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Monday, March 17, 2014

Begyle Brewing's Dicey Riley Irish Red Ale

  • Style: Irish Red Ale
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Ease to locate: Seasonal for March & draft only.  It's  Beer Menus page  lists it on tap at The Fountainhead as well as other Chicago bars.  But my favorite place to find it is the Begyle Brewery Tap Room for a sealed growler fill.  The generous samples have absolutely nothing to do with it.
  • Color: Dark amber with golden edging.  Hazy and juicy looking.  This is a corker of a beer.  What a corker you are.
  • Head: One & a half fingers of light ivory head that falls to a rim.  Leaves delicate lacing
  • Aroma: Slight nose, but opens as it warms. Caramel, burnt sugar, bit of earth & floral notes.
  •  Mouthfeel: Moderate body with a but of syrup to coat the tongue.  Still a bit dry from the carbonation
  • Finish: Medium finish with the caramel & floral notes lingering
  • Food Friendly?: Yes. This is the perfect beer to pair with an early Spring meal.  Try it with everything from roasted chicken to hamburgers to mac & cheese.  Or you could drink it alongside, you know, a  corned beef sandwich.  Pair it with a good cheddar cheese, such as Kerry Gold or  or any sort of nutty/creamy cheese like Swiss.

Apple Users link: Learn this and suddenly movies like The Commitments and The Quiet Man make sense. And you'll STILL sound better than Tom Cruise did in Far and Away.
                                                              Nope, not insulting at all to actual people with brogues.  Plus he has a flask so it must be authentic, right?

I was named after a remarkable woman, my maternal grandmother.   When she was sixteen years old, the age when most girls are thinking about how to get the cute guy in Math class  to notice them or how to convince their parents to extend their curfew an extra hour, my grandma journeyed across the pond from County Mayo in Ireland to Boston. On a boat.  By herself.   When I was sixteen I was just overly annoyed that I had to take three buses to get to high school.    Needless to say, I had a lot to learn from her.  One of the more important things that Grandma Down the Hatch taught me (other than how to cheat at Gin Rummy and that a steaming cup of tea could fix just about any problem) was that taking pride in what you do will show in what you make.  While I'm 99% sure that the guys over at Begyle Brewing never met my grandmother (I can' be 100% sure because she did get around a lot when I was a kid) I'm thinking that they may of had grandmothers of their own to pass this knowledge on.  

My Dicey Riley poured a deep amber liquid, glowing with golden highlights around the edges.  It was hazy and juicy, yet as you can see in the photo above, the carbonation was clearly visible rising in the pint glass (um, it's an Irish sort of beer.  What else would you put it in?  Don't get all posh on me and use a snifter.  By the way, ignore the final photo.)  A pale ivory, one and a half fingers worth of  foam rose in the glass.   It fell quickly and rimmed the glass for the rest of the drink, leaving behind a delicate web cluster of lacing.  It really was a lovely looking pint.  The nose was slight with notes of caramel, toasty grains and a bit of floral hops. The taste was much more substantial however.  The flavor of rich caramel mixed with just slightly burnt brown sugar gave the beer a sweet quality while the floral hops evened out the profile nicely.   I felt rather than tasted a wee bit of citrus brightness layered under the other notes. The medium bodied  mouthfeel had a light syrupy coaing, giving the swallow a slick sort of feel.  The abundant carbonation helped to dry the ale slightly, keeping it from going overly slick.  A moderate finish left a lingering note of lightly burnt caramel behind.  

Irish Red Ales are difficult to find.  When you happen upon a good one, it's like finding a real brogue in the middle of a Lucky Charms Fan Club Convention (if such a thing existed.  Does such a thing exist?  That would be awesome, right?)  I would serve this Irish Red Ale with a Homemade Mac & Cheese (because we can do better than a blue box meal, right?)  You could also pair Dicey Riley with an above average Bacon Wrapped Hamburger.  Yes, you read that right.  Bacon wrapped.    I understand that fried chicken is now becoming the new bacon, so you should think about getting your last licks in while you can. I tend not to dress up in green suspenders and shamrock tattoos on St. Patrick's Day because, you know what?  I'm Irish every day, not just once a bloody year.  I could also be very happy to drink Begyle's Dicey Riley's Irish Red Ale more than just around the middle of March.   Then again, I listen to The Pogues in June too.  Grandma Down the Hatch also taught me that awesomeness doesn't have a season.