Anyone who’s read recent posts of mine will know that these are pretty exciting times for Irish beer drinkers. Imperial IPAs, decent hoppy pales, Black IPAs, American Barleywines, Belgian-style Tripels, and even Barrel-aged Imperial Stouts – we’ve got ’em all. Not in massive quantity, mind you, but it’s a damn sight better than what we had 12 months ago.
We’ve also had a few new kids on the block popping up, the latest of which is Dublin’s own Stone Barrel Brewing Co.
Their first beer (which has been contract-brewed in the UK, and will be until the lads’ brewkit arrives in a couple of months) launched yesterday.
Boom is the name, Session IPA is allegedly the game. What’s a Session IPA you ask? Who the hell knows. A hoppier pale ale? A less alcoholic IPA? Or both? Neither? Ah, bollocks to it.
Whatever the hell you want to call it, this is a very decent first shot at a commercial brew. It’s 5% ABV and comes in very-sessionable 50cl bottles.
It pours pale orange in colour with a very thin bubbly white head. There’s a decent whack of dank mango and slightly stale (but very aromatic) ganja on the nose – a fresh and green hop aroma (as you’d expect from a hoppy brew bottled last week). There’s a lot of great piney bitterness hitting you in the taste: plenty of resin and light sticky caramel. More mango and some slightly more assertive grapefruit join the party too. I’m a fan of the malt body in this – just the right amount of caramel and digestive biscuit to give some balance to the (surprisingly assertively bitter) hoppiness. There’s pine resin and mango juice (think Rubicon) lingering long into the aftertaste.
In my mind, this is a really solid American Pale Ale that’s easily as good as Porterhouse Hophead. In terms of New World hop flavour, it’s much better, in fact.
There is, of course, room for improvement. First, I’d like to see a bit more carbonation to give the great flavour profile a lift. It must be said that the brewers were quick to admit that the filtration process did no favours for the aroma and that they should have used some for late hops in the brew to really push those tropical flavours home. Fair enough, I’d say. Making the step from homebrewing to commercial scale production is bloody tricky. I liked the honesty of Niall and Kev (the brewers), and I’ve no doubt that their next batch of Boom will be a much more polished product. But, in all fairness, I’m happy enough with its current incarnation to stock up the beer fridge with a few bottles. Good job, lads.
Boom is currently available at Baggot Street Wines for around three-and-a-half quid and will be popping up at other beery locations around Dublin over the coming days, follow the lads on Twitter to find out more about availability.