Kilkenny: Kilkenny Irish Ale (Ireland: Irish Ale: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: A slightly mahogany brown. Clumpy off white bubbled head but low carbonation.

Nose: Slight sour dough. Dry malt and malt chocolate. Dry roasted peanuts. You can smell the carbonation, if that makes any sense.

Body:  Burnt malt. Dry nuttiness. Resin and pine cones (Don’t ask how I know that one). Slightly fizzy texture. Touch of jelly babies with the sugar licked off.

Finish: Dry. Barley. Peanuts. Bit of charring.

Conclusion:  It’s that Irish beer that isn’t Guinness as it is unfortunately so often know.  They are very different beers despite that association, being completely different sodding styles for one.  They closer they come to sharing elements is that sour dough touch that gives a slightly cloying taste.  Apart from that, different worlds.

The beer is very dry and slightly nutty, with not much wild play to it.  Very stripped down it is dry and refreshing, nutty but no showmanship.

It’s a hard beer to place then. I mean it’s not vile, and not deserving of scorn, but I can’t help but find it a touch dull.  The role of slightly sour refresher does not release it from the need of actually being interesting.  It’s strange but these days I find myself more forgiving of a terrible beer that has ambition that a beer that is merely competent and dull.

I fear I shall have to damn it with faint praise. Nevermind. A very dry beer and follows this goal thoroughly and competently.

Background: One of Michael Jackson’s 500 recommended beers.  There is apparently a weaker version on draft in Ireland itself. Described as having toffee notes it sounds somewhat more interesting that its bottled version reviewed here. Despite oft being known as, that non Guinness beer, it is in fact brewed at Guinness brewery. Go figure.