16 Dec Rascals Beers of the Year 2020
Well, that was 2020! And what an absolute pile of fetid muck it was. What a burning dumpster of a year. What a steaming heap of… okay, let’s just move on. There were some positive things about 2020: we still managed to brew some mighty good beers! Back in February we launched two beers, one of which was the return of our beloved Milkshake Stout. This 5.6% brew is a rich, creamy stout, bursting with coconut, sweet vanilla and dark chocolate flavour. It’s a tremendous beer. We also launched Judge Juicy: a 6% NE IPA packed with Cascade, Amarillo, El Dorado and Mosaic hops. Hazy and juicy, full of flavour, it was a wonderful creation and allowed us to use some awful legal puns in social media posts.
Good times. Then March came along and… well, things went a bit askew. But not in the brewery! Early May saw another dual release. We brought back the hugely popular Froots & the Maytals passion fruit and mango milkshake pale ale, but in a 440ml can for the first time. What a humdinger. It coincided with that freakishly good weather we had in April and May, which certainly made life a little more laid back and easier. We also canned Relax the Cacks for the first time, also in a 440ml can. If you’ve ever enjoyed a trip to Wigwam, The Square Ball, The Back Page, The Bernard Shaw, Jam Park, or MVP, then it’s quite likely you’ve also enjoyed a pint of Relax the Cacks. It’s a session IPA created by Rossa O’Neill at Brewtonic and brewed here at Rascals HQ Inchicore.
Seriously good beers. Sadly we lost the legend that is Toots Hibbert in September; check out the playlist we made for Froots & the Maytals and you can enjoy some of his great tunes. In June we released Hazy Days juicy session pale ale. We took our Happy Days session pale ale, added a lot more wheat and oats, changed our dry hopping technique and used London Fog yeast, all to give you a hazier, juicier, sessionable pale ale. A couple of weeks later we followed up with the re-release of Strawberry Vanilla Shake: a beer that needs no introduction to Rascals fans. Two finer summer beers you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.
In August we treated you to Tokyo Calling. This is a sessionable yuzu and lychee IPA. Yuzu is a citrus fruit from central Asia, related to the mandarin, that could be described as a cross between an orange and a lime in terms of taste. The lychee is slightly less bitter and has a red skin under which you’ll find a sweet fleshy fruit. Originating from south east Asia, it is widely used in oriental cooking. These two fruits add a wonderful tropical citrus flavour, more so than your bog standard orange or lemon. (No offence to oranges and lemons.) We also made Tokyo Calling available in a 5L mini keg. It wasn’t a good beer; it was a great beer.
We also brought out another very special beer in August: The Saints Red lager. This was a taproom-only beer and we brewed it to raise funds for St. Pat’s FC. We’re proud supporters of our local club and we’re hopeful of continuing our partnership next season. It was a challenging year for The Super Saints so we were delighted to try out an exclusive beer and raise a few quid. It sold out too! Best fans in the world. Maybe it might make a return in 2021.
October saw the release of The Candyman. This is a wonderfully delicious chocolate salted caramel stout. Golden Promise forms the base malt, while Cara malt and Crystal malt are used generously for extra caramel flavours. We add chocolate wheat for a smooth mouthfeel and rich chocolate taste. There’s a little hint of salt in the boil and the brew is topped up with natural caramel during fermentation. Sweet, silky and definitely moreish. You can still buy The Candyman here and we’ve even created an insanely good chocolate brownie recipe, using the beer, which you can try for yourself here.
For something completely different, our next special edition 440ml can release was Space Hopper 5.2% Galaxy IPA. What a way to finish the year! We took a Maris Otter base, with a little bit of Vienna malt too, and a load of wheat and oats for a nice hazy appearance. We dry hopped it with Galaxy and Enigma and then went back and hopped it again with Galaxy hops only, just to double down on those fruity flavours and aromas. Galaxy is an Australian hop renowned for its distinct passion fruit and citrus characteristics. Vermont yeast complements the overall flavours and gives a wonderfully smooth mouthfeel.
It’s such a good beer. Get some now before it’s sold out completely: click here to buy or else call into your nearest decent independent off-licence and you might be in luck. But that’s not quite the end of the year: we also introduced you to the Rascals Pilot Kit Series. These exclusive beers are only on tap here at Rascals HQ and available in a limited number of mini kegs on our webshop. We released a terrific 6.1% breakfast stout in November and we made it with specialty coffee roasted by our Dublin 8 neighbours Imbibe. The base recipe of the stout has a generous helping of chocolate wheat, café malt and we used plenty of oats and some lactose too. Combine all the ingredients and you’ve got the breakfast stout of champions! Next we made a New Zealand lager. We took a Pilsner malt and added Betty hops in the whirlpool and also dry-hopped with same. These special hops are named after Betty Eggers who has been farming hops, with her husband Bruce, in Sunrise Valley New Zealand for over fifty years. The flavour and aroma suggests gooseberry and lime; it suits the lager really well and makes it more refreshing, with extra crispness on the finish. Expect more from this exciting new series in 2021!
We also had a bit of fun throughout the year with a couple of concept beers which proved wildly popular for some reason. This time we actually did put one of them into cans. Oh, and we won gold and bronze at the 2020 World Beer Awards, which was nice. And we got a new festival-style canopy / tent to cover the outside area at Rascals HQ. And we opened a new off-licence! Yep, you can now bring home an endless supply of Rascals beers. Don’t forget your shopping bag! Find out a bit more about the off-licence here.
We’ve plenty happening at the start of next year, including new releases, local charity initiatives, a new gift pack for Valentine’s Day… and lots more. We’ll keep ya posted!