BEER REVIEW: O'Hara's Irish ale is surprise package of 2019
So with the cold weather either upon us, or about to be upon us, now is probably an opportune time to review a darker beer.
There is something comforting about wrapping yourself around a rich and tasty beverage when the temperature is under what you are used to. I say "used to” because what constitutes cold does vary for people.
In my old home town of Warwick, for instance, what was considered a mild night, maybe bordering on the bracing at 8C, would almost kill people from Mackay where cool started at a degree under 20C.
The beer that Hugh the Neighbour and I tucked into last weekend comes from a place where the weather can be genuinely ordinary and the winters can be most persistent - Ireland.
Yes, from the nation that brought us Guinness, comes O'Hara's Irish Red Ale.
This is a classic example of the type, redolent with malty caramel. It is not strong on hops but gets its pleasant bitterness from some roasted barley added during the brewing process.
For both HTN and me, this was one of those Goldilocks beers you come across every now and then - not too hoppy, not too bitter, not too strong - but rather a beer that is just right. This is the surprise package of 2019 thus far.
In fact, were it not for the price, which is well up in the stirrups for a pack of four, I could see myself becoming quite attached to the O'Hara's. The price point does put it more into the special occasion category for me, but, if you see it on the shelves, we reckon you should grab it with both hands.