A few times every year I have that beer moment. It’s a moment that all of my fellow beer bloggers and enthusiasts know intimately…it’s the bloody reason we put the graft into seeking out and writing about new brews. It’s a moment in which you lift your newly-purchased previously-untried beer to your lips, take a sip, and then all the world gets put to rights. All of it. Glorious. All things fade and the only thing you want to do is go back to the taps and have the barman literally bathe you in it.
You’ll be happy/jealous to know that I had one of these moments this evening. And Irish drinkers should be delighted to know that it came at the hands of one of our own brewers… Those beautiful folks at Galway Bay have gone and done it again.
Table Beer is their newest offering and, my Lord, it’s what the Irish beer scene has been crying out for.
What’s a table beer you ask? A low ABV, cheap to purchase sessioner that those good beerfolk in Belgium (of all ages) would traditionally consume shedloads of. “Session strength” beers (i.e. sub 4% ABV-ers) aren’t exactly ten-a-penny in Ireland. We made recent headway with Trouble Brewing’s fruity Graffiti Pale Ale (3.8%), which did a good little job; although everywhere I saw it, it was being flogged at the same rate as beers in the mid 5% range. Kind of defeating the point.
Galway Bay’s 3.5% ABV new brew (a lunchtime-strength American Pale Ale) has hit the mark in a literal shitload of ways. First, let’s talk price: it’s €4 per pint in all of Galway Bay’s pubs. All day, every day. This isn’t a special offer, mind you, it’s going to be a permanent fixture on tap and will stay at this great price from now on. Class.
Second, and most importantly, let’s get to the taste of the thing. It’s brewed with some serious and exciting new-world hops: Citra, Amarillo, and Waiiti. All of which are renowned for the smack in the proverbials they dish out to one’s sensory systems. But hey, just banging these hops into the brew kettle isn’t enough, as many brews in Ireland over this past year or two have demonstrated. It takes even more bloody skill to utilise a flavour, aroma and bitterness profile such as this in a beer of such light ABV strength.
There’s an amazing aroma of peach, passionfruit and light lemon – with a bit of orange and light spruce in there. On the palate, it’s juicy as they come: loads of orange, mango, melon, with bit of spruce and light minerally notes. Spruce and grapefruit rise in the aftertaste. There’s a tasty bit of biscuit, slightly doughy, malt in there, giving some depth while letting the glorious hop profile do its thing. In terms of body, it’s light/medium, not thin or watery by any means – another tick. Add to this a solid piney/citric bitterness lingering on the tongue, and, my loves, we have a bloody winner.
Look, this is first class. It’s better than anything I’ve had of similar ‘Table Beer’ status from the likes of London’s The Kernel. It’s so exciting, so juicy, and so incredibly fresh right now. And, thank God, it’s here to stay.