O’Hara’s Irish Red (Carlow Brewing Co.)

Look at this, two date appropriate posts in one day. Hooray for me! Enough self congratulations. Often times my roommate and I will each by beer and trade a couple. In this case I picked up the O’Hara’s Irish Stout and he the O’HARA’S IRISH RED. Since they were four packs we decided we’d go two and two apiece. Now that I’ve had then both I’m unsure which I prefer.

O’Hara’s Irish Red is an Irish Red Ale with a poundable 4.3% ABV.

A full bodied Irish red with a traditional hop flavor to balance a sweet malt finish. 

I wasn’t expecting to see this beer have a nice little cascading head, and yet there it was. The beer itself is a very beautiful dark apple red with amber highlights appearing in the light. Head starts at a rather large two inches that sticks around for a bit. Lacing is thick and stringy, but doesn’t follow the beer down the glass.

The nose is fruity with notes of plum and red apple. Cracker malts are also present, but play second fiddle to the fruits. Not as big a nose as I was expecting.

I’ve often mentioned a flavor pattern or taste profile when describing the way a beer tastes. This usually involves explaining the difference flavors present and where at they appear in each sip. In the case of O’Hara’s Irish Red it went a little something like this: sugary sweetness, then a crisp apple fruitiness before fading into a melted caramel creaminess. This beer literally tasted like a caramel apple. Definitely not what I was expecting. Hints of clove and an herbal/root flavor are present in the backend and balance out the initial sweetness.

Mouthfeel is light to medium (and may actually be thicker than the Irish Stout). Carbonation is present in the body, giving it a fizziness you feel on your tongue. Slight residue is left after each sip.

I must say I expected a more bitter and malty beer than what I drank, but I’m not necessarily complaining. O’Hara’s Irish Red is probably the sweetest, and most flavorful, Red Ale I’ve had. That being said I don’t think it really reflects what the Red Ale style is all about. If you want a good easy drinking beer, this wouldn’t be a bad choice, but if you want a traditional Irish Red you might want to look elsewhere.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

As an IRISH RED ALE: 6 out of 10

FOR FANS OF: Great Lakes CONWAY’S IRISH ALE, Magic Hat HUMBLE PATIENCE, Sam Adams IRISH RED

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