The Dungarvan Brewing Company is well established nowadays, and have just re-branded their products this winter. Everybody interested in Irish craft beer will likely know the stuff inside out, so why don't I? I drink their Black Rock Stout regularly enough and sampled their winter seasonal recently, but my only venture into the rest of their regular range was a disastrous cask offering of Helvick Gold that I refused to accept as being the norm for that beer. To celebrate the trendy new art-deco labels (and to pair them with the similarly styled Metalman glass), it's time to give Helvick a chance to redeem itself.
Before we come to that, though, we have Copper Coast. This red ale is indeed copper, and like many reds I've had in the past, it offers an aroma of rather boring balance. Woody, nutty and slightly bitter, it could be anything. Things don't change much on the taste, although it does develop some nicer toffee, caramel and fruit notes as it warms up, but by then it's watery body and lack of depth in the malt or hop profiles will have worn your attention span fairly thin.
Not one I'd come back to.
Helvick Gold is once again aptly named, because aside from being gold in colour, it immediately seems to be worth much more than the copper. Citrus and tropical fruit hops announce the aroma, with underlying hints of bubblegum cropping up here and there. Your tongue picks up on this thread, with the pleasant juicy fruit flavours unfolding to reveal a quiet malt character, before a quick kick of bitterness finishes things off, leaving a lasting nutty aftertaste.
I'm immediately thinking of the Metalman Pale Ale, and I reckon this is one of the best bottled pale ales in Ireland. I'll be returning to this one, hopefully on tap too.