Craft Beer: Clearsky at top of the Mountain
IT’S something of an extreme response to Qatar's strict alcohol laws, but the rather simplified story behind Kelly's Mountain Brew involves Donegal natives Ronan and Jacqui Kelly finding it almost impossible to find decent beer in the small Middle Eastern country and high tailing it back to Ireland – Kildare, to be more accurate – to brew their own.
And so a new range of craft beers was born around two years ago. The core ranges contains Justice Pale Ale, Revolution Red Ale and Revenge Ruby Porter – probably ideal accompaniments to an episode of Deadwood judging by the name and label design.
The newest addition to their stable keeps up the part-biblical, part-Western theme – Redemption IPA.
For a start, this beer pours very well. The addition of a little bit of wheat to the grain bill gives it a frothy white head, which stays the course and aids the smoothness of the beer. The appearance of a light copper, just a slight shade darker than a European lager.
There is a fruity, cirtrusy taste and a sweetness which almost borders on toffee and a hint of spice. All that comes together to make it a highly drinkable, sessionable IPA – clocking in at 4.8 per cent. It is quite lightly hopped for an IPA, with the sweetness making it a more natural pairing for steak.
At the more hoppy end of Irish IPAs is Rowlock from Clearsky Brewery (www.clearskybrewing.com). Eking out the last few rays of the recent sunny spell in Hudson's Yard in Belfast, a bottle of this Dungannon-brewed ale went down a treat.
There's a piney, clovey taste with hints of citrus fruit before a well-measured hit of hops at the back. The bitterness creeps up a bit, but that all goes towards making this a complex and intriguing ale. It can be best paired with strong cheese or Mexican food, the hops standing their ground against the spice.
WHAT ARE YOUR DRINKING?
From lagers to stouts, blondes to red ales or pales, let me know what you're drinking and where. Tweet me @pmcconville77 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.