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It's been a while since the last round-up. Let's get some of the autumn backlog cleared before we go properly into winter.

Something light to kick us off, a DDH Session IPA of 3.8% ABV from Wicklow Brewery, called Coola Boola, brewed with Amarillo and Citra hops. The latter means that even though it's soft-textured and fruity, there's a satisfying bitter bite too: a twist or two of lime rind. That sits in counterpoint to ripe peach and a little tropicality -- the blurb suggests lychee and mango and I won't argue. There's an impressive amount going on here, given the strength, and the mouthfeel is also uncompromised. That Citra bitterness does build to become a little harsh by the end, which might be avoided with a higher gravity. It's still nicely done overall, though.

Along similar lines is Trouble's new New England pale ale, Didi. This one is a slightly sickly yellow colour but the aroma is lovely: spiky grapefruit citrus and mandarin pith. A colourful mix of sweet and bitterness is promised, thanks to Simcoe and Talus hops. Despite the soft texture and fruity vibes it does taste properly bitter. Mostly that's the hops, and I'm guessing the Simcoe in particular, but there's a gritty yeast bite too, providing its own brand of sharpness, along with a dry, alkaline, dry-wall effect. I get a touch of caraway as well, as it warms. Those aspects aren't too loud, thankfully, and there's plenty of citrus fruit flavour to cover them. Overall, this is a bright and jolly pale ale, one which avoids the common traps of the New England genres. As such it might get a few clucks on stylistic grounds, but not from me: I like the cut of Didi's jib.

Her big sister arrived, paradoxically, a few weeks later. Gogo is the full 6.1% ABV, despite also being badged as a pale ale, and is a deeper shade of opaque yellow with lots of loose foam on top. It goes for a much juicier angle than Didi, and has the thickness to carry it, but preserves a pleasing edge of bitterness again, thanks to the judicious use of cloudy-beer saviour Citra. The other hop is Galaxy, and I'm guessing that's where the mandarin aroma comes from, as well as the peachy finish. Watch out for the pinch of garlic as it warms: despite everything going on, it's not really one to sit over. Nevertheless, it's another good effort, again far from your run-of-the-mill New England IPA. Best of both worlds.

Dundalk Bay has jumped on the no- and low-alcohol bandwagon with a new alcohol-free beer (which I haven't tried) and this Brewmaster Micro IPA at just 1.8% ABV. It's a pale yellow and hazy, presenting like a witbier. Pineapple is mentioned in the description and pineapples adorn the label, so there's much to expect. The aroma is more citrus than pineapple: lemon and tangerine. It's understandably thin but the promised tropicality does materialise: cantaloupe and pineapple juice, backed by more of that bitter lemon I found in the aroma, plus some oily resins. The finish is sharp and tangy, with a bite that's almost saison-like. For a low-strength beer it's very well done, making good use of the big hops without pushing things too far.

The first of today's cherry beers follows directly from Friday's post covering Kinnegar's Brewers At Play numbers 8 through 10. Brewers At Play 11 is a Sour Cherry Sour and pours fizzily, a fun bright pinkish-purple. Its aroma is quite jammy; tart, and more raspberry than cherry to my nose. As expected from that there's a major sweet theme in the flavour, failing to justify the use of "sour" twice in its name. The sourness feels a little tacked on, or rather: this was a basic kettle sour that's had cherry concentrate bunged into it. There's no integration of the beer and fruit sides. Still, it's only 4.8% ABV so I doubt it's intended as a serious exploration of the nuances possible. You can drink it, it's cleanly flavoured and enjoyable, and that should be enough. Barrel age it with some Brettanomyces, however, and it might turn a few heads.

You don't get many beers created to honour Henry Grattan (1746 - 1820) but I guess Dublin City Brewing felt they had to since they've co-opted the seahorses from his bridge for their logo. Patriot is the third release in their core range and it's not very pale ale at all, pouring a crystalline ruby-garnet. The aroma is a fun mix of toffee and citrus, making me think immediately of American amber ale -- a style in desperate need of a comeback. There's a little extra burnt roast as well. Alas the flavour doesn't quite live up to that promise. It unbalances too much towards the bitter side, tasting acrid and a little pukey. The sweetness is still there but it fights the hard bittering hops instead of softening them. There's a tannic quality that's very brown-bitter, but it's too intense to be enjoyable. I felt harangued by this one, so perhaps the Grattan tribute is apt. If you miss travelling to England for a tongue-lashing from an astringent ale, this might float your boat. Beyond the smell it's too harsh for me though.

It's taken me an age to track down the latest McGargle: Sammy's Citra Extra Pale but I finally nabbed a four-pack in SuperValu. This is a four-packable 4.5% ABV and a striking white-gold colour. From the all-caps Citra I thought the aroma would be sharp but it smells heavy and resinous, like a darker beer, silly as that sounds. It is lightly textured, despite the initial impression -- clean, fizzy and easy drinking. This is where I'd like to be telling you about the cool craft complexities this supermarket pale ale adds on as a bonus, but... it's not that kind of experience. The flavour is quite a plain mix of lemonade and white onions. Two kinds of tang, but not really complexity and lacking the punch that even basic beers from, say, BrewDog show these days. There's nothing wrong with it; I think I just expected more from a beer where the hop is part of the name, especially when that hop is good-time Citra.

Larkin's has been adding cold-brew coffee to rye to IPA again, having previously done so about two years ago. This time they've created a Rwandan Coffee Rye IPA, with Catalyst Coffee in Bray. I liked this more than the last one. It does a great job of drawing out the coffee's fruity side: cherry, raspberry and apricot in particular. The hop bitterness isn't left behind and there's a dusting of citrus zest as well as some of the grassy bitterness that comes with rye. It's easy drinking for 7% ABV, partly down to that juicy fruit aspect, but also a pleasingly cask-like level of carbonation and a dry tannic finish. Practice makes perfect, I guess: sticking to their guns on the coffee/rye/hops thing has yielded dividends.

Metal Beer Solid was a YellowBelly double IPA from a while back which I missed. Mercifully, the brewery has brought it back -- much appreciated! -- so I was able to catch up. It's a strange colour: dark and opaque, looking quite dreggy in the glass. The aroma offers enticing vapours of tinned peaches in syrup. I get a bit of a yeasty buzz from the flavour, but it's comforting New England fuzz behind that: fruit salad, a little vanilla and a soft, comforting texture. 9% ABV has given it a chewable thickness, but it's not hot, cloying or difficult. This is an end of session sipper, weighty and satisfying but not so busy as to be difficult: the balanced, accessible sort of high-strength hazy DIPA.

Bridging the gap between the IPAs and the porters and stouts is a black IPA -- hooray! This is the third in the Oregon Grown series by Galway Bay and uses Strata and Meridian hops, added every ten minutes in the boil. It finishes up a substantial 7% ABV and is a very dark brown colour. The expected heavy dank is there, as strong black IPA does uniquely well, but there's a lighter fruit side too: white grape in particular. The flavour leads with a big bitterness, partly citrus chunks and partly smoking tar on a newly-surfaced road. It's gorgeous. The texture is suitably weighty, helping propel the flavours and letting them sit long on the palate. And that juicy nuance is right there in the middle: grape, gooseberry and lychee. This has all the hallmarks of a stone-cold classic black IPA, with a couple of bonus features for good measures. A worthy descendent of the mighty Solemn Black.

Sauntering across to the Galway Hooker brewery, here's the next in their Seafarer series, Cherry: a stout with "freshly pressed cherry juice" and cocoa. It looked pleasingly casky in the glass, a tall head of loose tan-coloured bubbles like it had just been pumped from the barrel by an oak-hearted yeoman. That had me fearing flatness, but no, there's all the sparkle that's required to enliven a 5.5% ABV dark beer. And the classic characteristics are central to the flavour: a burnt-toast dryness being the most striking feature. The novelty flavours are subtle but present, and perfectly complementary. I probably wouldn't have guessed real cocoa was used: the chocolate taste is entirely in keeping with a flavoursome and balanced stout. The cherry arrives in the finish; jammy and sweet, but brief. This is stout first, fruit beer afterwards. It left me wondering what it would taste like without the novelty ingredients, though if you are going to have them, do it like this, without interfering too much in the base.

We move deeper into the dark section with a new one from Beoir Chorca Duibhne: The Night Porter. It's a deliberate throwback recipe, based on heritage Hunter barley, and a substantial 5.1% ABV. It looked pleasingly old-fashioned too, just missing the smiling face on the off-white head to pass for an antique Guinness ad. The rich chocolate aroma as it poured left me gasping to dive in. And then... hmm... It's sour. I wasn't expecting that; it's not mentioned on the label, and I wouldn't be at all sure it's deliberate. While it's only a light tang, it's enough to cover up whatever chocolate and roasted notes might otherwise have been on offer -- a faint dark-toast effect in the very finish is the only bit of proper porter I got. I tried considering it as a vat-soured porter, or as something in the Flanders red line but couldn't get past feeling gypped by not getting the porter it smells like. I finished the glass, but with disappointment.

To cheer me up after that, Locavore 2020, the second year in a row that Wicklow Wolf has used their own hops to create a stout, this year's a smidge stronger than 2019's at 5.6% ABV. Well, we've all had a rough year. Plain and daycent is the long and the short of it. There's a lovely creamy texture, though it's lighter than even the relatively modest strength suggests. The flavour, perhaps unsurprisingly, revolves around the hops: lemony and zesty, but in a way entirely suited to an old-world stout and not trying to pretend to be a black IPA. An understated dry roast arrives in the finish. Anyone looking for uber-craft bells and whistles will leave unsatisfied, but I definitely liked the classic stylings here. Stout as stout should be.

And finally for today, White Hag popped out another in their Dark Druid pastry stout series, this one a Chocolate Orange version. The orange is very prominent here, manifesting in the aroma first of all: a concentrated orange oil, just like you'd get from an actual Terry's Chocolate Orange. In the flavour it rides roughshod over everything else, resulting in a beer that tastes more like orangeade than stout. I'm not sure I approve. You get a square of dark chocolate in the finish which goes some way towards balancing it. It's annoyingly thin as well -- a pastry stout should be heavy and smooth; this one is much lighter than even 5.5% ABV implies, and with an overdone fizziness that doesn't suit its dessertish purposes. This isn't my sort of thing at all. I'm giving it up as a bad job and anticipating the next one: Mexican Hot Chocolate.

And with that, I note that the new seasonal releases are coming fast and, literally, thick. I'll do my best to keep up.