Craft beer: White Hag aim to match the Belgians with Fionnabhair Irish Wit
FROM Wilde to Shaw, Joyce to, eh, Dave Allen I suppose, the Irish have always been renowned for their wit. However, when it comes to the beer style of commonly known as ‘wit', the Belgians are the undoubted kings.
As for their standing in the humour stakes, well anyone who puts mayonnaise on their chips has got to be having a laugh.
Up until now, Irish wit has been confined to those you can pen some sizzling satire or spin an entertaining yarn, but Sligo-based brewers White Hag have taken a shot at the lowlanders' version of wit in their Fionnabhair Irish Wit.
To give it a Gaelic twist, they've brewed this with Irish heather and chucked in bit of orange peel and coriander for good measure.
It clocks in at 5 per cent abv, but drinks much lighter than that. It has all those flavours you'd expect from a wit – sweet, with hints of banana and clove and an underlying bit of bitterness and earthiness.
However, those flavours are all quite subtle, with nothing really dominating the palate too much, which is very much in keeping with the style. It's a refreshing beer with a little tang of yeast, perfect for another one of those hot, sultry Irish summer days. Ah, there's that famous Hibernian wit again.
Another enticing offering from White Hag is Ninth Wave. Coming in one of the brewer's trademark colourful cans, it is billed as a New World Pale Ale. It's another which is light and very drinkable, with a taste that's firmly in the ‘sessionable' stable but a strength – 5.4 per cent – which threatens to stray out of it.
It pours a lovely hazy, amber colour and the aromas leap out of the can on the pour. There's a bit of mango in there which carries through into the flavour. It also has tastes of peach and citrus and is pretty juicy for a beer which doesn't advertise itself as a ‘juice bomb'.
The carbonation is low and there's a kind of soft quality to this beer. It doesn't so much flood over the palate, more plumps up the pillows and gently rest itself on it.