Hey, Guinness and Harp aren’t the only beers made in Ireland. There’s a growing craft movement in this country, too.
O’Hara’s Brewing Company (aka Carlow Brewing, named after the city in which it is based) was founded in 1996 and was one of the original craft operations here; today it’s the largest craft brewery in Ireland. It focuses on traditional recipes and styles that are common to Ireland. We tried them all.
O’Hara’s Irish Stout – This is a delightful example of the style, featuring nuts, coffee, and some winey notes. It’s got a moderate body — lots of fizz keeps things refreshing — though the finish is a bit dusky. All told, it’s a fine little stout — classic, fresh, and easy-drinking thanks to its very low alcohol level. 4.3% abv. B+
O’Hara’s Irish Red – A slightly odd spin on a red ale, burly and nutty, with an absolute ton of malt that sticks to the roof of your mouth. The finish sees coffee ground notes emerging, with hints of dark chocolate and earth. A bit scattered. 4.3% abv. B-
O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale – This “Irish twist” on an IPA finds way more mushroom and earth notes than I was expecting, replacing pine and citrus with wet leather and hemp rope. The bitterness takes on a note of old wine and woody barrel staves as the slightly gamy finish develops. 5.2% abv. B-
each $8 per four-pack / carlowbrewing.com