Tis the season to be stocking up on craft beers.
I tend not to drink a whole lot (if at all) during the week, or even during any given month, but when it comes to this time of year you can be full sure that the kitchen presses will be full of beers from a whole mix of breweries.
One of my favourites is Eight Degrees in north Cork (the brewery is to be found in Mitchelstown). If you’ve never tried the likes of their Howling Gale ale, or their American amber ale Amber Ella, you’ve been missing out.
Not one to miss out on season brews, they’ve announced The Three Dukes of Burgundy, their 2016 Barrel Aged Project.
Out of the new series, two beers are available now – The Fearless Farmhouse Ale and The Bold Imperial Stout – while The Good Barleywine is expected to start retail in January.
The Fearless Farmhouse Ale, touted as ‘your perfect Christmas table beer’ is aged in Burgundy chardonnay oak barrels.
It’s a straightforward, bone-dry farmhouse beer with the barrel aging process allowing the subtle vanilla, light citrus and a touch of pineapple from the French oak and the chardonnay lees to impart their flavour.
It offers an up-front rich oaky vanilla nose, with spicy pepper-and-clove-like aroma with a deliciously full, rounded mouthfeel.
This is the third Imperial Stout from the Eight Degrees back catalogue of hits, having been aged in a single-use pinot noir cask.
For the new recipe, they’ve tweaked the malt bill and toned down the bitterness slightly, allowing the tannin from the oak and the wine to take the place of the bittering hops. It’s a huge beer with a port-like quality that has become more marked after a few months in the barrels.
This one brings a heady aroma of vinous oak with lots of rich roasted malt. This is a great big beast of a beer and there’s a lot going on. There are sweet malty dark chocolate and coffee flavours up front, followed by distinct pinot noir characteristics picked up during its time in the barrels. Lots of berries and oak with a backbone of tannic bitterness.
A well balanced beer that wears its 9.9% ABV lightly. Slowly sip and savour, preferably next to the fire on a snowy night. (via)
Barleywine – ABV 10.9%
While it won’t make it to your table in time for Christmas dinner, it is waiting in the wings for a January release. Expect plenty of ginger, spice and orange in a barleywine aged in Burgundy pinot noir oak barrels.
Gifts for beer lovers?
If the sounds of either or both tickle your fancy, they’re available as a gift set straight from Eight Degrees. They’re limited in run and ship in 750ml champagne-style bottles – a pair will set you back around €20.
Individually the ale will run you €7.95 while the stout rings in at €9.95. Find out how to order at eightdegrees.ie.