For a nation synonymous with getting on the sauce, the Irish beer scene was very banal for a long time. All the brands came out of three companies and there was a distinct lack of variety. That has started to change and one of the vanguards of that change is making a foray into the Australian market. Back of the Ferry was treated to a few varieties of O’Hara’s craft beer on a recent voyage home and we are pleased to report that the foray is a welcome one.
Peter from Rhizome Beverages was introduced to Back of the Ferry through a mate. Rhizome Beverages distributes Dingle Gin, ciders and Irish craft beer in Australia. Back of the Ferry had previously sampled and reviewed some of the 8 Degree range, which Rhizome distributes, but we’d not seen O’Hara’s before. It turns out that you’ll be seeing plenty of it. Dan Murphy has the bottles and their Irish Pale Ale is on tap at the venerable PJ O’Briens in King St, Sydney.
As we gave the beers the traditional Back of the Ferry beerp0rn treatment, we learned that O’Hara’s started in 1996 as one of the pioneers of the Irish Craft Beer movement. According to their website there’s now 72 craft brewers in Ireland – but in 1996, O’Hara’s was at the bleeding edge. If beer range is anything to go by, they are booming. At least 20 varieties and Mick stumbled across one of their US Style IPAs on a recent trip to Val d’isere ( as you do).
We got to enjoy the Stout, the Red and the IPA (but an Irish Pale Ale). For mine the Irish Red is delightful. Malty, caramel and plenty of flavour. It is a style I really like and this is a good version. We needed to try the Stout at a slightly lower temperature, but it has good coffee notes and is lovely to drink. The Irish Pale is very easy to drink and sessionable. Thanks to Peter for a very convivial voyage and for sharing these fine Irish beers. Slainte.