eiche so really can't complain. It doesn't taste like an Irish red or brown bitter, however.

  3. Hold on: are you saying you haven't been to Franconia? But you've been everywhere, haven't you?

    If I'm reading that right, I'd suggest that you casually tell your colleagues you are "popping out for ten minutes to get a sandwich"; hail a cab; get on a flight to Nuremberg; and jump on a train to Bamberg. You'll be there for a pork knuckle and Rauchbier at dinner time.

    I think you might like Bamberg a bit.

  4. A flight to Nuremberg? Sorry, my helicopter's getting serviced today.

    I don't do a lot of for-beer travel. Clueless about Franconian helles but expert on shit lager from Korea to Egypt to Cuba...

  5. If you hopped the shit out of it, though, would it still be an Irish Red? Or is it a case of pushing those boundaries? It's such a malt-led style, would more hops (which would be my first thought, too) just make it something else - 5AM Saint, for example ?

  6. Yes, it would make it something like 5am Saint, or even the fabulous Three Floyds Brian Boru. It would still be red, it would still be Irish: it would still be Irish Red.