Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Irish Style Ale

Gray’s Brewing Company
Janesville, WI

Style: Irish Ale
ABV: 6.2%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Hello fellow fine beer connoisseurs, Nigel here with a review for ya'll before I depart on my Southwest sabbatical. I wanted to make sure I got a review in before I departed, since I have recently been under the weather and its already been 10 days since my last one- God knows, we can't wait another 2 or 3 weeks! I have to say, I'm looking forward to a vacation in the warm sunshine, watching spring training baseball, playing golf, and drinking many fine Western craft brews, some of which I will try to share with our loyal readers in review form (by the way, many spring training stadiums in Arizona offer a wide selection of craft brews- kick ass!). Please think of Nigel as he sweats his ass off in 90 degree heat while you Midwestern Beer Dorks dig out from that late March snowstorm.

In keeping with the St. Patrick's Day spirit, Sir Nigel the Brave will suck it up and review an Irish Ale. This is not easy for me as an Englishman (see my two reviews for Scottish Ales), but for one day every year... sigh... we're all a little Irish. Of course for the other 364 days of the year, the Irish all bow to the mighty English, but that's a whole other subject altogether. Eddie Glick wrote a nice article recently about St. Patrick's Day (Amateur Night as he dubbed it), and I have to say I mostly agree with him. However, Nigel must admit that he does enjoy braving Amateur Night, indulging in a few pints of Guiness and frolicking with the beginners (though I share his disgust for stupid plastic beads). I find the practice of coloring shit beer green to actually be quite useful, as it finally looks like the vomit spit that it tastes like. It's also nice that they stop putting blue dye in the Chicago River for a day so its natural green color comes through, because all that blue dye they pour in it the rest of the year to make it look like clean water must be very costly. But I digress. Nigel does enjoy being a wee bit crazy on St. Patricks Day, getting stupid drunk and beating women in true Irish fashion. In keeping with that theme, here is my review of Gray's take on the Irish Red Ale.

First of all, after sampling about four different offerings from Gray's, I would have to put it in the mid-level of Midwestern craft brewers. For the most part, their brews are quite tasty, but they have done absolutely nothing to make them one of the elite few who stand above the crowd. The Irish Style Ale is no exception- very good, very drinkable, but nothing too spectacular. The beer pours a nice deep amber color, with a very mild head that quickly settles, leaving a very slight lace. The color will likely remind you of a redheaded Irish stepchild, or perhaps one of the millions of freckles on a pasty white Irishman's skin. The smell is very good- nice and sweet, with light roasted malt and caramel. The taste is good, somewhat unique for an Irish Red. It's on the sweeter end of the scale when it comes to this style, with caramel by far the dominant flavor. Definitely heavy on the malt, but it does have a nice addition of hops to add a slight bitter tinge to the overall sugary sweetness. It's a medium-bodied brew with a mild aftertaste, and is definitely light enough and tasty enough to be a session brew. I would say this is the best offering by Gray's that I've had so far. While there are some other examples of Irish Ales by Midwestern craft brewers out there that top Gray's, it's certainly worth a try this St. Patrick's Day, whether your out enjoying the fun on Amateur Night, or sitting at home getting drunk by yourself in true Irish fashion. Cheers!

Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on March 10, 2007.
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