This summer I was lucky enough to drive around Ireland, stopping at as many pubs as I could over the course of two weeks. While going through small town after small town, I did my best to drink beer that I had never heard of before and try to learn the stories behind the beer I saw along the way; that’s how I found King Puck. Killorglin holds King Puck close to their heart. Legend is that a lone goat broke loose when Oliver Cromwell’s army was moving through Ireland, ransacking town after town, and that goat made its way to Killorglin, warning the inhabitants of the forthcoming attack. This harbinger, albeit unconventional, gave the people of Killorglin time to batten down the hatches, saving them from complete annihilation. Whether this tale has any truth to it at all is unknown, but it makes for a good story, and the people of Killorglin love their King Puck. There is a statue of King Puck as you come into the town and there is a festival in honour of the goat each summer. With a namesake like that, how could I not pick up a bottle to take back to Canada?
Aroma: King Puck (the beer, not the goat) has aromas of orange citrus and floral hops. It’s fragrant and hints at the bitterness contained in the bottle. There is a flowery scent that brings me back to walking through fields in Ireland. It smells fresh.
Appearance: The beer is a clear golden colour that develops into a thick, foamy, white head. There is a fair amount of lacing on the side of the glass.
Taste: This beer has a smooth bitterness that gives you a fairly easy-drinking beer. There are flavours of citrus and banana. Flowers undercut the bitterness of the hops creating a tartness that is quite nice. The beer has a dry finish that gives you some slight puckering without overpowering the taste of the beer.
Feel: The carbonation gives this beer a pleasing mouthfeel, without it the beer would feel quite thin. The carbonation gives it some body that would be missing otherwise.
Overall: This isn’t the first goat-inspired beer that I have taken a look at. There was also Goat Locker Brewing Company’s Pale Session Ale. King Puck is a flavourful beer that gives you some bitterness without being overwhelming. It’s fragrant and balanced, however, what is most remarkable about this beer is the story behind it. It’s the story that drew me to the beer and made me want to take it home. It’s the story that has lasted for hundreds of years and has created a festival in its honour. It’s the story that has inspired a crowned statue of a goat to greet visitors and locals alike as they enter Killorglin. It’s the story that was the catalyst for a pretty good beer. King Puck has left his mark on the world, and that is a pretty good legacy for a goat.