One of my favorite recipes at Bitter & Esters is Kev's Rugged Good Looks Irish Red. A smooth, malty easy drinker, it's a favorite. Here are the recipes for all-grain and extract if you want to make it yourself! Kev's Rugged Good Looks Irish Red - All Grain Kev's Rugged Good Looks Irish Red - Extract So, what is an Irish Red? And who is Kev?
According to the BJCP, an Irish Red is an easy-drinking pint. Malt-focused with an initial sweetness and a roasted dryness in the finish. Irish Red ale originated in the town of Kilnenny, in 1710, and was similar to an English Pale Ale, the only difference being having a bit of roasted barley added to the grist. Just a little bit of roast barley is needed to give the red character and smooth flavor with only one to two ounces in a five gallon batch. Any more than that and the beer will turn brown or black. I also put some Aromatic (melanoidin) malt in this one to give it that "malty" character. Go easy when using this as well as using too much will give you some weird flavors.
As far as Kev is concerned, he's an old friend of mine from the Pocono mountains of PA. I lived there the for the entirety of the 90's, the only time that the clothes I always wear were in style. Kev was the drummer for the band I was in at the time (I was the singer). Along with Vince the guitar player, we became good friends for many years. Kev always had a wry sense of humor. A famous line of his was "Songs don't just pop out of your head like pop tarts.” He was always saying things like that. After over a decade in PA I decided to move back to NYC and eventually opened a brewshop. Kev and I stayed in touch. (Thank you Facebook!) Not too long after we opened, Douglas and I were interviewed by Bob and B.R. on their WFMU podcast Beer Hear! Putting this blog together I revisited that podcast, it's a cool little time capsule. Kev happened to listen to that podcast and messaged me with "Johnny, Great interview. But next time could you mention my rugged good looks?" I did him one better and wrote him a recipe. Hoping he would come to the shop and try it.
He hasn't, yet. Kev is getting married this weekend to Maggie. And we're going! It will be my first time back in the Poconos in ages, I am really looking forward to it. And of course I am bringing some Kev's Rugged Good Looks Irish Red so Kev can finally try it. Is Kev ruggedly good looking? His namesake beer certainly is. You can see him here circa 2008 and judge for yourself. I like using Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeast for this beer but you can use 1968 London ESB or any English ale strain. You could even make this a lager. Try 2633 Octoberfest Blend and remember to always pitch double the amount of lager yeast. Keep looking good. John