Monday, 6 August 2012

#65: From Ballyhoura to Brooklyn

It's about bloody time I wrote about Howling Gale Ale from Eight Degrees - I've had quite a bit of it since it became one of my go-to pints alongside Windjammer. I never really took notes on the draught version, but that's no harm as I think I prefer the bottled one anyway. Another beer I should have taken care of a long time ago is Brooklyn Lager, but I just never got around to trying it. My go-to lager has been Samuel Adams for so long, with Budějovický Budvar a close second, that everything else kind of slipped under the radar. Although, I see Aldi are selling Spaten at €1.29 per 500ml bottle. Could be worth a few ducats...

Howling Gale Ale pours a nice hazy orange with a small film of head that dissipates soon, and a decent amount of carbonation. On the nose, it's quite a nice blend of American and English Pale Ale styles - zesty, juicy citrus peel and pine hops hit first and hit hard, with an underlying malt sweetness and hints of clove. Lovely balance leaning towards the hoppier American side. It's very refreshing to taste with grassy, fruity, sweet citrus peel hops calmed by the caramel malt and hints of bubblegum. The body's medium and very drinkable, with good refreshing carbonation. Lovely beer. Could do with a bigger bottle for a 5% session ale, though.

Brooklyn Lager pours more amber than gold, rather like the Sam Adams Boston Lager. It produces a big foamy white head that retains quite well, fed by buckets of carbonation. Looks nice and frothy, like those tankards of beer pirates drink in cartoons (you know what I mean). On the nose, Boston Lager comes to mind again with a hop-forward citrus and grapefruit aroma, penned back by bready, biscuity malt. Nice grainy lager stuff, hopped up. To taste, it's very juicy and fruity up front, with zesty pine/peel refreshment leading into a bitter bite in the middle, and a barley-like grainy, syrupy malt finish. It's certainly got hops, but I feel it's overall a malt-driven beer. A really great tasting lager with a good body to match. Very drinkable. Also, I see in my notes that my final verdict reads 'surpasses Sam Adams'. Well then, there you have it. My new favourite lager. 

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