A taste of… O’Hara’s Irish Red

Carlow Brewing Company Muine Bheag Business Park County Carlow Ireland phone: +353(0)59-972050

Preface: This is the other wee bottle that has been residing in the back of my refrigerator since St. Patrick’s Day. A few days before that it was delivered by parcel post along with the cheese you see in the picture. What appears to be a date notation on the bottle neck is “JAN 11”. Label claims that this beer was brewed by Carlow Brewing Company, Station Rd., Carlow Ireland. (Imported by Distinguished Brands International, Littleton, CO.)

The following are my tasting notes…

Appearance: Here is a Garnet red brew that is almost as deep red is a Burgundy wine. The carbonation is enthusiastic and builds a sandy brown rich head of tiny and small sized bubbles.

Aroma: The first impression is a very citric and burnt caramel candy sweetness. The second visit reveals damp grassy-green perfumes. The third nosedive brings out some caramel-accented malt sweetness.

Flavor: After the first refreshing sensation there is a sharp caramel sweetness that tries to hide behind slightly sharper citric tang.

The second sip revealed on underlying phenolic flavor that seemed misplaced. The third swig had all of the involved parties smoothing things out and ending on a note that was relatively in tune.

Mouth feel: This is not a very hefty beer, not a hefty beer at all.

Finish: At the very end there’s a rather pleasant palate cleansing sensation as it ends up on a fairly dry note.

Comments: The good folks that sent me this beer also forwarded a sample of what they call “Irish whiskey cheddar” and labeled as Irish cheddar with Kilbeggan Irish whiskey. The label also claims that it is “traditional Irish cheddar, handcrafted on the family farm”. The family from they refer to is Cahill’s farm in Newcastle West Ireland.

And so, as with the Stout and the blue cheese previously tasted on this blog, I shall try O’Hara’s Irish Red with Cagle’s Irish whiskey cheddar beginning with the cheddar.

For the life of me I couldn’t find any whiskey flavor. On the upside, it tastes like the perfect cheese for a classic American macaroni and cheese casserole.

I shall now take a sip of O’Hara’s Irish red and see how it goes with the cheese.

The results of the experiment… The cheese brought out all the malt that I had previously lost in the initial tasting. In fact it brings out the hops as well. Both flavors woke by the almost nutty flavor of the cheese.

In the end the beer and cheese combined to produce a nutty flavor that is surprisingly tasty and doesn’t take too long to leave.

The Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company

What others say: BeerAdvocate | RateBeer