Saturday, 17 March 2018

O'Hara's Celebration Stout

Origin: Ireland | Date: 2008 | ABV: 6% | On The Beer Nut: March 2008

Back in 2008, a new-release Irish beer was a real special occasion, enough to warrant a blog post saved for the national holiday. Ten years ago to the day I reviewed the brand new O'Hara's Celebration, the beer brewed for the brewery's 10th anniversary that would later evolve into accessible classic Leann Folláin. Of course these days new Irish beers arrive at a rate of several a week. 2008 seems a very long time ago where our nation's beer scene is concerned. I wonder how the beer is faring a decade later.

There's a satisfying snap when the swingtop is popped, though little signs of carbonation on pouring, a thin off-white head eventually forming. The folly of ageing beer in swingtop bottles is apparent from the aroma: a definite sherry whiff from the creeping oxygen. The flavour carries that too, and a slight musty staleness. But there's a solid layer of chocolate beside that, pleasingly dark and bitter, as well as a mild umami note. The texture is surprisingly light, much more so than heavy old Leann Folláin when it's fresh, and the beer is simpler, less complex, than I expected.

I'm a little disappointed that this hasn't transformed into a masterpiece the way the Porterhouse one did. It's fine, but does not taste like a stout with ten years on it. I blame the ABV: I guess you need to go higher to get the real benefit.

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