A tasty black IPA beer from Leitrim

Beerista: Carrig Brewing Co has an accessible, easy-going range

Carrig Brewing Co: the Drumshanbo business says it is the first brewery in Co Leitrim for more than 150 years

Carrig Brewing Co: the Drumshanbo business says it is the first brewery in Co Leitrim for more than 150 years

 

Supermarkets can be hit and miss when it comes to beer: often you’ll find a few token craft offerings among rows of the usual suspects. But it is getting better.

At Tesco this week I picked up a few bottles of Carrig Brewing Co beers under the supermarket’s four-for-€10 deal. Carrig, a family-run business in Drumshanbo, says it is the first brewery in Co Leitrim for more than 150 years. Its labels carry the Micro Brewed in Ireland logo, which is a handy way of spotting certified independent breweries. (The ICBI logo is another one to look out for.)

Carrig Pilsner, which is a bright golden colour, has the classic sweet, grainy characteristic of the lager style. I’ve tried quite a few craft lagers recently and been disappointed – the simple and clean profile of the style is difficult to get right – but this one is well made, crisp and very drinkable, and at 4.8 per cent alcohol it is a good one for summer.

Poachers Pale Ale by Carrig is a straight-up, approachable craft beer at 4.7 per cent alcohol. It’s a pale amber, light in aroma, with some nice flavours of marmalade, a little bit of grapefruit and citrus as you drink. There’s a bready, malty backbone, and the bitterness builds, becoming slightly tannic. Overall, it’s a little dry for my tastes.

A black IPA is a kind of deceit, using roasted malts for a darker colour but with all the fruity juiciness of a hoppy IPA

A black IPA is a kind of deceit, using roasted malts for a darker colour but with all the fruity juiciness of a hoppy IPA. Carrig’s Coalface is a 5.5 per cent black IPA, the name inspired by Leitrim’s old mining industry. It has lots of roasted, chocolate flavour and smoothness, although I didn’t get a big fruity hoppiness. (That may because this bottle was within two and a half months of its best-before date, and the aroma and flavour of hops can dissipate very quickly.) It’s more like a dry stout than a hoppy black IPA – but it’s a tasty one. 

@ITbeerista beerista@irishtimes.com

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