Over recent months, I’ve had to travel to Cork for meetings. Unfortunately on each occasion, time didn’t allow me to catch up with the ever expanding beer scene in the city. Cork firmly holds the title of Ireland’s capital of craft beer (although not all breweries are located within the city boundary). What’s worse was that my last two trips were immediately following the Franciscan Well beer festivals.
The train service is fantastic these days. Gone are the long slogs up and down of old. So with that in mind, there’s a beer to sum up my trips over the past few months and that is Rocket Ship. This is a relatively new offering in bottles (it was first debuted at last summer’s Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival) and it was a beer that finished off Easter for me.
Rocket Ship is a double IPA (6.5% abv) brewed by Black’s of Kinsale. It pours a vibrant polished copper with a thick head. Lots of fresh fruit on the nose, including pineapple, passion fruit and a dose of grapefruit. The aroma was a melange of fruit a bit like the hit one would get in patisserie between fruit pastries, pavlovas and other fancy fruit tarts. There’s a hint of sweetness on the nose but that’s where it ends. The beer drinks dry, bitter and a there’s a tad spiciness to the taste, as if it was made with a pinch of rye. Grapefruit notes dominate. There are hints of slightly dried fruit but not sticky or sweet. There’s a good bit of bitterness in the finish but what would you expect from the style?
The brewery has certainly made an impact on the Irish beer scene and it hasn’t quite yet celebrated its second anniversary. I have seen first hand at beer tastings, people who weren’t keen on hop-forward beers certainly changing their views based on the Kinsale Pale Ale (KPA) and this has continued with the Black IPA. I do think people have underestimated the contribution KPA has made in terms of winning over new fans in a manner similar to Sierra Nevada’s iconic pale ale did for many a beer enthusiast.
It’s hard not to like Sam and Maudeline Black and their determination to live the dream attracted a fair bit of support through a crowd funding campaign. They’ve just launched another campaign to fund the brewery’s expansion. Hopefully this will see another double IPA, High Viz being released. It tasted fantastic at the recent Alltech Brews and Food fair. Also, cans of KPA can be expected to become a hot seller over the the coming months. With the weather improving (well this week at least), I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with the brewery’s Session Pale Ale.