On Friday, I headed to the new Rye River Brewery in Celbridge. I was invited by head brewer Alex to try his new personal venture. He has launched as a gypsy brewery called Whiplash and when you are the head brewer for a good sized microbrewery, you might as well rent tank space and brewing time on equipment you already trust.
The first beer he launched a few weeks ago is Scaldy Porter. It's a 5.5% porter with lots of chocolate and a little coffee, There's a slight chalky thing going on, something I get from Porterhouse's plain porter and then there's a bitter chocolate finish. This was a homebrew beer that I judged in a BJCP competition once. I don't recall what score I gave it at the time but it must have been good enough to warrant commercialisation. One thing I would say is that at 5.5% it's not the most sessionable of porters on the market.
I have to say, I do love the artwork. Alex has a talented girlfriend, Sophie. I also like the clean fonts used and Alex is responsible for that and the overall label designs.
The real reason I was there on Friday was to try Surrender To The Void which had just been canned that day and was as fresh as possible. Wayne and Janice from IrishBeerSnob and Ian - 11PM Somewhere along with his lovely wife were also there for a tour and tasting. Since I was driving, I could only have a few small samples but of course Alex provided a couple of cans and bottles to take home for a proper going over.
|Artwork from the other side of the can.|
The contents of this unassuming can are an 8.5% DIPA. He's going for more of a clean aromatic DIPA rather than the intensely bitter and chewy sort. This is all about the hop aromatics and flavours as evidenced by the massive mango, passion fruit and mandarin bouquet going on. It's not particularly bitter for a DIPA and is rather clean.
It's absolutely delicious and won't last long due to its limited release at the moment. I would say a substantial dent was made to stock levels after the Franciscan Well's Easterfest over the weekend where it was officially launching.
His beers will change as he is developing his own yeast strain which he hopes will do interesting things for his beers.
I also took deliver of a new beer from the mad "Drawda" goats at Jack Jody's. Hibernicus is a dry hopped IPA at a relatively sessionable 5.2% ABV.
The spiel on the back is "The Romans called this place winter. This beer celebrates sh*te Irish weather. Embrace winter - Embrace Hibernicus!"
That doesn't really describe the beer though. It reminded me somewhat of an amber lager with fresh grassy hops, clearly going for an English style IPA rather than American. There was a slight hint of diacetyl as the only flaw I could detect and didn't detract from the beer and is acceptable in low levels in an English IPA. Either way, it was a rather lovely beer and got the thumbs up from Pauline too.