Food & Drink

Craft beer: Autumn is here - take it as red

Maddyroe is a 5.8 per cent American-style red ale from Kinnegar
Maddyroe is a 5.8 per cent American-style red ale from Kinnegar Maddyroe is a 5.8 per cent American-style red ale from Kinnegar

I never really need to be told when it’s autumn – the calendar usually takes care of that, plus my birthday is September 1 and inevitably the rainy summers give way to blistering ‘Back to School’ weather.

The almost sadistic sunshine in the first week of September makes the stiff collars on those new school shirts and blazer that bit more uncomfortable, but it’s usually for only a fleeting time as autumn begins to bite and the evenings draw in.

It’s the time of year when summer session IPAs give way to darker and malty ales.

They even assume the seasonal colours of brown and dark red.

The Irish red ale has been a brewing staple for so long that it actually predates the predilection for stout on this island was originally the style of choice for a certain Arthur Guinness’s fledgling brewery.

Like many things on this side of the pond, the red ale made its way Stateside and got sold back to us in a slightly different version.

That’s where beers such as Kinnegar’s Maddyroe can trace their origins.

A traditional Irish style, given the American treatment, and brewed in a Donegal brewery.

Wee Bunny is a 4 per cent session IPA from Kinnegar
Wee Bunny is a 4 per cent session IPA from Kinnegar Wee Bunny is a 4 per cent session IPA from Kinnegar

Maddyroe is a red ale which has undergone many incarnations over the years, but the 2023 version is a beautifully malty and hoppy autumnal ale.

Unsurprisingly, it pours a redish, brown colour in the glass with a slightly off-white head.

There’s those kind of sweet, malty flavours you’d expect from the style – a hint of caramel and toffee but this being the US take on the style, it’s not long before the hops make themselves known.

There’s a low-key version of the kind of piney, sharp bitterness you’d get in a West Coast IPA. It’s not has in your face as it would in an IPA, but enough to make it interesting.

If you are still yearning for a little taste of summer, then Wee Bunny – Kinnegar’s session IPA and dialled down version of Big Bunny can fill the void.

It clocks in at 4 per cent, which is slap bang in the session territory and retains the fruity and juicy elements of Big Bunny, but with a much lighter mouthfeel and much more manageable strength.