Axe me about Irish ale

by Chevy Impola

It was the night of St. Patrick’s Day when a friend who lives in another part of the world texted me that he was watching The Quiet Man while drinking a Guinness. And I thought, as I cracked open a crowler of Red Axe Irish Ale from Moose Lake Brewing, how very traditional of that pal o’ mine.

While it would have been fun to share some of the black stuff with him while watching John Wayne once again woo the fiery Maureen O’Hara, I was just as happy to be trying an Irish ale new to me and watching a different sort of movie in celebration of the old country.

I was tuned into Grabbers, a 2012 monster movie that takes place on an Irish island. The island’s residents soon learn the only thing that can save them from the monsters is to get, speaking in their terms, “pissed.” It quickly becomes, to borrow the American title of a favorite UK film, a “tight little island” (that 1949 movie’s title in its native England was Whisky Galore, directed for Ealing Studios by American-Scottish director Alexander Mackendrick, who also directed two favorite Alec Guinness vehicles – The Man in the White Suit and The Ladykillers – as well as, upon his return to the U.S., the great and bitter Burt Lancaster vehicle Sweet Smell of Success).

While I could go on for hours about movies, I realize you’re not here for that, so back to the beer.

With “Red” in its name, I was expecting a typically red-colored Irish ale, but to my great surprise this beer poured out more mahogany-colored. Only when I held it up to a light did I detect the slightest of red notes on the side of the glass.

But that did not bother me a bit once I tasted this delicious malt-forward beer. Color is a state of mind.

I used to have a severe crush on red ales, but I found it to be a puppy love that I finally grew out of. This beer changes all of that. I’m hooked on reds again, even if they are brown.

Red Axe is the sort of beer that tastes better with every sip. The maltiness of this lovely six percent ale lingers long and sweetly on the palate. I look forward to someday traveling to the Moose Lake Brewing company to have a Red Axe fresh from the tap, and I look forward to next March when I plan to have more than one crowler on hand for my now traditional viewing of Grabbers on St. Patrick’s Day.

* * *

It’s been a while since I’ve had a mead, but I noticed this one on a shelf recently and had to try this honey wine infused with chipotle pepper. Chipotle Pollen-Nation Session Mead is from Crafted Artisan Meadery of Mogadore, Ohio.

I was very sorry to learn that this particular style of mead has been retired from the fascinating lineup of meads offered by this craft meadery because it was both delicious and exciting to the taste buds. Pollen-Nation is the meadery’s award-winning session mead, made with blackberries, Saigon cinnamon and whole leaf Cascade hops (as well as honey, of course).

The version I had infused that year-round mead with smoky chipotle peppers, which adds just the mildest of heat to this delicious and very drinkable mead. I was sorry it came in a measly half-liter bottle because it didn’t last long, and I fear I will never see it again.

However, I will keep my eyes peeled for more from this very interesting meadery. In fact, I’d love to run across bottles of its Imperial series, which includes Imperial Bananas Foster Forever, Imperial KLP (for Key Lime Pie), Imperial Stranger Bings (it rests on graham crackers and then ages in imperial stout and bourbon barrels) and Imperial Strawberry PB&J.