ST. PAT’S POURS: Buckeye Lake Irish Red Ale

Written by on March 17, 2014 in Beer, Beer from Here - No comments

BuckeyeLakeRedSt. Patrick’s Day! On a day inundated with cheap liquor and even cheaper pitchers of green-dyed domestic abominations, one may find it challenging to find a craft beer to fit the Irish theme. Of course there is always the trusty combination of Guinness and Harp, but perhaps you’re wanting to celebrate local this year. Well fear not, for I have a tasty choice of imbibement for today’s festivities. It’s Buckeye Lake’s Irish Red Ale – a crisp and malty brew perfect for today because you can knock quite a few of them back before you feel the need to hold onto the grass to keep from falling off the Earth. So grab your Irish flag, your biggest shamrock-laden top hat, and paint your face green – it’s time to find out what’s the craic with Buckeye Lake’s Irish Red.

We begin today’s brew odyssey with mild aroma of rich malts. The smells rising up from the glass are subdued and mysterious, offering small glimpses of wet bread and toastiness. Hints of brown sugar sweetness settle in at the sides, strengthening notes of caramel malts. A deep breath reveals an earthy, rustic vibe – featuring autumn leaves and savory undertones of roastiness. After a few moments, the initial haze begins to lift, showcasing moments of rich grape-nut malts and hints of apples, both starting subdued but growing in strength with each breath. Raisins arrive next, settling in on top of the big malt base and adding a touch of dark fruit sweetness to the mix. Finally, an ultra-faint oaken vibe shows up at the last moment to bring subtle aromas of charred whiskey barrel and vanilla. Each scent is low-key, and many are fleeting beneath the nose, which makes finding these notes a treasure hunt of sorts. It’ll take patience, but spending an extra few minutes to experience the growth of aromas will be well worth it – especially if you let the beer warm a bit in between breaths.

Once you’ve got your aroma notes locked down, it’s time to get your party started. Begin with a toast if you’re with friends (if not, go ahead and toast your computer – I’ll toast you back). The first thing you’ll notice about this beer is that it won’t be nearly as potent as what you may have been expecting. No, there’s nothing wrong. Two things are happening here. One – it’s an Irish Red, which typically avoids getting all up in your face and instead graces you with a supreme balance of flavors; two – I urge patience my young brew-grasshoppers. Buckeye Lake’s Irish Red is a subtle beauty – you’ll need to get to know her a bit before she reveals her secrets. Having said all that, everyone’s a little bit easier on St. Patrick’s day, so you need not wait too long for such secrets. Malts will arrive first, bringing flavors of brown bread and toasty crust, as well as hints of brown sugar around the edges. Immediately following, a bitter tang will make its way to the back of your tongue and chill out for a bit – compliments of a light hop profile. It’s a generalized bitterness that works to keep the overall mouthfeel light and contained to just the surface of the tongue, rather than enveloping the entire mouth. As this is occurring, the malts will begin to shift into tea-like vibe – slightly earthy and herbal with that distinct “tea” flavor. The bready malts continue to maintain the base, ensuring the tea notes don’t steal the show until the end. Next up, subtle glimmers of apples and raisins make an appearance across the palate, bringing a touch of additional sweetness. At this point, the mild bitterness and the tea vibes will be lifting the flavors off of your tongue, finishing up each drink with a dry, almost crisp end. Despite the malty richness, this brew avoids sticking around too long and instead focuses on its tasty entrance rather than powerful longevity. To me, that works just fine. You should be drinking amongst friends today – fill the gaps between drinks with stories, laughter, and the knowledge that each new drink will be just as tasty as the last one.

Buckeye Lake’s Irish Red Ale is a quick and mischievous brew of fleeting flavors and subtle savoriness. An opening surge of rich malts diminishes quickly into a balanced base of mellow bread, while a touch of bitterness and dry tea flavors ensure that each taste leaves as fast as it arrives. Worry not my friends, for in that time you’ll be treated to a delightfully balanced treat of toasted bread crust, subtle raisins, hints of roast and even a faint shimmer of hoppy tang. No individual flavor has the opportunity to stand above the others, and its dry finish will clear the tongue of any lingering notes, allowing for a fresh start each time. And at 5.9% ABV, you needn’t feel worried about getting too whacked (or at least not before the rest of your friends do). Whether you celebrate today with a glass of Buckeye Lake’s Irish Red, a pint of Guinness, or even a glass of water, be sure to keep your friends close, have fun, be safe, and keep on chasing that leprechaun (I’ve heard they like to chill out in trees). To everyone – May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live!

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About the Author

Paul is an English and creative writing graduate and homebrewer who loves beer, writing, writing about beer, and drinking while writing. When he's not browsing beer sections for hours on end, (or coming up with his own brew recipes) he can be found over at, inventing words and somehow managing to make sense.

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