A weekly review of Vas Foremost’s craft beer offerings.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Green shirts, green beer and green rivers. Thousands of young twenty somethings claiming they are all Irish for the day! I guess that means it’s time to grab a pint of the black stuff, plop yourself at a bar all night and watch rugby with your mates (which is much closer to what the Irish do). Do yourself a favor this year and put down the artificially green beer and try something different. In this week’s Vas Review I offer up a couple of lesser known Irish-style ales.
Please remember to be careful on this St. Patty’s day and drink responsibly!
Conway’s Irish Ale – Great Lakes Brewing Company
Style: Irish Red Ale
Serving: 12oz bottle (6-pack)
We all know Ireland’s most famous contribution to the brewing world: the Irish-style dry stout. The Irish also contributed a little bit lessor known but just as wonderful style, the Irish red ale. Most of you have probably heard of Smithwick’s, right? This would broadly fit under this category. Not limited to that beer, this style of beer can come at you from a multitude of directions. Our first review this week is one of my favorite Irish red ales, Conway’s Irish Ale from our old friends at Great Lakes Brewing Company.
Conway’s pours out a beautifully opaque copper with a glimmering reflection of the room in the glass. Its aroma is filled with toffee candy and honey-nut granola cereal. Peanut butter cookie sandwich (Nutter Butter!!!) and a light feeling of Bazooka Joe bubble gum.
The taste reels in very similar to the aroma. A bubblegum flavor is backed up by a moderate bitterness. Balanced off of the bitterness is a toasted malty, toffee flavor. Conway’s doesn’t clock in too heavy having an excellent moderate mouthfeel. The flavors from the grain work incredibly well together here, meshing perfectly throughout. The finish borders on clean leaving behind a refreshed palette, ready for the next sip.
Conway’s is an excellent beer and certainly worth a try (it makes its way into my fridge every single year at about this time!). Be careful though if you plan to use this as an all-day beer. It weighs in at 6.5% alcohol by volume. Like most things in life, this beer is meant to be savored and enjoyed in moderation (and I wouldn’t have it any other way!).
Murphy’s Irish Stout – Murphy’s
Style: Dry (Irish) Stout
Serving: 14.9oz can (4-pack)
Enough beating around the bush. We all know what beer most of us are going to reach for on St. Patrick’s Day. I won’t sit here and say that I personally don’t enjoy Guinness, because I do. I’ve been to the brewery and have had it straight from the source (for those of you wondering, Guinness does taste different in Ireland). We often forget that Ireland produces several other excellent stouts worth trying, some of which this author actually prefers. Murphy’s is one of them.
Murphy’s comes in a Draught Style can, meaning we are in for a treat. Watch in enjoyment as a waterfall effect cascades down the side of your glass turning into the deepest ruby red hue you can imagine. The aroma overwhelms the senses with chocolate, roasted barley and a rich black freshly ground coffee.
The first sip welcomes you with its creamy texture. The roasted barley holds in the background as a handful of coffee grounds goes into the pot. A bite of a chocolate bar and the unforgettable taste of a roasted marshmallow. Murphy’s has a little bit more to it than others. It has a tad bit more of a roasted bitterness characteristic adding to the beer’s depth. Light, yet full of flavor, Murphy’s ends with a creamy finish tickled with just a flake of roasted barley.
On St. Patrick’s Day this beer will be in my hand. Followed by a pint of Beamish, my other favorite imported Irish stout. The radio will be playing Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly or The Pogues. And it will be a good day…
Next week in the Vas Review: Back to the brewery spotlight!
Steve Pasko is a Certified Cicerone® and the Beer Content Writer for Vas Foremost. Follow him on Twitter, Untappd or Instagram at Gardemybiere. Email him at Gardemybiere@gmail.com or Steve@vasforemost.com. Visit his other beer blog at gardemybiere.com.