Friday, October 16, 2009

Review: Wexford Irish Style Creme Ale


File this one under:  
Beer!

First let's bring it back to St. Patrick's Day 2009... when my buddy Jeremy Spikes put together a fantastic float for the parade. The theme was 'pub crawl' and one of the pub signs we used to decorate our float was from Durty Nelly's pub. Fast forward a couple of months to a trip to Ireland in M
ay 2009... where we ended up booking a couple of nights at the Bunratty Castle hotel, a beautiful hotel located a short walk from Bunratty Castle itself. And at the foot of Bunratty Castle was the infamous Durty Nelly's. One of my goals as I travel around the world and the country is to always seek out different beers, and it just so happened that they had one I had never tried before, Wexford Creme Ale. Now, by the time we hit up that particular pub it had been a long evening of drinking, so my memories of the beer might be a little hazy, but I remember a lighter, very refreshing alternative to the usual Guinness and Smithwick's you can find throughout Irish pubs.

Fast forward again to October 2009, when a trip to Spec's with my buddy James Lawson produced another surprise, 4-packs of the Wexford on the shelf. Since the memories were fond for this beer, it was time to buy a pack, and now it's time to get on with the review.

There's a nice hissing when the 440 ml (that's about 14.9 oz. for us) can pops open and the widget (the same as in a can of G
uinness!) activates, releasing thousands and thousands of bubbles. The instructions on the can say to pour down the side, so I did... into an imperial pint glass courtesy of Ivar's. At first it's nothing but bubbles giving the pour a creamy tan color with the bubbles rising and beer level rising with them. The beer itself is a cloudy amber color, not dark at all like a stout, hence the 'creme ale' label. A thick white creamy head developed on the beer and just won't go away!

The beer has a smell of a little bit of malt with some definite butterscotch, and a little bit of hops on the end, nothing too strong though. There is a hint of caramel on the first taste along with a slight bitterness from the light hops. The butterscotch present in the smell is still there on the back end of each sip. Probably the most noticeable thing is the way the beer feels like a big thick beer despite being rather light. The nitro-pressure gives it a much more full body than a light lager, but still not overly carbonated.

As far as 'drinkability' goes, Bud Light doesn't have shit on this stuff. There's nothing overly offensive or bold about it, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some people don't like overly hoppy, or stout, or chocolatey, or fruity beers, and this is none of those. It's a nice balance of malt and light hops that everyone should be able to enjoy. I could definitely kill a few of these in a sitting.

Despite mediocre marks on beeradvocate, I must say I really enjoyed this beer. I'm glad my memory didn't entirely let me down!

Taste: B
Value: B
Avail.: C-

Three fun facts: the beer is called 'Irish Style' because despite being molded after and named after a county in Ireland, it's actually brewed in the UK; Wexford checks in a 5.0% abv, which puts it in the mid-range of beers; County Wexford is in the Leinster province of Ireland.