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Notes on beers in the style

Irish Red Ale
Smithwick’s

Smithwick’s

12 oz bottle as part of a six pack. Body is a rather impressive brown/red with an excellent creamy head and some superb lace. Surprisingly good. Nose yields a big malty presence plus a touch of hops - not much, rather a "kiss". The tastes are somewhat uninteresting an neutral, but the back end has a touch of bitterness. The bitterness is fleeting but surprisingly strong. Quite a dry beer (despite the malt emphasis), and this is manifested in the finish which drops quite a profound bitterness...

Smithwick’s

Big Red Ale

12 oz single, Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Very good color on the pour with a lovely, dark red/mahogany color and a nice head that has a toffee colored hue. Not much retention or lace. Carbonation produces some streaming bubbles. Nose has a bunch of quite seriously sweet malts. The tastes highlight and showcase the malts even more than the nose would suggest. The beer is really quite sweet and lacks much of a typical dry finish that is often associated with the style. As the beer warms and as I...

Smithwick’s

Porterhouse Red

11.2 oz (330 mL) single from Hop City at $3.99. Pull tab cap - not very often you see those. Great color and clarity on the pour, but let down by a disappointing head with poor retention and lace. The color is VERY red, and my guess is that this really is an Irish Red rather than an English Pale (as currently categorized in the BA database)...anyway... Nose has some simple malts and the tastes are also very malt based with a dry finish. Hop profile is unsurprisingly low and the beer drink...

Smithwick’s

Engine No. 5

12 oz stubbie. $1.50 from Green's, Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA, USA. On their singles shelf; Adam happened to say he was "unimpresed" with this. We'll see. "Brewed in the English Style", whatever THAT means! In general, Pennichuck's entry to the Atlanta market has been really quite underwhelming. I'm a huge fan of simple beers, but simple is NOT an excuse for a lucklustre quality. WOW - this is an EXTRAORDINARY color and pour. A dark, dark, dark brown that is approaching black and reminds me...

Smithwick’s

McSorley’s Irish Pale Ale

12 oz single from Total Wine, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pour is a darkish amber (copper) which slightly contradicts the "Pale Ale" moniker on the label. Head forms quickly, but disappers quickly too. Minimal lace. Nose and tastes are surprisingly sweet, and with the color of the beer I begin to wonder what kind of grain bill we have in this beer. Bready sugar too. This doesn't do well as an Irish Red, and it's not really got much Pale Ale character at all. My bet is that the words "Pale Ale" have been...

Smithwick’s

Michelob Irish Red

12 oz single from somewhere in Atlanta, GA, USA. 08209 VA 94 (or maybe UA 94) on the neck label. Pour is a very red color and produces a pleasing, caramel colored head. However, you just KNOW that the retention is going to be poor and that the lace will be lacking - that's what happens! Some cloudiness to the body. Nose and tastes seem excessively malty for the style. When I pick up a Red Ale of any description, I'm looking for a really dry finish rather than a sweet malty one. Strangely the...

Smithwick’s

Brian Boru Old Irish Red

A little concerned about FFF brewing a subtle Irish Red, but I was ultimately happier than I thought I might be. Nice red color that produces a decent head but the lacing and retention are a little weaker than one would expect from the style and the initial pour. Aroma is strong and yileds a fresher hop note than I was expecting - really quite floral and fresh. "Green" comes to mind. The initial waft soon subsides to yield a slightly more "normal" effect. Tastes are pretty authentic for the...

Smithwick’s

Irish Red Ale

On tap, Tyler's Taproom, Durham, NC, USA. $4.25 for the 16oz "pint". Classic look, with a deep garnet hue and a good half-inch of solid, foamy head. Head disappeared quite quickly, some lace. Very solid offering from a reliable brewer that consistently hits the spot in terms of styles and drinkable beers. Nice hop/malt balance, but the most important attribute for a Red is the finish. This hit the spot with a characteristic, dry note and left a subtle and pleasing aftertaste. Lots of (partial)...

Smithwick’s

Samuel Adams Irish Red

Six-pack, Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. 12oz bottle. Attractive bottle and label. Classy. Well carbonated pour with a big, creamy attractive head. Leaves some pretty good lace. Nice clarity on the brown/red body. Some organic, grassy notes of hops in the nose. Caramel malt, simple drying finish make up a classic example of the style. Tasty and toasty. Very nice dry finish is apparent which is a great sign for the style. Sharp, satisfying bitterness. This is very tasty. Very...

Smithwick’s

Murphy’s Irish Red Beer

Single 12oz from Total Wine in Greensboro, NC, USA. WTF is this?? Has the color of a macro lager, tastes like a sweet version of the same thing, and in addition it lacks any appearance or characteristic of an Irish Red. Most importantly no dry finish. Soap like aroma without that soap turning into hop bitterness as it usually does. I don't understand this at all. It's almost as if the wrong beer had been put into the (attractive) bottle. It pours with a decent head and some lace, and doesn't...

Smithwick’s

Trinity Red Ale

Wasn't expecting much, as I picked this up as a split sixer from Trader Joe's for $1.09, but was actually quite surprised. Great looking pour. Fantastic deep brown color and a very nice, large and substantial head that leaves some nice lacing. Aroma and tastes are halfway between an amber/red and brown ale. Some dry character as one would expect from an amber/red, but also some nice malt which gives it a little more brown ale character. The smell and the tastes are definitely not huge (it's...

Smithwick’s

Thomas Hooker Irish Style Red Ale

On-tap, Taco Mac, East-West Connector, Austell, GA, USA $4.75. Nice looking pour, pretty deep brown color with a decent head and good lacing. Plenty of malty caramel notes, a dryish finish and some final bitterness. Smooth. The dry character makes this a good Red Ale, but the overall character is more reminiscent of a solid Brown Ale. Pleased I tried it. Surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. I wasn't expecting much but got a pretty good sessionable and drinkable brew. Solid effort, nothing...

Smithwick’s

Harpoon Celtic Ale

12 oz single from Jax, Sandy Springs, Roswell Rd, Atlanta, GA, USA. $1.39. Jax in SS is a long, long way from the best store in the ATL but the ability to split sixers keeps bringing me back in when I am passing. Copper colored pour with great clarity. Small head and some lace. Fades quickly. Not much aroma to speak of. Quite a dry beer with a decent hop bite. Good malts back it up, quite tasty. A pretty dry and bitter aftertaste - surprising. A little thin for my tastes but this is largely in...

Smithwick’s

River Falls Red Ale

Single 12 oz bottle. Another below average offering from Thomas Creek. I've had a number of their beers now, and I'm about to give up - they're simply not very good. Mid-amber pour with a short-lived head and very little sustainable lacing. Slightly acrid smell with some apple (ethanal) notes. Possible infection? Tastes reflect the aroma. Mild apples, slight acid and weak. Weak is a good word for the whole experience. Very light mouthfeel (a constant problem with Thomas Creek) which really...

Smithwick’s Ale

Smithwick’s Ale

Pictured 12/14/23 Original notes 05/25/04 Decent Irish bitter that is a nice change from the norm. Good dark red color with a creamy head that last well into the pint. The red ales are a little dry for my taste but it does measn that the beer has to be well balanced to still be enjoyable, Smithwicks manages to pull it off.