Logo name authorBy Mark Keane

…Continuing our countdown!

5. Galway Bay Brewery: Dark Saison and a salted caramel Wee Heavy

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The dark saison is described by Galway Bay Brewery as a 5.5% amber sour that has been primary fermented with Lactobacillus then fully fermented with Brettanomyces. Basically that means this beer could be very funky, complex, sour and tangy. On the other hand, it means you might absolutely hate it and have to throw it down the sink. It might be better to open this beer with a friend, just in case.

The salted caramel wee heavy involves doing a 2 hour wort boil instead of the usual 1 hour, this will develop a richer maltier flavour for the beer. It also uses dark brown sugar, a huge amount of malt, a pinch of salt and then it’s aged on oak shavings. This beer could end up tasting similar to a barleywine, with a lot of sweetness, caramel, malt and dried fruit flavours.

6. Independent: Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine and a Brandy Barrel Aged Barleywine

Independent is another brewery hailing from Galway, with a well established core range that is getting into the barrel aging craze this Christmas. Not a tonne of details about these two beers, but it seems likely they will be around 9-10% Barleywine’s aged in Teeling whiskey barrels. We’ve seen Galway Bay age their imperial stout, 200 Fathoms, to great effect in Teeling barrels earlier this year, so hopes are high with these offerings from Independent.

This type of beer will likely age well due to its strength and from the barrel aging process, while some of the stronger flavours may mellow and improve over the year. As a result, its well worth picking up a few bottles if you like it, hide them away somewhere cold, and crack them open for special occasions.

7. Kinnegar: Red Ipa and Winter Ale

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Kinnegar Brewing have been making quality beers in Donegal for a few years now. Their Black Bucket black rye ipa being one of Ireland’s better beers. Although they have generally stuck to brewing ipa’s, amber ales and pale ales, they do like to brew ‘special release’ beers. These have ranged from a farmhouse saison, a wheat beer, a coconut porter to a gooseberry kettle sour.

This year they will be releasing a 5.7% red ipa, as well as a Winter Ale that is being brewed with ginger, rye, cinnamon and pumpkin. There are rumours that we may even see the return of their gooseberry sour beer!

8. Eight Degrees: Red Ipa, Belgian Stout, and Barleywine8 deg xmas

The darling of the Irish craft scene, Eight Degrees from Cork, who have a reputation for brewing new and interesting beers all the time, have not rested on their laurels this Christmas. They have beer lovers covered with a red ipa, a stout, and a barleywine.

The red ipa will have nice caramel malt flavours with a spiced orange tang. It will be 6.2% and they recommend pairing it with turkey, duck, or goose.

The stout will be a classic Irish Export Stout but brewed with Belgian yeast. This beer has the potential to be very interesting indeed. It will mix rich dark chocolate flavours with peppery notes from the yeast. The stout will have a strength of 6.0%, making it ideal to stock up on a few for the holidays.

For those beer lovers who want something a bit stronger, look no further than Eight Degrees new barleywine. This beer is going to be big and bold, weighing in at 10.2%. Barleywines aren’t for everybody it must be noted, but those who are curious, you will get dried fruit flavours, sweetness, and a nice alcohol finish. This style of beer is perfect for sipping in front of the fireplace.

Hopefully your thirst hasn’t been quenched just yet as the final four beers are perfect for chocolate, coffee and wine lovers.


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