I thought I would celebrate this Christmas eve by mentioning two Irish winter warmer from one of the Irish independents.
8 degrees brewed A winters ale using only the finest ingredients, and where possible they used ingredients from local sources such as the spice mix which came from Green Saffron.
It's was a mix of toffee with coves and other spices which give a real kick to what is essentially just a strong porter. I found it a little thin but the liquorice middle and spicy finish along with warming alcohol made up for it.
Yesterday I picked up my Christmas beer selection from Drinkstore. A mix of winter warmers, standard Irish craft beers and some new world beers. It seems the day before, a shipment of Yule Ól (white gypsy) arrived in the store so the good folks at drinkstore added it in for free.
It was the first beer I drank last night, and the only non standard one. The rest were O'Hara's IPA and Stout.
This is interesting because Cuilan, the former and sometimes current brewer for Messrs Maguire (depending on if they have a current brewer), used to brew Jul Ól. No longer, a new brewer is in messrs by all accounts and he brewed their batch of Jul Ól so Cuilan has changed a single letter in his version.
I doubt they are the same beer, Yule Ól certainly casted nothing like last years Jul Ól.
The in question pours a beautiful rich ruby red/mahogany with a fluffy off-white head. There is a strong toffee on the aroma as well as a shertbety fizz indicating that it will be pretty carbonated. It is quite gassy, perhaps a little too much for my liking, especially in a winter warmer. The alcohol is obvious, though not harsh. It does give a very drying quality down the back of your throat. A toffee and caramel; malt driven body with chocolate and a hint of coffee, a little plum and other dark fruits. I got the slightest hint of cloves but not a lot and there may not even be any in the beer so it could have been a yeast produced flavour.
All in all, the beer is quite nice but too gassy for my liking. You can pick up a bottle in drinkstore of course, or if you want to sit in a pub today or over the Christmas period then The Bull & Castle also got a couple of cases in.
Merry Christmas to everyone and enjoy your beer this Christmas.