'Tastier than Sierra Nevada' - Galway Hooker makes an impression Stateside
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'Tastier than Sierra Nevada' - Galway Hooker makes an impression Stateside

This article was written by American Beer Writer George Lenker aka Beernut and originally appeared in 'The Republican' newspaper, Massachusetts. Keep an eye out for Business & Finance Magazine which will shortly feature his article on Irish Craft Brewing. You can view other articles by George at www.thebeernut.net [site now defunct - Ed, Feb. '08].

Cousins' new brew a real find in Ireland
Thursday, January 25, 2007

If you ever get a chance to get to Galway City in Ireland, you simply have to enjoy a few Hookers while you're in town.

The Hookers to which I'm referring are beers, of course. What did you think I meant?

I was lucky enough to sample a few pints of this brew while doing research for a craft beer article I'm writing for Business & Finance, Ireland's leading business magazine. So I felt I just had to share this discovery with my readers here who may travel to Ireland soon. Anyone who likes a good IPA will certainly want to have a Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale.

Galway Hooker is the most recent entry in Ireland's small but growing craft beer industry. But unlike many other small brewers in the country, cousins Aidan Murphy and Ronan Brennan decided to eschew making a stout (which is almost the national drink) and create a full-flavored, hoppy IPA in the tradition of such American beers as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Not only did they succeed, but in my opinion, they even exceeded their goal: This beer is even tastier than Sierra Nevada (and I really like Sierra Nevada).

The beer pours an enticing orange-amber hue, crowned with a creamy white head. The beer was served in a large, Weizen-style glass (which was chosen by fans of the beer on its Web site) that features the brand's beautiful logo.

The first sips of this brew really impressed me, as did the last ones. The beer is far more than a Sierra Nevada clone. Although some of the basic notes of that classic American ale are evident, Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale is actually closer to another West Coast favorite of mine, Mendocino Brewing Co.'s Red Tail Ale. Galway Hooker features that same roasted malt undertone that Red Tail features, blending perfectly with the sublime hop profile. The balanced counterpunch between the earthy maltiness and tangy hop bitterness left my palate wanting more - and more, and more.

Fortunately, Galway Hooker IPA comes in at a very reasonable 4.4 percent alcohol by volume, which makes it a great session beer. The beer's flavor full, but not so overpowering that you can't taste it after having a few (which happens with some over-the-top hoppy American brews).

The beer leaves a fitting Irish lacing on the glass - something to admire as you let the slightly bitter but delicious aftertaste do a little step-dance across your tongue.

My only complaint, of course, is that you can only get this tremendous brew in eight pubs, all in Ireland (and all in one part of Galway City, for that matter). As an upstart business in a tough industry, Murphy and Brennan are starting small, but I'm one person that hopes they achieve enough success to export bottles someday. I don't mind paying a steep price for great beer, but it's a bit much to have to fly across the Atlantic to get one.

But a man's got to do what a man's got to do, and I'm definitely hooked on Galway Hooker.

Slainte!

George Lenker can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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