As soon as I saw this hit the shelves in early March I knew I had found my St. Patrick’s Day brew. Unfortunately, illness intervened and I instead spent the day recovering from a terrible stomach bug. This review is based on notes I took from the “research” bottle I opened up last week. I’m not quite ready yet to start thinking about drinking beer again just yet, but did want to wish you all a belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Beer Name: The Craic
Brewery: Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA)
Style: Irish Red IPA
Description: Listed on the brewery website as a combination of a toasty Irish Red Ale and a citrusy IPA, the given inspiration behind this was extend the St. Patrick’s Day spirit to last an entire season. Sounds admirable enough to me and at $9.99 six-pack this was relatively easy on the wallet as well.
Appearance: Surprisingly see-through coppery red body topped by a bubbly layer of off-white foam.
Smell: Sweet and toasted malts with a piney/grapefruit bitterness on the backend.
Taste: True to the description, there was a steady presence of toasted malts throughout the brew, though they were most prominent at the very beginning and end of the sip. About mid-sip a citrusy sweetness appeared just ahead of a wave of bitterness highlighted by grapefruit and earthy hops. The hops and toasted malt lingered slightly after finishing the sip.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.
Hype: Despite their history and longevity Harpoon doesn’t get a ton of attention in the local beer scene, at least in what I refer to as the enthusiast community. I personally had some high hopes for this quietly being a standout brew since Harpoon’s sadly retired Red Squared and Celtic Red were two of the beers that opened up my eyes to Red IPAs.
Overall: My final verdict on this is pretty good, with bonus points for price. The interplay of toasted malt and earthy hops wasn’t my ideal profile for the style, but that said I’ll have no problems finishing off the six-pack once I am back up to full strength.