What Are the Odds? the brewing equivalent of a Stevie Wonder and Prince recording an album together
Paul McConville samples beers from Ireland and further afield
BEER is meant for sharing. There's nothing like a few pints of good beer between friends. Brewers like getting together over beer too, although not in the same way as us humble drinkers. Collaborations are everywhere nowadays and it can be great when top brewing gets together to make some cracking beer.
When it comes to big, bold cloudy IPAs, two of my favourite breweries are Magic Rock and Verdant. So imagine my delight when the two of them got together to produce a double IPA. It's pretty much the brewing equivalent of Stevie Wonder and Prince recording an album together.
With such lofty expectations, I had high hopes for What Are the Odds? and it never came anywhere near even threatening to disappoint.
Let's be clear – these two brewing magicians love their hops to an almost unnatural level. Verdant have a particular penchant for cramming huge quantities of the freshest hops into their beer.
This one is no exception and with the added expertise of Magic Rock, the end result is a smashing double IPA, which clocks in at 8.3 per cent.
There's a hefty bit of wheat in the malt bill, which contributes to a beautifully hazy look. It pours an amber colour with a nice white head, which retains its integrity pretty well considering the strength.
You get the first big hit of fruit on the nose, this beer is bursting with juicy aromas and a dive in delivers more. This beer has been hopped in the kettle and then dry hopped, ensuring a welcome assault on both senses.
A generous gulp sees all those fruity, juicy flavours wash over the palate before a subtle, bitter finish. It's definitely up there with one of the best beers I've had.
It comes in a 500ml can, perfectly filling a pint class, but its taste suggests it won't stay there for long and, indeed, as a limited edition creation, it's not likely to stick around on the shelves too long. Grab it while you can, odds are you'll really love it.
Now an IPA of any variety is a well-established style, but another collab I tried out this week definitely isn't. Up and coming Sligo brewers Lough Gill have teamed up with London-based Five Points to produce a Sloe Gin Gose.
Gose is a type of sour German beer and the addition of sloe gin and juniper berries has a produced an interesting beer. I'm not a big gin fan, so didn't know what to expect, but it has the right levels of tart, citrus flavour with a little bit of sweet, berry fruits and a bitter, slightly salty, finish, all at a perfectly manageable 5.2 per cent.