Two of Ireland’s better microbreweries recently came together for a collaboration brew. County Sligo’s The White Hag and County Donegal’s Kinnegar teamed up to produce The Hare and The Hag, a 6.5% ABV ‘Irish Coffee Nitro Stout’. A nitro stout should have a creamy and smooth texture when poured upside down from the bottle – few breweries do bottle nitro while Guinness is, of course, the most famous nitro from the tap. The stout settles in waves, creating a fabulous head that should remain when drinking, all the way to the bottom of the glass.
This collab stout lived up to the nitro description – a beautiful sweet milk stout adding in a subtle edge of coffee and even subtler whiskey. I’d have preferred maybe a touch heavier whiskey but maybe that’s because I’m more of a Scotch whisky fan – which is usually denser and smokier than most Irish whiskies. Anyway, I’m nitpicking. It was delicious.
And so from the sublime to the ridiculous. The White Hag’s other newbie Snakes and Scholars is a confused mess. Labelled as a nitro pour on the back of the bottle, this 4.0% ABV stout ended up being a drainpour. Apart from the main disappointment of it being totally flat, it tasted far too thin and watery for a stout and the head disappeared within seconds.
A recent jaunt to the Oak Lounge in Belfast’s Errigle Inn, (a place I don’t visit anywhere near enough) pleasantly led me to discover this new IPA from Knockout, aged for 3 weeks in a wooden cask. A slightly fruity aroma, though it tasted more earthy than I expected with not much of the usual fruity Cascade coming through on the tongue. To be honest this was the first time I’d ever knowingly had a wooden cask beer so this was probably where the more dominant earthiness was coming from – anyway it was a solid beer and fair play to Knockout for being brave by filling a wooden cask. You should expect to see another one in the next fortnight.