PintFight: Irish Inspired Ales
March, the month that people order green beer. Ah, green beer. These green brews are not quite Irish enough to be part of the lineup headed into this Irish inspired PintFight. For this classic matchup the fighters come in two styles: the Irish Stout and the Irish Red Ale. Our first fighter, Dragoons Dry Irish Stout, comes out of Moylan's Brewery of California, a pub known for fine Irish Ales. Next up is another American boy trying to show his Irish roots, Upslope Brewing Company's Foreign Extra Stout. Then last, but far from least, we have the two true Irish boys jumping into the ring. Both of these ales have come across that cold Atlantic to join in the fight. From Carlow Brewing Company, these two boys bleed green. The first of these fighters is O'Hara's Irish Red (we got to have at least one red head in the fight), and the second true Irish fighter is O'Hara's Celtic Stout. Alright, let's get to business.
Bout 1: Upslope Foreign Extra Stout vs. O'Hara's Irish Red
The Irish Red takes his stance with his deep bright red color making him stick out from the crowd. The malt is thick in the aroma. There's a nice sweetness on the tip of your nose that makes you think this fighter writes poetry when he isn't in the ring. There’s no hop here, but that the kind of fighter we're looking for. The first swig goes down easy. Sweet, chewy, and malty goodness sits on your tongue. This is a pure Irish Red. The lacey white head covers the pint and reminds you that you’re dealing with a real ale.
The Upslope stout jumps into the ring grinning. He seems to think that his big bold stout flavors and higher ABV gives him the advantage. I am a Foreign Export, he says casually with an upturned lip. He starts dancing around the ring as if he’s trying to convenience you (and himself) that he knows what he's doing. But with one whiff of this stout you know this is going to be a short match. If only he could keep dancing around the ring and pray that the judges give him a draw, but no this is a PintFight and you’re expected to swing. Seriously, what the hell is up with this aroma? Your nose is overtaken by an overwhelming sweetness. You think possibly they have mistakenly replaced your beer with a chocolate and toffee ice cream milkshake. Look, I love chocolate ice cream and I love toffee, but this is a beer for god’s sake! Oh, god, I really dislike this aroma. Okay, okay, he still needs a chance to toss a few punches. By this point I should note that his foamy head has already vanished and he's looking a wee bit thin. Oh, no. Oh, god. This is not good. This is exactly the kind of fight you don't want to see. The Irish Red is laying into him and the round has just started. This isn't pretty. The Stout tries to put in a hit, but the aroma is so awful and his washed out flavor are so weak that he doesn't have anything he can put into this fight. The Stout hits the ground with a thump while the Irish Red lifts his victorious fists into the air.
Bout 2: Dragoons Dry Irish Stout vs. O'Hara's Celtic Stout
Here we go with the second fight of the night. This should be a better matchup. This is two solid stouts going for PintFight glory. Dragoons is a good fighter. He doesn't have much of a punch on the nose, but you can sense his solid malt background. He marches out and touches gloves with O'Hara and we take the first tastes of the fight. Dragoons makes a solid punch. He's jet black and has a nice malt weight behind him. There is a lot of sweetness in his punch but it's smoothed out with a tasty dry finish. He's looking good. He's looking tough.
O'Hara is watching. He's waiting. While his color may not be a dark as other stouts he has one of the thickest, creamiest, most beautiful head of foam I have ever seen on a beer (by the way, this amazing foam lasted from the top all the way down to the bottom of the glass). This beer looks so good it has to be making the Dragoons a bit nervous. O'Hara pulls in a bit closer. His aroma is a little sweet and quite elegant (yes, I said elegant). Holy, shit. The crazy Irish Stout just laid out the Dragoon on one quick punch. This was hardly a fight! If you're another stout out there reading this, fear O'Hara. I repeat, fear O'Hara. This stout is simply outrageously good. Stop in your tracks good. I can't believe people drink Guinness over this. This beer is creamy, super smooth, and simply delicious. It's a beer being a beer. And doing it well.
The two O'Hara's look over at each other and contemplate what it will be to face each other in the next round to determine who leaves this PintFight as champion. Who are we kidding? That little red head hasn't a chance. I am not going to even bother putting those two in a ring. Don't get me wrong, the Irish Red is an excellent beer but this stout is exceptional.
Wait! Who that's crazy Russian asshole in the corner shouting to get in the ring and show this stout a thing or two about being a good beer. Why it's Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing. But isn't this an Irish Ale Fight? How did that Russian Imperial Stout get in here? We don't have any room for him and his non-Irish ways. Old Rasputin isn’t taking any of this and he jumps in the ring regardless of the rules. He's a Russian after all.
Bout 3: O'Hara's Celtic Stout vs. North Coast's Old Rasputan
Now might be a good time to point out a few facts about Old Rasputin and his namesake. If you haven't heard or read some of the stories surrounding the "Mad Monk" known as Rasputin you should take a read if you have the time. For the purposes of this PintFight, I'll point out that Rasputin was murdered and the conspirators who arranged his murder found it quite difficult to bring Rasputin to his end. First they spiked his food with enough poison to bring down five men. No luck. Then they shot him. No luck. Then they shot him a few more times wrapped him in a rug and tossed him to the Neva River. After all that, what killed him? He drowned. Sure there's some controversy about how true some of those statements are, but who cares that's an awesome story.
Now this Old Rasputin is looking to get a piece of this poor Celtic Stout. These guys aren’t even in the same weight class and have no business fighting each other but here they go. O'Hara lines up his fists and studies his new opponent as he enters the ring. Sure he's big. Sure he's got one hell of a punch of malt flavor. O'Hara isn't worried. He can hold out. He can take a few punches from this boozy smelling beast. And so he does. A jab. A hook. Boom. Slam. Pow. O'Hara takes each hit in stride and bides his time. Wait, is this Russian guy drunk? Well with 9% ABV it seems likely. O'Hara looks as stable as when he first stepped into the ring. It's not looking good for Old Rasputin. He's looking erratic as he starts swinging at the thin air and yells gibberish. Now he's even facing the wrong direction. Not good. O'Hara puts down his guard and waits for Rasputin to pass out, which only takes a moment.
And the winner is
O'Hara's Celtic Stout, seriously one of the best fighters I've seen in the ring.