'Dreamy with hops fume': two beer styles for the weekend

Beerista: 8 Degrees releases a Brett IPA inspired by a Kevin Barry novel; Trouble and Blacks have new Brut IPAs

“In the dawn haze the brewery lads were dreamy with hops fume . . .”

The misty, dystopian setting of City of Bohane, a novel by Kevin Barry, has found its way into the real-life world of beer, inspiring a new release by Cork's 8 Degrees. Hopsfume comes in a 750ml sharing bottle and is an 8.3 per cent Brett IPA with a lovely dry, fruity and earthy flavour profile.

Brett is an alternative wild yeast – a different species to the standard brewers’ yeast – and it adds a kind of leathery and funky character which, interestingly, used to be considered a flaw in a beer. So while you might not want your regular IPA or pale ale to have these characteristics – add a Brett yeast and the rules change. With Hopsfume, 8 Degrees has combined the fresh, fruity aroma of hops with the unique profile of the Brett – I really enjoyed it.

You can expect to hear more about yeasts over the next while, as more and more breweries start to turn their experimental focus from hops to yeasts. Could yeast become the new hops? It’s certainly edging into the foreground as brewers seek to drive different flavour profiles from yeast instead of the usual hop-dominated ones. And while hops fade from the taste of a beer over time, the yeast character does not.


The Brut IPA is an emerging style – probably from the US – and takes its cue from Champagne, being dry and clear. Trouble Brewing recently released Brut Almighty, a 6.2 per cent brut IPA. This poured with a light haze, was good and dry and has a nice hop kick with a touch of melon. Blacks of Kinsale has also released bone-dry brut IPA called SuperDry with lots of fruitiness and poured clear – look out for it on draft.