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Craft beer: Win the first of a limited-edition, out-of-this-world brew by Lacada

Anarres, named for a planet in a sci-fi novel by Ursula K Le Guin
Paul McConville

LACADA is a brewery that always seems to be looking at the stars. Their stand-out Salamander series has produced, among other great beers, Utopian Stout which was named best beer in Northern Ireland at the recent NI Beer Festival to celebrate the first birthday of the Northern Lights bar in Belfast.

Now, they’ve taken the ‘go big or go home’ route with their souped up version of the Utopian Stout.

In February, they brewed a beast of stout, aged it, bottled it in just 360 bottles and gave it the name Anarres. It’s a post Utopian stout, so deserved an out-of-this-world name.

Anarres is the name of a planet in the 1974 novel The Dispossessed by American author Ursula K Le Guin. Le Guin died earlier this year and the folks at Lacada thought this would be a fitting way to shine a new light on her writings.

But what about the beer itself? Well, there are only 360 bottles in existence, so you’ll need to move quickly to pick one up. It has also been pulling at the Belfast Beer and Cider Festival in the Ulster Hall (although, by the time you read this, they may run dry).

Thankfully, Lacada were kind enough to let me try some out and even more altruistic in allowing one lucky Irish News reader to win the number one labelled bottle.

For a start, it pours a lovely black, oily consistency and whatever head there is, is dark tan coloured. This an 11 per cent imperial stout, so the head doesn’t stick around too long. Aroma-wise, there are hints of dark chocolate and dried fruits and the beer is jet black in the glass.

As this is such a strong beer, it’s a bit of sipper; however, you’ll need a generous initial gulp to savour the cavalcade of flavours. You get the wonderful roast malt up front and then are strong notes of molasses and dark fruits. It’s a bit like a rich fruit cake with juicy hints of blueberry in there too.

It has a sweet and sticky feel to it with a hint of coffee and vanilla and yet for all that strength and all that flavour, it’s remarkably smooth. It’s bottle conditioned too, so you can drink it now or shelve it for a bit to let it age away.

The 750ml bottles would be great shared out among friends, especially with the festive season approaching, and you can get your hands on bottle number one along with a guided tour of the Lacada Brewery in Portrush. Just email your answer to the following question to p.mcconville@irishnews.com

What is the name of the novel which features the planet Anarres?

Competition closes on Tuesday November 13 at 6pm.

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