Beer: Mess Is A Sign Of Life and Beers That Nobody Asked For

Paul McConville

Paul McConville

Paul is the Irish News sports editor. He has worked for the newspaper since 2003 as a sub-editor and sports reporter. He also writes a weekly column on craft beer.

HOW'S the detox going? Probably not very well if, like me, you're the sort of person who feels that cold turkey is something you put in sandwich with the last dregs of the homemade cranberry sauce.

It's natural that, after a season of excess, we try to slow things down a bit when it comes to our beer consumption. Some cut it out altogether, others seek out that elusive great-tasting alcohol-free beer (FWIW, Lucky Saint lager is the one that comes closest to nailing it).

However, making a clean break can be a bit counter-productive and akin to slamming on the brakes when you're motoring along at 70 mph. It's better to slow your speed down to a lower and more manageable level.

January is a long month after all, and particularly long for our microbrewers who brace themselves for a plunge in sales. But going low doesn't just have to do with the money being made by brewers at this time of year.

If you've over indulged but still want to support small beer producers, there are a few low abv options to consider.

Many low strength beers tend to be of the pale ale or lager variety, but Mess Is A Sign Of Life is a 3 per cent stout which is a collaborative effort between Boundary and Cloudwater. Despite its low strength, it still packs in plenty of flavour. You'd expect a thin mouthfeel with a low abv, but this one has creamy, smooth feel for a what is billed as a 'session stout'.

There's also lots of chocolate and roasty notes to it and a little bite of bitterness at the end.

Beers That Nobody Asked For is another collaboration – this time between Boundary and Galway Bay. Given that these two have hooked up in the past to produce double-digit strength barley wines, this is very much at the other end of the scale.

It's billed as a 'petite saison' which clocks in at 3.8 per cent, but again crams a lot of flavour in.

Saisons tend to be a great all-rounder of a beer – lovely hoppy fruit flavours, sweet malt and intriguing yeast flavours. This one gets it all spot on with the addition of lemongrass giving it a refreshing citrus hit and a little bit of spice.

It has a light, lager-like malt profile with wheat and oats helping to smooth it out and floral and citrus hop notes.