Being from Wicklow myself, it’s great to see that the Garden County is so well represented when it comes to craft brewing. Between the Wicklow Brewery in Redcross, Wicklow Wolf in Bray and most recently O Brother Brewing in Kilcoole, the county now boasts some of the best craft ales and stouts in the country.
One of the things I love about the Irish craft beer scene is not only the great beer, but also the inspiring stories behind the breweries that produce them. O Brother was set up by three brothers from Bray, who all left their 9 - 5 jobs in pursuit of a career making excellent beers. The first beer of theirs I ever tried was ‘The Chancer’, which got my attention as one of the best American style pale ales I had tasted, so I recently picked up another bottle of it in Martin’s Off Licence to give it a write up.
Before even pouring this beer, the satisfying sound of opening the bottle is accompanied straight away by a bang of hops with sweet pine and citrus. In the glass it settles a nice golden orange with a head that just about lasts long enough the get a picture of it. The hop forward flavour of citrus and apricot is well balanced with some delicious caramely malts and while there is a fair amount of bitterness, especially towards the finish, the result is a very refreshing and drinkable pale ale. Coming in at 5.4% and without being as floral as some of the American style IPAs out there, its the kind of beer you could enjoy all evening. For me this is up there with some of my favourite pale ales on the market (I’m thinking Metalman and Blacks of Kinsale) and it’s great to see another brewery of such high quality in my home county.
At the RDS this year I also tried one of O Bother’s special brews, a full-on double IPA named ‘Brutus’. If you spot him, approach with caution as he pretty much knocked me out after two rounds!
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