Sunday, March 16, 2008

Irish Ales, Jayhawks, and Irish Stout

Since I won't be able to bar-hop with all the amateurs tomorrow I decided to go ahead and do a little celebrating today while I enjoy another epic battle between the Jayhawks and Texas Longhorns (and another victory). In homage to St. Patrick we'll take a look at three different Irish styled beers, Boulevard's Irish Ale, Free State's Grace O'Malley's Irish Ale, and finally, Murphy's Irish Stout.

The Boulevard Irish Ale is a clear, rich amber colored ale with an off-white head. The aroma is an enticing mix of caramel sweetness, fruity yeast esters, and a crisp, citric hops smell. Flavors are pretty much the same with a lightly bitter finish and a pine-like aftertaste. Mouth feel is medium-light with proper carbonation, Overall, a tasty example of the style with perhaps a little more of a hop profile than some, but I like it. Look for this beer on tap while you're out and about on Monday.

Meanwhile the Free State version is a richer maltier version of the style. Almost the same color with a rich malty aroma mixed with some fruity esters from the yeast. The flavors start off with a caramel and biscuit-like sweetness followed by a quick fruitiness and then a light, toasty finish. Not as bitter as the Boulevard but richer in the mouth with an excellent malt heavy flavor. Both would be an excellent choice, but I'm going to go with Boulevard as my favorite right now.

Finally, Murphy's Irish Stout is an InBev owned beer (the A-B of Europe) that is widely available in 16oz cans that have that nifty widget in them that allows us to get that creamy nitrogen infused pour. Color is black with a dark ruby highlight and a thick, creamy, dirty white head that lingers...and lingers. Aromas and flavors are mild at best. A slight milk chocolate aroma then some roasted flavors show up in the mouth to help give it a dry finish with a chalky aftertaste. Mouth feel is velvety smooth, a little watery at the end. Overall, a notch above Guinness in the flavor department but not as good as the other dry stouts I've reviewed (Avery, Boulevard, & North Coast).

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