A Taste Of: Modest Beer

Written by

Mark Dredge

Hello Modest Beer! This is my first taste of anything from Modest, a brewery from Antrim, Northern Ireland. It’s run by Chris Morris, who went from a tax accountant making beer in a garage to brewing full time, focusing on easy-drinking, well-balanced beers. This box has been a great introduction to what Chris is doing.

I opened their main NE Pale Ale to begin. Cloudy Yet Full Of Sunshine (4.2%) is brewed with Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Centennial, and it’s hazy yellow with a nice peach and apricot aroma. There’s sweet pineapple, mango candy, low bitterness and a lovely soft body. They use the word ‘succulent’ on the can and that’s a good description. This is a really good example of a 4-ish% hazy hoppy pale ale.

Just Like Nana Used To Drink (4.3%) is Modest’s Irish Stout. It smells like you’ve put your face in a sack of roasted barley. It’s got a lot of roasted flavours and drinks like a black iced coffee with a little 100% cocoa and richly roasted malts. Great flavour for its low ABV.

If a brewery can make a good Pilsner then they get more of my attention. Good Enough To Take To Yer Ma (5%) is brewed with Magnum, Saaz and Mittelfrüh, and those hops are very distinctive in the aroma. The beer is lightly hazy but still crisp, and has a deep, lasting herbal and woody bitterness – it’s a hoppiness that’d scare a macro lager drinker, but I love that in a Pilsner. 

Of the nine cans in the box, five of them were pales and IPAs, which is good for me. My favourite was Cloudy Yet Full of Sunshine, but all the others were also good, and one thing which came through in all of them was a familiar and consistent yeast ester aroma of peach, apricot and even light vanilla. It’s a nice extra fruity pop of flavour coming up behind the hops. 

The Pretty Good Stratus & Talus (3.8%) hazy pale ale is an impressive low-alcohol pale with a wonderful aroma of Talus with its sweet pink grapefruit (I love that hop!) and a zesty and herbal finish. 2 Thumbs Up (4.4%) is a pale ale brewed with Columbus, Cascade, Cryo Pop and Motueka, and those hops combine to give a juicy lime aroma, layers of citrus pith and zest, and a dry bitterness. Day Dreaming Of Far Off Lands (5.5%) is an IPA with Columbus, Citra and Cascade, and it was my least favourite as there was a slickness in the texture which jarred a little with the bitterness, and the aroma was a bit muted compared to others. 4 Star (5.5%) is an IPA hopped with Columbus, Cryo Pop, Motueka, Simcoe Cryo and Mosaic Cryo. You get a lot of fleshy peach and apricot, plus tannic apricot skin, then some juicy tropical fruits and a herbal bitterness (a solid four star IPA!). 

Exotic But Not Too Exotic (5.6%) is an appropriate name for a mango sorbet pale ale. It’s got mango, vanilla and orange zest in it, but it’s not over-thick or over-sweet, so you mostly just get an extra depth of mango to your pale ale. 

I finished with Where The Other 5% Of British Blackberries Go (4.5%), a bramble sour that’s a vibrant purple colour, smells like a grown up glass of blackcurrant, and tastes like a punnet of blackberries. The tartness is restrained and balanced, and it feels like a very British-tasting sour beer.