Craft Beer: Star turns from Mountain Man's Banjo'd and Green Bullet

Banjo'd, from Irish brewer Mountain Man, is an Appalachian IPA that's evocative of, well, Appalachia

WHATEVER about American actors famously (or perhaps infamously) mangling Irish accents on film, Brendan Gleeson makes a decent stab at an American twang in the film Cold Mountain (the less said about Ray Winstone's similar attempt the better though).

Gleeson's character, however, plays a mean fiddle in the film which is partially set in the Appalachian region of the United States. Beards, banjos and civil war are the main tropes of the movie – oh, and something about Jude Law and Nicole Kidman fallling in love.

Anyway, I had cause to recall the award-laden flick when I tried out some of the offerings of Irish brewer Mountain Man – there's beards and banjos here too, but no civil war. What they do have, however, is a nod to the aforementioned region of the eastern US in the form of their Appalachian IPA, evocativaly entitled Banjo'd.

As with all the Mountain Man beers, they've played around with labelling with some little humorous nuggets, showing that they don't take themselves too seriously (except when it comes to beer).

So, to the brew itself. Banjo'd pours a kind of rusty colour, with very little head and bubbles racing up the side of the glass. When it settles down, it gives of some lovely aromas. There's a sweet, sugary caramelly whiff with a fruity hint – it brought to mind sugared pear drops.

Despite all those bubbles, the carbonation is quite light in the mouth and the malt is a little bit more pronounced than advertised, but that lends it a bit of character. The sweet bready taste does give way to some juicy tropical flavours of grapefruit and pineapple. There's an almost tart and sticky feel to it – think a slice of toasted Veda with gooseberry jam. It's a really nicely balanced ale, there's a lot going on but none of the elements overpower the other and there's a nice bitter finish.

Green Bullet is a much lighter affair. It's billed as a pale ale, but has much more of a blonde ale feel to it. That could be due to the presence of a pilsner malt in the bill. It pours a golden colour and has an ever so subtle piney aroma. That subtlety continues into the taste, with a delicate yet fresh and citrus flavours.

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