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O’Hara’s Irish Stout

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I’ve long been a fan of O’Hara’s Irish Red, but it wasn’t until in the last year ago that I tried O’Hara’s Irish Stout, which is actually the flagship of Carlow Brewing Co. in County Carlow, Ireland. To that point, I had normally defaulted to Guinness when in an Irish pub. But variety being the spice of life, a decided one day to try this version of an Irish stout. I may be crucified for this by purists, but it’s better than Guinness.

I know, I know.

But this smooth beer brings all the elements of Guinness – creamy mouthfeel, roast coffee flavor – but with more robustness all around. I looked into it, and according to the brewery’s website, it’s an addition of Fuggle hops (I love that name), giving it a “dry, espresso-like finish.” Who knew? The site even seems to take a shot at Guinness stout, which many believe has lost some of its flavor over years of mass-production and contract brewing, saying,
O’Hara’s “brings one back to how Irish stouts used to taste.”

And it’s only 4.3 percent alcohol by volume, which seems improbable given the flavor. I’m betting the American version is higher. Regardless, I’m sold. I still love Guinness, but given the choice, I’m going with O’Hara’s.