Noel: Three Floyds Seasonal Bombers Part Deux is a bit tamer than January’s massive Behemoth Barleywine. But for all you Killian’s Irish Red fans out there…prepare for humiliation. Brian Boru is the real deal. One taste of this hop-hearty, roasty, beautiful copper colored ale and you’ll see why even Arthur Guinness has to give some mad props. Really, this beer is an American/Irish Red Ale hybrid; borrowing the roasted toffee and caramel flavors of an Irish Red and the bright citrus hoppiness of an American. Me likey.

The taste is akin to perhaps some well browned toast with grapefruit marmalade (if that even exists); maybe with a splash of coffee. It’s bready and tart, sweet and crisp and smooth. Even at 40 IBUs, the Amarillo hops never really let up. But they aren’t potent, just refreshing and aromatic. They do cut through at any temperature, but as I’m sure you’ve heard many times before, letting a beer warm a bit will really amplifies its malty backbone. And I heartily suggest doing so here.

Perhaps the best part: Brian Boru is uber sessionable … much more so than many of its more powerful Three Floyds Seasonal brethren. And it’s the kind of beer that fits perfectly in the transition period between Winter and Spring. Have at it, lads and lasses. Grade: A-

Tom: TGIF! I just got home from work and needed something to wrap up my work week and celebrate the new weekend. Luckily, I had a bomber from Three Floyds in the fridge. Preferring to wind down and relax after a long week before figuring out dinner plans, I find myself sitting in my recliner, with beer in hand. Today’s selection is Brian Boru Irish Red ale that is quite interesting.

A couple months ago I finished a book by Stephen Mansfield about the legacy of Guinness. At the risk of promoting a competing publishing company, I would highly recommend all beer lovers to read it. It provides a wonderful look into the development of Guinness, Ireland, brewing, religion, and world history. Check it out here. I’ll save you the history lesson and encourage you to buy the book, but Brian Boru’s release is timed perfectly with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner.

The beer itself is classic Three Floyds. Underneath the high hopping this beer is relatively true to style. They used my favorite hop (Amarillo) which provides aromatic citrus notes. The bottle says that pineapple is one of the main flavors and I would agree. Essentially, there it smells very tropical. Irish ales from across the pond usually accentuate the malt side of things and while this beer is American, it does not shy away from these roots. Rising up from between the fruity hops was a rich caramel, mildly roasted (or toasted?) grains, and toffee highlights. In terms of appearance, the color was a clear reddish/copper with a one finger head.

As I kept taking sips an aroma of alcohol became apparent. I found this odd since the ABV was only 5.5%. At that percentage this beer is session worthy. The ingredients listed included Irish oats and honey. They did not shine through enough to pick them out individually, but the oat most likely added to the mouthfeel and the honey served to supplement the sweet malt flavors.

Brian Boru was very drinkable. The aftertaste had hints of toffee and bread notes. This was covered by a fruity, oily hop resin (which Matt alluded to on our hop discussion). Before I knew it the entire 22 oz. bottle was gone before dinner. Grade: B+