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.