Craft Beer: Beer52 box contained a nice pair from Wicklow-based O Brother

Follow>Dream>Path is a double IPA from Wicklow-based O Brother Brewing Company
Paul McConville

CRAFT beer in Ireland has always struggled to find its way into the majority of pubs. Of course, there are those establishments whose main attraction is their range of locally brewed delights, but for a large chunk of them which are tied to the big drinks companies, getting a few cans or bottles into a fridge behind the bar presents an often insurmountable problem.

And let's not even start talking about securing one single, solitary tap in such establishments.

However, this means that craft fans north and south are quite experienced at enjoying their favourite brews within the confines of their own home. So all that being in lockdown has done is demand a little bit more ingenuity in how to source such beers.

Home beer deliveries are by no means a new normal that craft beer drinkers have had to get used to in the last few weeks in the same way that we have all found ourselves washing our hands 230 times a day or turning into the worst kind of curtain-twitchers when we suspect one of our neighbours is setting off on their third non-essential outing of the day.

I have a sporadic subscription to Beer52 and was delighted that one of their recent boxes contained a host of Irish beers, including and an enticing pair from Wicklow-based O Brother Brewing Company.

First up was Follow>Dream>Path, a double IPA clocking in at 8 per cent. This beer had the added twist of being brewed with kviek yeast, which is a farmhouse-style fermenter, although with a deal more control about it than the wild varieties used in saisons and lambics.

The result, though, is an initially effervescent beer, which then settles and becomes smooth and almost creamy in the mouth. On this base, Follow>Dream>Path builds a refreshing blend of tropical and citrus flavours, a hint of apricot and almost dank bitterness. There's a fair degree of sticky sweetness too and it's all very drinkable for an 8 per cent beer.

However, if you want to dial it down a bit, especially if you find your housebound-self having a little unwinder most nights of the week, the Dreamcatcher is a tamer option. A session IPA coming in at 4.5 per cent, it's still packed with a lot of flavour. It's hazy in the glass, with lots of refreshing, juicy flavours, but light and smooth.

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