Brú Rua – a red beer from Co. Meath, Ireland

12 Sep

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Over the summer months, I have been enjoying tasting Irish craft beers. Ireland seems to be exploding with breweries, with one in nearly every county. I have certainly tasted beers from every provence over the last three months.

One suggestion, from an Off Licence, I visited was that the recession in Ireland has prompted many career changes and some of these have led to the creation of a microbreweries. There was also the caution that they’re not all good! Still I bought a bottle  or so from most of the 18 different types they had.

What’s particularly interesting is that, they are making different beers to those being made in the UK. There was oatmeal stout and rye red ale, just to name two types of beer I have never seen in the shops in Cardiff. This was very nice to see.

Tonight, I am drinking Brú Rua, a red beer made by Brú Brewey in Co. Meath. Red ales are popular in Ireland and most of the big and microbreweries will make a version. This one looks the part with a pale brown colour. It tastes dry but a little fruity and my wife says ‘leather’. I’m not so sure about that but it does have a flavour that’s a little difficult to describe. Enjoyable and going down very nicely, thank you very much.

They have some funny sales info on the back of the bottle including a nice picture of Cú Chulainn. Nice.

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Longueville House Cider from Mallow, Co Cork

5 Sep

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Tonight, I am enjoying a bottle of cider produced in Co. Cork in Ireland.

This is a probably a cider makers cider. According to the bottle, it’s made from Dabinett and Michelin apples. These are two proper cider making apple types. According to John Worle, a well respected apple tree grower, both apples are bittersweet apples. The bitterness reflects the presence of tannins. Tannins give the cider structure. You can smell the tannins in this cider and you can certainly taste the tannins. They fill the mouth and last after the cider is swallowed. My personal taste would be for just a little less tannins in my cider so I would characterize this as a tannic cider.

It’s also cloudy. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It says on the back of the bottle that it’s cloudy. I don’t always read the back of the bottle before I open it but I do usually read it :-). I do kind of think that ‘better’ cider should be clear. This bottle is an example that cider clarity isn’t essential for a good drink.

All in all Longueville House Cider tastes like a well made and interesting cider. Probably best consumed with food which softens the tannins on the palate, I think. I recommend it.

Sparking
5% vol
500ml
www.longuevillehouse.ie

Orpens Fresh Pressed Apple Cider

9 Aug

Continuing my exploration of the Irish cider scene, yesterday I enjoyed some Orpens Fresh Pressed Apple Cider. According the information it was a “medium dry cider, slightly tart, golden honey finish”. It is made in the Guinness Enterprise Centre in Taylors Lane in Dublin.

It was a nice tasty sparkling cider. It had a tannic nose and medium bodied taste that implied the use of real cider apples. It has a long finish on the tongue. The bottle was 330ml and I was sorry to see the end of it. Enjoyable.

There is lots of fun information on the label including a story about “Galloping Granny” Charmian (Hill) Orpen and a “not from concentrate” statement. However, there was no information about the types of apples used.

Interestingly, the bottle says it corresponds to 1.4 units of alcohol in ROI but 1.8 units of alcohol in UK. This is a bit of a puzzle. I guess the Republic of Ireland and the UK calculate alcohol units separately.

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Stonewell Dry Irish Craft Cider

18 Jul

Last week, we had a kind of international cider exchange, my sister-in-law did some purchasing in Ireland and brought over some Irish craft ciders. On her way back to Ireland, I sent her off with a few British ciders as part exchange. One of the bottles she brought was this – Stonewell Dry Irish Craft Cider made by Nohoval Cidery in County Cork.

Details: 2012, 5.5% alc vol, clear pale yellow. Fizzy . Lovely cheesy on the nose. A dry tannic full bodied flavour.
According to the information on the bottle it’s made from Dabinett, Michelin, Jonagored, Elstar & Falstaff apple varieties. This seems like a nice blend of apples that adds a lot of complexity on the pallet. There is a sort of cheese and honey flavour that is long.

I think this might be one of the best Irish ciders I have drunk. It’s very nice and feels like very well made cider. Good job.

Website: www.stonewellcider.com

As a passing comment, I quote their sales blurb on the back of the bottle. They use:

“a specially selected natural yeast for fermentation”

So this raises the question in my mind of “what is a natural yeast” and if they wanted to use an “unnatural” one where would they get that from?

I work in a building where there are various genetically modified yeast. These are also specially selected although I can’t imagine anybody using them to make cider. Mmm… what do you think the good people at Nohoval Cidery mean by “specially selected natural yeast”? I don’t mind that much – they make good cider 🙂

Stonewell Cider

 

 

 

My first bread-making course…

14 Jul

On Saturday, I attended my first bread making course – ‘Sourdough with Heritage Grains with Alex Gooch” at Humble by Nature. It was a very interesting day – learning about baking from a passionate, knowledgable and experienced baker.

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Alex Gooch and some spelt flour

We learned about various grains:

  • Rye – both light and white
  • Spelt
  • Khorasan
  • Einkorn

Alex seems to be actively involved in baking with unusual and newly grown grains through his links with growers and a ‘grain pathologist’.

During the day we made three different breads:

  • A rye sourdough
  • A dark and white sourdough made with spelt and khorasan
  • A flatbread made from spelt, einkorn with roast garlic and rosemary

I liked all the breads but my favourite was the rye sourdough. We made a very tasty bread with light rye flour. We added raisins, black treacle and my favourite ingredient – roasted coriander seeds. The roasted coriander seeds were also added to the sides of the tin and the top of the bread and tasted delicious. This bread seems like it has a lot of possible variations. I hope this can become part of my baking repertoire.

Rye sourdough proving in the tins

Rye sourdough proving in the tins

Baked loaves of rye sourdough

Baked loaves of rye sourdough

Alex was free with his advice, answered many questions and was every the professional baker. He also had a very impressive container of dark rye starter 🙂

The quote of the day was “black is flavour”.
A heartfelt thanks to Alex for the day.

The selection of goodies I brought home from the course

The selection of goodies I brought home from the course

Fire and pizza…

10 Jul

On Thursday, I hosted the first pizza party in my bread oven.

It’s not finished yet but it’s usable. We cooked about 10 pizza and some flat breads.

Very tasty.

Warming the oven

Warming the oven

First pizza in the brick oven

First pizza in the brick oven

Prize winning cider

7 Jul

While not wanting to brag too much, it was nice to win third prize in the drinks category in the Rhiwbina Village Fete. I bottled up some of the light dry cider we made this year and the result was a tasty brew.

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