With St. Patrick's Day fast approaching it is time to enjoy a good Irish beer. Irish Stout of course will take center stage, as well it should. It is the national drink of Ireland, and Guinness Stout is one of the world's greatest beers, and most popular. I don't need an excuse to drink Irish beer, and I drink it year round. I am a big stout drinker, but I am also a big fan of another Irish beer style called Irish Red.
Irish Red ales by style are unique and flavorful. They have a good bit of caramel malt sweetness that is paired with estery fruit aromas and flavors, as well as some "buttery" notes in the mouth feel. These beers are not aggressively hopped, and tend to be malty and fruity. They are delicious, drinkable beers that are a great beer to drink a few pints of and a very food friendly beer as well. I've had some outstanding American examples of this style, and some great Irish ones as well. One my favorite Irish Reds and one I drink fairly regularly is O'Hara's Irish Red from the Carlow Brewing Company, of Bagenalstown, County Carlow, Ireland.
O'Hara's Irish Red pours to a beautiful, bright, deep, ruby red color with a creamy white head and a moderate amount of carbonation. The nose on this beer invites you in with good sweet malt aromas paired with estery fruit aromas. The palate is firm with good sweet and caramel malt flavors, paired with light touches of butter and juicy fruit. It finishes with more malt and fruit character up front, then ends slightly cloying. Hops are present in this beer but only to balance.
An excellent example of Irish Red. A very malt and fruit accented beer, what Irish red ales really are all about. This would be a great beer to sit and enjoy a few pints of, and would match well with red meats such as beef or lamb. For more information visit the brewery's site at: www.carlowbrewing.com