An Irish Box Set

Box sets typically refer to TV programmes, movies or books. For me, a different kind of box set was on the agenda – an Irish Beer box set. It was delivered from Beer52 and contained 8 beers, a small snack pack of barbeque kettle corn and a magazine. I got this box during March 2017, and the reason why this box was full of Irish beer was due to St Patrick’s Day being within this period! The box arrived rapidly (only a couple of days after the order was placed) and was securely packaged. I’ve recently had some fantastic Irish beers, so I was hoping that the “Luck of the Irish” was going to continue.

Beer52 are a subscription-based company. Beers are delivered to your door on a monthly basis for a fixed fee. This is a great way to sample a variety of beers from different breweries, without having to scour aisles in supermarkets and carry heavy shopping bags home! It also allows you to try brews that may have remained otherwise undiscovered. Beer52 also has a couple of features that really allow the company and process to be customer friendly:

  • Multiple box size varieties are available (8 or 10 packs)
  • Customers can choose between “Light & Hoppy” or “Mixed and Surprising”
  • A magazine and snack are included with the subscription box
  • Not only is there the subscription side to the business, but one-off boxes can be bought from the store too.

Onto the beers!

 

Irishman in New England IPA

Brewery: Beer52

Brewery Fact: So not only does this company supply great beers, it is also involved in producing beers!

Design: A fun and bright-looking design, with a classical Irish-green background. It has quirky cartoon Irish figures partying!

Style of Beer: NEIPA

Beer Vessel: Bottle, 330ml

Colour: Tan colour, with a tall white foam head and hazy in appearance.

Untappd Rating: 3.70 (at time of writing)

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Tasting Notes: This was the first beer sampled from the box. It is a bright brew that is full of citrus notes, reminding me exactly why I love this style of beer. A contrasting bitter edge rounds the drink off and the deep haziness gives a “dank“ (which means fruity and big on citrus in the beer world) feel, which I adore. This beer had a really smooth texture, produced via Irish oats.

Rating: 3.75/5

 

Irish Wild

Brewery: Beer52

Design: The colourful feature continues, with a design very similar to ‘The Irishman in New England’. This time the character on the bottle is dressed in farm-wear, reflecting that Saison beers are often referred to as “farmhouse ales”.

Style of Beer: Saison

ABV: 4%

Beer Vessel: Bottle, 330ml

Colour: Pale orange golden colour, with no head.

Untappd Rating: 3.14 (at time of writing)

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Tasting Notes: I wasn’t expecting much from this beer, as I generally am not a fan of the saison variety. I often find saisons very ‘funky’ and overwhelming on the senses – I feel that this funk feature is generally overpowering. For this reason, I usually avoid subscription packs! Having said that, this beer is surprisingly good! Honey flavours provided a sweetness that contrasted and dampened the ‘funk’ aspect, which not only makes the beer tolerable, but also enjoyable! This creates a relatively balanced beer.

Rating: 2.75/5

 

RUA

Brewery: Beer52

Design: Colourful label design with a fox holding a trophy.

Style of Beer: Rye ale

ABV:  5%

IBU: 42

Beer Vessel: Bottle, 330ml

Colour: Burnt orange, much darker than the orange of the label, a minimal white head top was formed.

Untappd Rating: 3.1 (at time of writing)

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Tasting Notes: Described as a “heavy malted beer”, the malts come through in abundance. I feel as though it isn’t well rounded, which is what I strive for in a beer, so it loses marks from me. It’s just a malty, bitter beer. The tasting profile is certainly as described, but I feel that I want a greater level of complexity. Nice enough, but not one that I’d go back for.

Rating: 2.25/5

 

Bran & Sceolan Irish IPA

Brewery: The White Hag Irish Brewing Company

Brewery Fact: In Irish mythology, ‘The White Hag’ was known as a witch, a chameleon and also Mother Nature. The White Hag was also considered as a spiritual force, that is present in everything, including the water used to make beer!

Design: A bright blue and white two-tone design, with the bold logo of ‘The White Hag’.

Style of Beer: IPA

ABV: 7.2%

Beer Vessel: Can, 330ml

Colour: A mid-straw colour.

Untappd Rating: 3.64 (at time of writing)

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Tasting Notes: This Irish IPA was light and easy drinking, with a touch of hops at the beginning of the beer. It rounds off with a subtle citrus taste and a bitter edge. I would say it’s an average, light IPA; despite having quite a high ABV, it drinks closer to a session IPA.

Rating: 2.25/5

 

 

51st State IPA

Brewery: O’Hara’s Brewery (Carlow Brewing Company)

Brewery Fact: A family-based brewery established in 1996. It is located in the heart of Ireland’s traditional malt and hop growing “Barrow Valley” region, with this region having some of the best land for growing high quality staple beer ingredients. Their bar, Ohara’s Brewery Corner, has previously won “Craft Beer Bar of the Year”- certainly an impressive accolade to obtain!

Design: A bright mosaic background of blue, green and yellow merging together, with a logo reminiscent of an American Route Highway sign.

Style of Beer: IPA, with inspiration from NEIPA varieties.

ABV: 6% ABV

IBU: 40

Beer Vessel: Bottle, 330ml

Colour: Golden, slightly hazy, with a large white foam head.

Untappd Rating: 3.51 (at time of writing)

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Tasting Notes: With promises of grapefruit, apricot, passionfruit and peach I was already sold on this beer. It takes inspiration from NEIPA beers, which are unfiltered – this is what leads to the hazy appearance on pouring. This beer was kind of a middle-point with regards to clarity. It had been described “as an intense citrus aroma that is an attack on the senses”. Unfortunately, I have to disagree, as I felt this lacked in intensity compared to other big American IPAs/NEIPAs.

Rating: 2.0/5

 

 

Hop Head IPA

Brewery: The Porterhouse Brewing Co

Brewery Fact: This is a brewery that isn’t just enthusiastic about its own beer, the team loves beer in general! Founded in 1989, the brewery has grown in strength with bars in multiple locations including Covent Garden, London, and the famous Temple Bar district in Ireland. When the Temple Bar pub location was opened in 1996, this gave The Porterhouse Brewing Co the accolade of having the first brew-pub in Ireland.

Design: Contrasting purple and green logo with an alternative bottle top – almost like a ring pull from a can.

Style of Beer: IPA

Beer Vessel: Bottle, 330ml

Colour: Very deep, dark amber with a large contrasting white head.

Untappd Rating: 3.47 (at time of writing)

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Tasting Notes: Despite the label of IPA, the primary tastes are of deep malty notes with a bitter edge. It is then topped-off with caramel flavours, preventing the bitterness from becoming overwhelming. Quite good and reminds me of ‘Spitfire’ by Sheperd Neame.

Rating: 2.75/5

 

Rustbucket

Brewery: Kinnegar Brewing

Brewery Fact: This brewery takes inspiration from the beautiful natural landscapes of Donegal, Ireland. Kinnegar are a farmhouse brewery, which means that they do not pasteurise or filter their beers, encouraging greater flavours from the core ingredients used. The use of a rabbit’s silhouette as their logo further reinforces the nature element to their brews. On the back of the company van(s) the catchphrase “Follow the hops” co-exists comically with their logo mascot!

Design: Bright orange label, with the characteristic rabbit.

Style of Beer: Rye Ale

ABV: 5.1%

IBU: 20

Beer Vessel: Bottle, 500ml

Colour: A mid-deep orange, quite similar to the bottle label, with a medium, foamy tan head.

Untappd Rating: 3.61 (at time of writing)

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Tasting Notes: An element of spice was created and a touch of lemon rounded off this rye and barley malt balanced beer. Rye’s are really growing on me; I consider them very like weizen/wheat beers, but with a darker, deeper ale edge.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

 

American Pale Ale

Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse

Brewery Fact: A team with a great ‘beer philosophy’. Local ingredients and the water used is sourced from its own deep water well. In addition to this, the grains are also used as local animal feed to encourage sustainability.

Design: A contrasting bold green-black layout, with the beer title and brewery name clearly visible.

Style of Beer: American pale ale

ABV: 4.5%

IBU: 44

Beer Vessel: Can, 330ml

Colour: Light golden, large white foam head that laced the glass, with a turbid-hazy appearance.

Untappd Rating: 3.45 (at time of writing)

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Tasting Notes: I was a little bit sad that this was my last beer from the box. The beer had some big citrus notes, complementing the tropical aromas from the glass. A bitter end concluded not only this beer, but my Irish box set. Would I have this again? Yes!

Rating: 3.0/5

 

So overall the box was mixed. This is the exact reason why I haven’t got into the whole beer-subscription world. I’d personally prefer to pick up new beers in person, particularly if they are from breweries that I have not sampled before, in order to avoid varieties I know I prefer least. Having said that, Beer52 actually have a really great reward and referrals scheme, which can help you earn free boxes of beer – best reward ever! I’m glad I got a box and it was really great that it was Irish themed, but overall, I’m going to stick to finding my own beers… I actually enjoy finding new beers in supermarkets and craft beer stores. Though it’s undeniable that postal delivery by Beer52 certainly saves your arm muscles!

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