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Beer Review: Meabh Rua Irish Bog Ale

As the St. Patrick’s Day Irish themed beer tasting week comes to a close, I’ve truly saved one of the best Irish red ales for last.  Brought to you by The White Hag Irish Brewing Company comes Meabh Rua Irish Bog Ale.  I picked this beer up at the last second at Premiere Gourmet yesterday, and I’m glad I did.  This beer is by far one of the most interesting Irish reds I have tasted.

White Hag Irish Brewing Company is located in Ballymote near Ireland’s northwest coast, in Sligo County.  Ballymote is a very small town, and in addition to a brewery, boasts the famous Ballymote castle.  On August 22, 2006, New York City Michael Bloomberg unveiled Ireland’s National Monument to the Fighting 69th infantry regiment of New York City.

The base of the monument contains a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.  Michael Corcoran was brigadier general of the Fighting 69th during the  First Battle of Bull Run.  The reason why this monument was established in Ballymote is that Michael Corcoran was born in Carrowkeel, very close to Ballymote.

From the front bottle text:

Meabh (pronounced Mave) was the infamous queen of Connaught, one of the four Irish provinces.  She was a legendary leader, and lover of men; a witch and a wonder.  Her ability to woe was often compared to a spell or a potion.  It’s quite apt then that her name in old Irish literally translates as “Ale”.  When enjoying a glass of Meabh Rua, the smooth, sweet, and smoky character will be reminiscent of the long red locks that cascaded down her shoulders and back.  But be careful, you might just fall under her influence, and you won’t be the first.”

Here is a picture of my Meabh Rua:


The White Hag Brewing Company: Meabh Rua
ABV: 8.2%
Style: Irish Red Ale

Meabh Rua pours a very dark red to brown color and struggles to maintain a consistent head (too cold when poured perhaps?).  The aroma is sweet smoky malt.  Meabh Rua tastes like a traditional red ale combined with a smoky peat undertone.  Sweet roasted malt takes the forefront with tastes of caramel, bread, and dark fruit flavors following close behind.  There is very little to no detection of pronounced hops.  And at 8.2%, Meabh Rua exhibits surprisingly little alcohol detection on the palate.  The mouthfeel is medium and a bit sticky and the carbonation level is low.  Overall Meabh Rua is the most intriguing Irish red ale I have tasted all week, combining both a traditional red ale with smoky depth.

Meabh Rua is a most authentic tribute to the historic Irish red ale style.  The beer is steeped not only with slightly smoky malts, but also history and tradition.  Meabh Rua contains all elements of a traditional Irish red ale but adds just enough smoky character to set this beer apart from the competitors and push the style.  If you are a fan of Irish red ales, do give Meabh Rua a try, and allow the infamous queen to cast a spell on you.

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