After trying Carlow Brewing Company's Leann Folláin during the week, I got a sudden desire tonight to open the bottle of their O'Hara's Celebration Stout which TheBeerNut very generously gave to me last May. Probably good timing too, as the best before says last month, not that these numbers usually affect my willingness to try something at least once.
A beer made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Carlow Brewing Company, it's an impressive package really. An elegant 750ml (25.3 oz. for those in imperial lands) swing-top bottle, and although the label looks a bit lost on it and doesn't look very celebratory, there's a kind of decadence about opening 750ml to drink on your own (apart from a sip for my darling wife of course).
The aroma is a bit of a party though, providing powerful, sweet chocolate-toffee, slight dark berries and a good dose of vanilla down the back. Reminds me of a country fudge on steroids laced with chocolate. The flavour isn't as sweet as the aroma suggests, as there's a lovely roastiness that dries things up while still allowing a rich, velvety mouthfeel with a vinous edge supporting a rich chocolate and malty juciness. A nice touch of bitterness lingers, suggesting dark chocolate and a twist of pepper. This is a rather nice beer. Thanks for the opportunity to try it TBN!
I can understand why it is said (has it ever been confirmed?) that Leann Folláin was a batch of Celebration that went wild somehow, as there are some shared flavours deep down.