Showing posts with label o'hara's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label o'hara's. Show all posts

Monday, March 12, 2012

Revelations

5 beers that made me think differently about beer:


Bishop's Finger, the beer that got me started.


O'Hara's Stout - still my favourite stout, decent on nitro, a dream bottled.


Kout's 18 degree dark lager - the perfect end to many a session in Prague, dark lager is not just for the ladies you know!


Schlenkerla Marzen.....mmmmm rauchbier


Devils Backbone Trukker Ur-Pils, Americans can, and do, make good pilsners, it's just difficult to find them sometimes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Victory!

I honestly can't remember if I mentioned this before, but Charlottesville's best place for beer got rid of Guinness. It used to be the case that Beer Run pretty much always had Guinness on tap, but when they had a keg of O'Hara's Stout on instead for St Patrick's Day I mentioned to the owner that I was fairly certain most people would happily drop 50 cents extra for an O'Hara's instead of Guinness. Whether or not this had any influence on the resultant dropping of Guinness I don't know, whatever the cause, Beer Run now has a rotating stout tap.

As Mrs V was having some friends round for knitting and nattering last night, I took the opportunity to pop along to Beer Run for a couple of pints with a friend, Dan. On the stout tap last night was , which at 3.7% abv is an ideal post work beer, it really was a simple choice and 4 or 5 mouthfuls took care of the first pint, a proper pint that is, you know, the big ones.

I am a big fan of Donnybrook. Sure it might not be the most sexy, extreme beer on the planet, but it is a well put together beer for drinking with mates in the pub, and therefore pretty much perfect. It's the kind of beer that doesn't intrude on the conversation, doesn't butt its way into your thoughts by being tastebud strippingly hoppy, doesn't have you swilling it around trying to identify the aromas.

It is stout, pure and simple. You know what you are getting and can get on with the real reason for going to the pub, socialising.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stout Blind Tasting

Last night I got round to brewing my Black Rose Dunkelweizen, to a very simple recipe:
  • 3lbs Muntons Wheat Extract
  • 0.8lb Caramel 60
  • 0.8lb Chocolate Malt
  • 0.7oz Hallertau @ 60 minutes
  • 0.2oz Hallertau @ 15 minutes
  • 0.1oz Hallertau @ 5 minutes
  • Weihenstephan Weizen Yeast
The OG for this dark brew was a nice 1.054 and when I woke up this morning, the airlock is popping along with gusto and there is a delightful krausen on the beer.

During the "hanging around" bits of the brewing process, I decided to do a three way stout blind tasting test, using Guinness Extra Stout brewed in Canada, brewed in Carlow, Ireland, and Dark Starr, brewed in Crozet by Starr Hill.


So that I didn't know which beer I was drinking, I had Mrs Velkyal do the pouring honours, and thus she first presented me with these

  • Sight - very dark, slightest ruby at edges, big tan head
  • Smell - light coffee, general roastiness
  • Taste - dark chocolate, a slightly sour, lactic touch
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter - 3.5/5
  • Sight - pitch black, rocky tan head
  • Smell - big coffee and chocolate notes
  • Taste - smooth chocolate cake, a beautiful classic stout
  • Sweet - 3/5
  • Bitter - 2.5/5
  • Sight - Very dark, ivory head
  • Smell  - roasted grains, touch of dark chocolate
  • Taste - light chocolate and coffee, not as pronounced as the others
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter - 2/5
With this tasting, I decided that I didn't want to try to identify each beer, but rather give my order of preference and then find out what Mrs Velkyal had given me, so here goes:
  1. Stout 2
  2. Stout 1
  3. Stout 3
Stout 2 turned out to be Dark Starr from Starr Hill, number 1 was the Guinness Extra Stout and third up was O'Hara's. So there we have it, Starr Hill's Dark Starr really does standard up to the behemoth of the Dry Irish Stout world as well as the craft brewing newcomer, and is deserving of the raft of medals it has won.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fuggled Review of the Year - Porter and Stout

I have said many times that I am a stout man. Mr first love in the world of beer was Guinness, and I have always had a soft spot for the black stuff, and stout is one of those beers which is relatively easy to make, but rather difficult to make really, really well. Porter on the other hand is something that I have come to appreciate more over the past year, whether that be the top fermented British styles or bottom fermented Baltic Porter.

From the many stouts and porters I have indulged in over 2009 the following have stood out:
The La Granja Stout from N?rrebro is made with coffee beans and boy does it tell, big, yet smooth, coffee flavours, rich chocolatey background and a subtle warming glow make this a simply gorgeous big hitter of a sweet stout. The first bottle I had of this beer cost me the equivalent of $20, crazy perhaps to pay an inflated price, but worth it for the lovely beer I got to enjoy, thankfully there was another place in Prague selling it at far more reasonable price, so indulge more I did.

Stout and Ireland go together like fish and chips, Wallace and Gromit or apple crumble and custard. Of the Irish stouts I have enjoyed, as well as "Irish style" stouts from the Czech Republic, UK or US, O'Hara's is head and shoulders above, simple as.

General Washington's Tavern Porter, from Yard's Brewing in Philadelphia, was a gift from a very good friend, and when gifts are this good you know that you have a good friend with excellent taste in beer. Big alcoholic glow and a flavour which packed a punch and a half, while still being eminently drinkable makes Tavern Porter one of the best beers I have discovered since I moved to the US.

Of the three, the one walking away with my utmost appreciation is
  1. O'Hara's Celtic Stout
Sometimes, despite all the innovation, experimentation and generally messing about in the beer world only a classic hits the spot, O'Hara's is that Classic.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Tipsy Terrace Tasting

One of the most pressing things to get done this week before moving on was polishing off the varied beers still sitting around Mrs Velkyal and I's flat. My problem though was how to do it? I had basically three options:

  1. sell them
  2. give them away
  3. drink them

Admittedly I did give a few bottles away. However, I decided that the most prudent way of dealing with the situation was to drink them, but better to gather a few friends keen to try different beers from around Europe and introduce them to some of these delights. Thus it was that last night I went round to my good friend place to sit on his expansive balcony with another couple of guys and attempt to get through 25 beers from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Scotland, England and Denmark.

Unfortunately we only managed to get through 14 of the beers, some pictures of which grace this post.

There was however one other beer on the list which I wanted the guys to try, the uninfected, though wildly over-carbonated, version of my Skippy Porter. I had previously only tried this beer with Evan Rail, who was very complimentary about it even though it erupted all over his kitchen floor. This time I was prepared, and opened the bottle in a flower pot, without flowers of course. Once again Skippy was a hit, with the guys saying it was one their favourite beers of the night, the smooth chocolate flavours I was aiming for were right up there, and the Fuggles bitterness was just right to add some bite. I initially thought that I wouldn't be brewing this beer very often, but given the reaction it gets I think I will have to simply refine the recipe and start making it in preparation for winter. I am finding now that I get more pleasure from my friends enjoying my beer than hoarding it all to myself in some attempt to save money on beer.

Thankfully I know that Mark and his family will be in the States for a few months at the end of the year, so our beer tasting will no doubt be repeated, hopefully with the added bonus of a couple of bottles of Strahov's Autumn Dark Special! On the menu already for when we sit on the patio in our new place will be my planned American style IPA loaded with Amarillo hops, also some more Skippy Porter as well as my first Irish Red Ale, tentatively called Mrs Velkyal's Red Hat.

Every prospect pleases!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Fuggled Review of the Year - Stouts and Porters

Dark beers have played a major role in my drinking this year, in particular stouts and porters, both from the Czech Republic and from further afield, such as the UK, Ireland, Norway and Germany. I have learnt about the differences between a Baltic and a London porter, and about the different styles of stout, whether dry, sweet or imperial.

When I started my, legal, drinking life, stout was very much my ale of choice. I remember ordering my first ever pint in the Dark Island hotel back at home, it was a Guinness - a youthful homage to my eldest brother. When studying in Birmingham I would wander off for pints of Murphy's and Beamish.

When I came back from Oxford a few months ago, many of the beers I brought with me were stouts and porters of various types, and the only beers I managed to bring from Ireland were from the Carlow Brewing Company, makers of O'Hara's stout.

My shortlist of stouts and porters is as follows:

O'Hara's on draught was good, from the bottle it was great - and still I have a bottle in the cellar waiting to be drunk when the right day arrives.

Wrasslers XXXX was, they say, the choice of stout for Irish hero Michael Collins - a man evidently of exceptional taste in beer. Smooth, full bodied and yet easy to drink, if I lived in Ireland it would be my beer of choice.

What can be said about BrewDog's sublime Paradox series of imperial stouts aged in whisky casks, very simply - where can I buy more?

There is a clear winner here, and it is simply because within one drink the makers have managed to combine two of my passions, as such my Stout/Porter of 2008 is:

  1. BrewDog Paradox Smokehead

Whisky and stout in a single glass - sheer Genius.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dark Month Quick Review

So November is all but over, and with it my month of drinking predominantly dark beers. I haven't written about everything I have tried this month, so here is a random collection of thoughts on the various brews I have tried:

Most drunk in the month: Primátor Stout, yes it is very nice, and no I am not on a stipend from Pivovar Náchod.

Most enjoyed of the month: O'Hara's Stout from the Carlow Brewing Company, from the bottle that is, the remaining bottle I have in the cellar may be opened tonight in celebration.

Discovery of the month: Hukvaldy 14° amber lager, pure nectar.

Over-hyped beer of the month: Porterhouse Oyster Stout, it isn't bad, just not as good as I expected, even then it is streets behind Wrasslers XXXX.

Confusion of the month: Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter and Oatmeal Stout, are they supposed to have a slightly soapy taste to them? Someone help me with that.

I am sure this weekend will see several more darks enjoyed, though I may not write about them all, but I do have a special treat planned for Sunday, which is St Andrew's Day. I will be opening one of my bottles of BrewDog Paradox Smokehead in celebration.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adept Nuts and Pints

Mrs Velkyal and I got back from our trip to Ireland last night, so the rest of the this week will probably be dedicated to our 4 days there. I am sure that chronology will go right out the window, but there we go. Yesterday we spent the day in Dublin, having arrived in the city from Westmeath at about 8 in the morning, the first thing on our agenda was breakfast - perhaps a slightly strange thing to mention on a blog about beer, but I was so impressed by the little cafe we found that it deserves a mention here. Just off O'Connell Street is a place called The Earl, which does various forms of Irish breakfast, as well as cakes and pastries. For just €11 I had the full works: 2 bacon rashers, 2 sausages, black pudding, white pudding, hash brown mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, toast and a pot of tea. Fantastic!

Suitably fed, Mrs Velkyal had a lighter breakfast, we wandered around the streets of the city centre, eventually heading over to Temple Bar and the city's medieval heart to find the Bull and Castle, where we were due to meet up with the Beer Nut, Adeptus and Thom for a few pints, although unfortunately Thom couldn't make it. When the pub eventually opened, and we got some respite from the rain, we got in, sat down opposite the bar and ordered our first beers. Mrs Velkyal went for the Galway Hooker, more of which later in the week, while I opted for the Castle Red, which was rather nice - I wasn't taking notes so I going from memory here.

Next up for me was the Rebel Lager, a lovely golden lager which would more than hold its own in the Czech Republic, yes it is that good - it is amazing sometimes that people still drink slop like Carling and Carlsberg when there is good lager being made by the smaller breweries. I would actually put this on a par with Budvar in the flavour and body stakes, and I am a big fan of the golden nectar from Southern Bohemia.

I have to say now that I love beer people. People that I have met as a result of Fuggled and my beer drinking/learning experiences have universally been warm, interesting, informed and generous, and yesterday was no different, the bottle of Porterhouse Celebration Stout that Beer Nut gave me now has pride of place in the Little Cellar.

Given that the Bull and Castle is the only place in Ireland that we found with such a wide selection of microbrew beers, I have to confess that I started on a mission to try as many as I could, and that I hadn't already had - so for example I left the Galway Hooker alone as I had in Galway. An interesting experiment for me was to try the difference between O'Hara's Celtic Stout on draught, if I remember rightly it was a nitro-tap, and in the bottle. First up was the tap, and it looked pretty much as you expect an Irish Stout to look, dark, tight creamy head. In drinking it was smooth with coffee notes, a bit of chocolate and a dry finish - a very nice pint, Mrs Velkyal agreed. Bottle conditioned however was a completely different story - it was simply magnificent, you can see the difference in the picture, but the explosion of smells and tastes which are missing in the draught version was frankly quite shocking - a much, much better beer, and I was so glad to find a box set of all the Carlow Brewing Company beers in the airport so I could bring a bottle home.

Next up was Clotworthy Dobbin - which came very highly recommended by both Adeptus and the Beer Nut. Wow this was a lovely drink! As you can see from the picture, it is a dark red, what you can't see however is the full on cocoa and chocolate nose and the smooth, silky feeling of the toffee tasting beer in the mouth. The Beer Nut asked me which was the best Irish beer I had drunk over the weekend - a tie between this and Galway Hooker. To round off lunch I tried the light and refreshing Blarney Blonde, from the makers of the Rebel Lager, and it was a nice way to clean off my palate in preparation for the flight back to Prague.

I can think of few better ways to spend a couple of hours than drinking with fellow beer bloggers, and I hope they enjoy the beer I brought them as much as I enjoyed the beers they recommended, the excellent pub we had them in and the good company Mrs Velkyal and I thoroughly appreciated. Cheers lads!

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...

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