By Jove, they’ve done it.
Galway Bay Brewery have gone and nailed a hoppy beer. They’ve been going in the right direction for a while now. Yes, anyone who’s a regular in any of their pubs in Galway or Dublin can’t have missed the increasing levels of hoppiness in their Full Sail pale ale over recent times; plus, while their Voyager NZ IPA was a bit too astringent, there’s no doubt that it delivered a big grapefruity kick to the proverbials.
But, ladies and gents, Friday the 15th of November will go down in the annals of Ireland’s beer scene. That beautiful date (which should henceforth be considered a national holiday) saw the unleashing of something seriously, seriously good: Of Foam and Fury.
This 8.5% ABV Double India Pale Ale ticks a lot of boxes. A bloody warehouse full of boxes for hopheads like me.
It pours a hazy amber, with a big lasting white head – looks impeccable. There’s a beautiful dank fruitiness on the nose: sweet mango, blood orange and grapefruit. Matching that is plenty of thick semi-sweet pine resin and slightly burnt caramel.
Moving onto the taste… man, it’s a wonderful explosion of new world hop goodness: mango, pithy grapefruit, and thick piney resinous notes aplenty. There’s some sweet slightly sherbety orange in the background too. A thick, lightly nutty, caramel maltiness makes up the backbone to this, but by no means does it override the big hop kick – pure pine and grapefruit really do take the lead throughout. Medium bodied, with hardly any hint of the big booze that comes with it. There’s a great citric bite to finish, with mouth-coating resinous stuff lingering. The fruity hop burn keeps on giving long, long into the aftertaste.
In short, Ireland now has a DIPA to be truly proud of. Of Foam and Fury seems to take significant inspiration from BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA, rather than from some of the paler malt DIPAs which are kicking arse on the West Coast of America at the moment. But Galway Bay have managed to marry caramel-tinged malt and pure new-world hops in a much more successful way than their Scottish counterparts. It’s a better beer, pure and simple.
Irish beer drinkers, drop your shopping/laptops/kids and go buy this right now. It’s available in all of the Cottage Group’s pubs and will soon be released in 500ml bottles (including a cool little competition – check out @GalwayBayBrew on twitter for more info).
God bless Ireland’s renascent beer scene.