Brown Paper Bag Project – Ireland’s premier gypsy brewer – have managed to put a bit of fun back into the age-old event that is the new beer launch. Their last brew Oxman Brown Ale was kicked off with a hunt the flag competition: find a flag, get a free beer – can’t say fairer than that.
The latest addition to their range was unleashed on Dublin’s drinking public last night in the form of a blind twitter tasting – a pretty cool little concept. The mystery new beer was available to pick up in advance from Drinkstore of Stoneybatter and was (obviously) wrapped in a brown paper bag to discourage the peekers and cheaters among us.
The idea for this little online event was to crack the secret bottle open at 8pm and then join in the discussion on aroma, flavour, hops, and malts using the hashtag (mum, if you’re reading, I’ll explain what that is later) #BPBPBT .
It’s always good to give something new a bash without having any preconceptions about it, so fair play to the gang at BPBP for organising an event such as this.
Along with the twenty or so other tweeters who were joining in, my beer hit the glass at 8pm sharp. A huge amount of frothy white head billowing everywhere was the first thing to note, as well as the nice hazy orange colour of the beer itself. The aroma instantly made the word ‘saison’ spring to mind: a nice tangy, pungent, Belgian-like yeastiness alongside plenty of hay, lots of orange peel, and some lemony notes. The aroma’s definitely more fruity than your average farmhouse ale though – some very juicy mango and orange stuff happening. The taste hits with more pungent, spicy Belgo-inspired flavours, but quickly becomes seriously fruity: like a big glass of Tropicana Ruby Breakfast juice. There’s more lemon rind, thick wheaty stuff, and light herbs and spices. Loads of carbonation on show here, giving it a big full body. The finish is achingly dry and lasts for yonks – incredibly crisp and refreshing.
So what was it then? (P.S. anyone who scrolls down without thinking ‘boobs’, send me your address and a tenner book token will be on its way to you)
Welcome to Dublin, Doxie.
A ‘blonde wheat ale’ says the label and it comes in at a surprisingly low 5.4% ABV (guesses on twitter ranged from 6%-9%!). No surprise that it’s hopped with Amarillo – that lovely juicy tangerine and mango thing really stands out – and the Cascade dry hopping gives extra fruity dimensions to proceedings. What is surprising is that there’s no Belgian yeast strain used in it…it’s American ale yeast. Bonkers. All down to the fermentation conditions according to the brewer. Nevertheless, I’m still happy to call this the best damn new-world saison ever produced in Ireland (not that there’s been too many of them, mind you).
Stylistics and ingredients aside, this is another cracking brew from a bunch who are quickly becoming the leading lights of the burgeoning Irish good beer scene. You’ll get it in the pubs L. Mulligan Grocer and W.J. Kavanagh right now, and I imagine it’ll be on general sale in bottle shops around the city in the next few days.