Northern Ireland

2018’s First Newbie…

…is MashDown Brewery from Banbridge.

You’ve maybe already heard of it, you may even have had a collaboration brew from them.  Shore, a dulse stout that also involved Portrush’s Lacada Brewery, Dead End Brew Machine from Glasgow and North Coast Smokehouse was released last autumn.  A collaboration that happened after a Lacada co-owner got chatting to Dead End’s Chris Lewis at a London beer festival, who in turn also invited MashDown’s Chris Todd (who is also his brother-in-law).

You still with me?

That collab was the brewery’s first commercial outing and now it’s time to launch its core range.  Thanks to Chris for sending over an Irish extra stout, rye pale ale and lemon and raspberry pale.  Let’s start with the latter.

Moonbeam‘s head disappointingly disappeared within 30 seconds but it’s still a lovely beer to look at with a warming dark pinky-orange glow eminating through the glass.   A gentle fizz too but not too much, perhaps the carbonation could be increased but this may naturally happen with a little more time in the bottle as all MashDown’s brews are bottle conditioned.  Sour fans would enjoy this one with a small twang of lemon at the back of the tongue and the more prominent raspberries coming to the fore.

Red Spot next, a 5.2% ABV rye pale that practically leapt out of the bottle.  No lack of carbonation here!  Once the massive head had settled down, you’re left with a thick, opaque orange-brown pale that very much feels like Moon Beam’s bigger and harder brother.  This beer takes no bollocks from anyone.  There’s initial mandarin orange citrus followed by the familiar rye spiciness.  Expect a touch of underlying sour and bitterness but not enough to detract from the spicy orange.  Nice one.

Finally the 5.5% ABV stout, Dark Town.   A pitch black stout (as it should be) with a good, inviting creamy head, this is a very solid effort with dark chocolate aromas and a delicious taste of dry roasted coffee and light roasty nuts.  Everyone should have their nuts roasted at some point.

A decent start from MashDown, I’d call Red Spot rye pale my preference of the three at the moment but who knows how much better the other two will become in the future.  Here’s to Chris extending his range in the future, good luck!

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